Reveal Invisible Factors that May Hamper Performance or Uptime
Investing in equipment is one of the best ways to grow your business. You need the right mix of performance and capability to better serve your customers and reach out to new customers. If you’ve chosen Caterpillar® equipment, you’ve already made the first step in creating value and ensuring a reliable and dependable fleet. Choosing Carolina Cat to inspect and maintain your fluids is the next big step you can take to maximize your equipment investment and ensure your equipment is always ready to deliver.
The Fluids Analysis program was created to help machine owners lower the cost of operating and maintaining their machinery by offering comprehensive fluid & oil sampling, analysis and testing solutions. Oil & fluid samples provide a close look into a machine’s overall health and can detect potential problems long before they happen. Oil sampling is recommended every time the oil is changed (normally 250 hours or 15,000 miles). Other fluids should be sampled at least every 500 hours. Test reports include valuable recommendations to help machine owners identify and resolve potential problems before they result in failures. Caterpillar, as well as other manufacturers, requires regular oil sampling and analysis as a condition for warranty coverage.
Why Equipment Fluid Analysis Matters
In years past, oil and fluid changes were performed at more or less regular intervals or whenever businesses had time. While most equipment owners agreed that changing fluids was necessary, this service item was often put off until equipment performance was noticeably down or low fluid level indicators came on. Downtime is costly, so it was common practice in the industry to push oil changes and fluid replacements out as long as possible.
Caterpillar studied the lifespan of their equipment and came to understand that fluid changes can make or break equipment reliability. Furthermore, standard fluid changes based on time or hours/mileage are misleading if you use your equipment in certain conditions:
- Running your equipment all day versus stop and start usage
- Using your equipment in extreme temperature conditions
- Working in extremely dirty and dusty locations
All of these factors affect your oil, coolant, hydraulic fluid, brake fluid, etc. They can accelerate the rate of wear and lead to a need for more frequent fluid changes.
Types of Fluid Testing
There are many different fluids running through your Cat equipment, each with a specific job. Fluids work to lubricate, cool and deliver power through your hydraulic systems. Clean fluid that has the right physical properties and wear characteristics is necessary to keep your Cat equipment running properly and delivering full performance as well as reliability. Equipment fluid analysis gives Cat a view into your machines and can provide useful information on the service life of your engines and fluid circuits. Cat fluid analysis is also an important requirement for your warranty and should be performed at specific intervals depending on the fluid type.
How It Works
As equipment ages, wear and tear causes certain parts to release contaminants into its engine oil, hydraulic fluid, fuel and other fluids. Fluid analysis tests for the presence and level of these contaminants, which in turn provides several insights into the state of your machinery.
High levels of certain particles can indicate advanced wear, which means a component is about to fail. Some contaminants can also cause damage to hydraulic cylinders and other sensitive machinery — the presence of even trace amounts can necessitate emergency service to prevent further damage.
Regular fluid sampling provides more than a momentary snapshot of machine health. Testing at established intervals allows technicians to establish a baseline level of fluid quality. When that changes, it’s an indication that proactive maintenance is required.
Carolina Cat’s advanced science lab can evaluate more than 30 characteristics from each fluid sample, including:
- Wear metals
- Fuel dilution
- Foreign particles
- Soot and sulfur compounds
- And more
And from each fuel sample we can evalute:
- Contamination levels
- Corrosion levels
Benefits of Fluid Sample Analysis
Fluid analysis is fast, easy and cost-effective. Collecting a sample requires no special training or equipment, and results are available online within 24 hours or less. In exchange for a small investment of time and money, fluid sampling will provide you with:
- Peace of mind: Regular fluid and oil sample analysis is one of the best things you can do to prevent unanticipated downtime.
- Ongoing savings: Well-maintained equipment will deliver improved efficiency and lower operating costs — both of which contribute positively to your bottom line.
- Greater predictability: The insights that regular fluid analysis provides can help you schedule maintenance and upgrades during downtime, and budget accordingly.
Oil and Fluid Sampling at Carolina Cat
Carolina CAT offers regular oil analysis as part of the Cat® Scheduled Oil Sampling (S•O•S) program. As the only authorized Cat dealer serving Western North Carolina, we have access to exclusive technology and insights that can help with service, maintenance and general fleet management.
Even if your fleet doesn’t include Cat equipment, we can provide engine oil analysis and other services for your heavy equipment. Get in touch with a representative today to learn more.
Drop Off Your Oil Samples at Carolina Cat
Our Carolina Cat SOS Fluid Analysis program is designed for businesses like yours and is easy to take part in. Simply let us sample your fluid during service and inspection visits or drop off your samples at any of our locations.
We perform detailed fluid analysis according to Caterpillar standards and look at over 30 characteristics to determine the health of your various fluids. Our oil analysis lab will create a detailed report that we share with you and use to schedule your next service appointments. We also watch for signs of accelerated fluid degradation, which can indicate the need for equipment repairs, leaking seals, improper equipment use and more.
Fluid & oil testing is completed and reported in 24 hours or less from the sample arriving at the lab. Samples can be dropped off at any Carolina Cat location.
- How to take a good oil sample
- Details on particle counting
- Understanding your S•O•S Fluid Analysis results