Volume 8, Issue 10 (November 2011)
In-Line Monitoring of Particulate, Color, and Water Content in Lubricating Oils to Facilitate Predictive Maintenance, Reduce Wear, and Provide Real Time Alarming
Imaging techniques for characterizing particle shapes and sizes in lubricating oils can be a valuable tool toward improving the life span and reliability of mechanical equipment. ASTM currently specifies several tests to monitor the condition of lube oil; however, most of these are off-line, lab based tests. Vision based systems are well designed to perform the examination of the lube oil, either in line or off line, as they are the only instrument systems that can determine particle shape, which is a critical parameter in determining the source of wear in a mechanical system. The visual capability allows the user to input his or her knowledge of the process to work in making meaningful analyses. Imaging filters can be applied to the analysis to sort through noise and focus on the important particle information that must be monitored. This paper describes a vision based system used for particle sizing that provides a true two-dimensional size and shape analysis. The paper also discusses the fundamentals of a vision system that allow for accurate and repeatable analysis of a wide range of processes.