Re-evaluation of Oil Analysis Program
ABSTRACT: The United States Air Force Oil Analysis Program goals are to improve operational readiness and economy of US Air Force equipment through oil analysis and to analyze technical data in order to increase the effectiveness in diagnosing oil condition and equipment failures. Current limits, practices and procedures are almost 20 years old. The proposed SBIR project will review current practices and research best approaches for a more efficient oil analysis program which may include modifications to sampling frequency, updating test equipment, and other improvements to cost and effectiveness of testing. To accomplish this, the AFOAP data will be evaluated to determine what components are failing, what failure modes are dominant, what frequency samples should be taken to provide advanced trending/warning, what particles/contaminants in the lubricating fluid will provide an indication of the failure or performance degradation and whether current testing is detecting all faults. Different approaches to oil analysis will be reviewed to determine the best approach and ROI for fault detection and operations. A tiered defense may be most effective, utilizing different approaches: on-line for faults with rapid failures (bearing and gears), at-line for quick fluid and debris checks and off-line for long-term fluid condition. BENEFIT: The work accomplished in this SBIR will lead to a better, more efficient oil analysis method including more appropriate frequency of sampling, updated equipment, and updated comprehensive results. The review and analysis process for evaluating the current effectiveness of the AFOAP program and resulting recommendations developed from this SBIR are directly applicable to improvement of other DoD oil analysis programs as well as commercial oil analysis programs. Worldwide, there are millions of complex, oil-wetted mechanical systems operated by thousands of customers. These customers often maintain their machinery using outdated, isolated laboratory or monitoring techniques that have carried over from legacy equipment and methodologies, hence there is a substantial potential for the application of the concepts developed under this SBIR program to modernize/optimize other oil analysis programs.
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