ASTM D7720 - 11

    Standard Guide for Statistically Evaluating Measurand Alarm Limits when Using Oil Analysis to Monitor Equipment and Oil for Fitness and Contamination

    Active Standard ASTM D7720 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.96.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.04


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    Significance and Use

    Alarm limits are used extensively for condition monitoring using data from in-service lubricant sample test results. There are many bases for initially choosing values for these alarm limits. There are many questions that should be addressed. These include:

    Are those limits right or wrong?

    Are there too many false positive or false negative results?

    Are they practical?

    This guide teaches statistical techniques for evaluating whether alarm limits are meaningful and if they are reasonable for flagging problems requiring immediate or future action.

    This guide is intended to increase the consistency, usefulness, and dependability of condition based action recommendations by providing machinery maintenance and monitoring personnel with a meaningful and practical way to evaluate alarm limits to aid the interpretation of monitoring machinery and oil condition as well as lubricant system contamination data.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide provides specific requirements to statistically evaluate measurand alarm thresholds, which are called alarm limits, as they are applied to data collected from in-service oil analysis. These alarm limits are typically used for condition monitoring to produce severity indications relating to states of machinery wear, oil quality, and system contamination. Alarm limits distinguish or separate various levels of alarm. Four levels are common and will be used in this guide, though three levels or five levels can also be used.

    1.2 A basic statistical process control technique described herein is recommended to evaluate alarm limits when measurand data sets may be characterized as both parametric and in control. A frequency distribution for this kind of parametric data set fits a well-behaved two-tail normal distribution having a bell curve appearance. Statistical control limits are calculated using this technique. These control limits distinguish, at a chosen level of confidence, signal-to-noise ratio for an in-control data set from variation that has significant, assignable causes. The operator can use them to objectively create, evaluate, and adjust alarm limits.

    1.3 A statistical cumulative distribution technique described herein is also recommended to create, evaluate, and adjust alarm limits. This particular technique employs a percent cumulative distribution of sorted data set values. The technique is based on an actual data set distribution and therefore is not dependent on a presumed statistical profile. The technique may be used when the data set is either parametric or nonparametric, and it may be used if a frequency distribution appears skewed or has only a single tail. Also, this technique may be used when the data set includes special cause variation in addition to common cause variation, although the technique should be repeated when a special cause changes significantly or is eliminated. Outputs of this technique are specific measurand values corresponding to selected percentage levels in a cumulative distribution plot of the sorted data set. These percent-based measurand values are used to create, evaluate and adjust alarm limits.

    1.4 This guide may be applied to sample data from testing of in-service lubricating oil samples collected from machinery (for example, diesel, pumps, gas turbines, industrial turbines, hydraulics) whether from large fleets or individual industrial applications.

    1.5 This guide may also be applied to sample data from testing in-service oil samples collected from other equipment applications where monitoring for wear, oil condition, or system contamination are important. For example, it may be applied to data sets from oil filled transformer and circuit breaker applications.

    1.6 Alarm limit evaluating techniques, which are not statistically based are not covered by this guide. Also, the techniques of this standard may be inconsistent with the following alarm limit selection techniques: rate-of-change, absolute alarming, multi-parameter alarming, and empirically derived alarm limits.

    1.7 The techniques in this guide deliver outputs that may be compared with other alarm limit selection techniques. The techniques in this guide do not preclude or supersede limits that have been established and validated by an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or another responsible party.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D445 Test Method for Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent and Opaque Liquids (and Calculation of Dynamic Viscosity)

    D664 Test Method for Acid Number of Petroleum Products by Potentiometric Titration

    D974 Test Method for Acid and Base Number by Color-Indicator Titration

    D2896 Test Method for Base Number of Petroleum Products by Potentiometric Perchloric Acid Titration

    D4378 Practice for In-Service Monitoring of Mineral Turbine Oils for Steam and Gas Turbines

    D4928 Test Method for Water in Crude Oils by Coulometric Karl Fischer Titration

    D5185 Test Method for Determination of Additive Elements, Wear Metals, and Contaminants in Used Lubricating Oils and Determination of Selected Elements in Base Oils by Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES)

    D6224 Practice for In-Service Monitoring of Lubricating Oil for Auxiliary Power Plant Equipment

    D6299 Practice for Applying Statistical Quality Assurance and Control Charting Techniques to Evaluate Analytical Measurement System Performance

    D6304 Test Method for Determination of Water in Petroleum Products, Lubricating Oils, and Additives by Coulometric Karl Fischer Titration

    D6439 Guide for Cleaning, Flushing, and Purification of Steam, Gas, and Hydroelectric Turbine Lubrication Systems

    D6595 Test Method for Determination of Wear Metals and Contaminants in Used Lubricating Oils or Used Hydraulic Fluids by Rotating Disc Electrode Atomic Emission Spectrometry

    D6786 Test Method for Particle Count in Mineral Insulating Oil Using Automatic Optical Particle Counters

    D7042 Test Method for Dynamic Viscosity and Density of Liquids by Stabinger Viscometer (and the Calculation of Kinematic Viscosity)

    D7279 Test Method for Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent and Opaque Liquids by Automated Houillon Viscometer

    D7414 Test Method for Condition Monitoring of Oxidation in In-Service Petroleum and Hydrocarbon Based Lubricants by Trend Analysis Using Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometry

    D7416 Practice for Analysis of In-Service Lubricants Using a Particular Five-Part (Dielectric Permittivity, Time-Resolved Dielectric Permittivity with Switching Magnetic Fields, Laser Particle Counter, Microscopic Debris Analysis, and Orbital Viscometer) Integra

    D7483 Test Method for Determination of Dynamic Viscosity and Derived Kinematic Viscosity of Liquids by Oscillating Piston Viscometer

    D7484 Test Method for Evaluation of Automotive Engine Oils for Valve-Train Wear Performance in Cummins ISB Medium-Duty Diesel Engine

    D7596 Test Method for Automatic Particle Counting and Particle Shape Classification of Oils Using a Direct Imaging Integrated Tester

    D7647 Test Method for Automatic Particle Counting of Lubricating and Hydraulic Fluids Using Dilution Techniques to Eliminate the Contribution of Water and Interfering Soft Particles by Light Extinction

    D7670 Practice for Processing In-service Fluid Samples for Particulate Contamination Analysis Using Membrane Filters

    D7684 Guide for Microscopic Characterization of Particles from In-Service Lubricants

    D7685 Practice for In-Line, Full Flow, Inductive Sensor for Ferromagnetic and Non-ferromagnetic Wear Debris Determination and Diagnostics for Aero-Derivative and Aircraft Gas Turbine Engine Bearings

    D7690 Practice for Microscopic Characterization of Particles from In-Service Lubricants by Analytical Ferrography

    E2412 Practice for Condition Monitoring of In-Service Lubricants by Trend Analysis Using Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometry


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 25.040.40 (Industrial process measurement and control)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D7720-11

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D7720-11, Standard Guide for Statistically Evaluating Measurand Alarm Limits when Using Oil Analysis to Monitor Equipment and Oil for Fitness and Contamination, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2011, www.astm.org

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