Particle count testing determines the quantity of particles in a specified micron size range. Particle contamination can interfere with the lubricant film thereby impacting the ability of the lubricant to provide proper lubrication protection. Monitoring and trending the number of particles present in a fluid are critical components to a successful oil analysis program.
Particle count values are often reported in ISO Cleanliness Codes (ISO Codes). ISO Codes are a scale value derived from the actual particle count value. The ISO Codes are typically reported for three size ranges: 4, 6, and 14 microns.
Target ISO Cleanliness Codes can be established for each type of equipment. By reaching the desired ISO Code, sustainability and operability can be improved. Failure to reach a target ISO Code can result in shortened life for both the lubricant and the equipment. By continually monitoring ISO Codes, you can adjust your maintenance practices to achieve your desired cleanliness goals, thereby improving your equipment uptime.
Below is an example of how ISO Codes are determined from the the actual particle count values measured: