The client had experienced multiple breakdowns on a new piece of machinery due to oil contamination caused by the severe service application and polluted environment surrounding the machine. Oil analysis found critical levels of contamination, confirming that thorough and ongoing filtration and conditioning was necessary. Installation of a Delta Xero DX1003-T filtration kit delivered immediate results, reducing contamination levels and ensuring no further breakdowns on the machinery. The solution delivered a quick return on investment, within one month of installation.
- Reduction in oil contamination
- £15,000 saving on repair costs alone
Biffa plc is one of the UK’s largest waste management companies, delivering recycling and specialist waste services for the public and private sectors. Its ‘Super’ Material Recycling Facility in Edmonton is the second largest such processing plant in the UK. Efficient running of its machinery is vital for processing thousands of tonnes of recyclable material every week to deliver environmental benefits.
Biffa’s team were experiencing problems and significant downtime from a new piece of plant. A Godswill baler (approx. value c£500,000) used for baling aluminium cans and cardboard, had broken down five times within six months of installation; two pump failures and three valve failures.
The five breakdowns had caused significant downtime, creating repair costs of around £15,000 and knock-on effects on waste, storage costs and production.
Although the baler was still under warranty, neither Biffa’s engineers nor the manufacturer’s engineers were able to resolve the cause of the ongoing problems. Following the fifth breakdown, they looked to the machinery’s oil and we were approached for support, while already in talks to install filtration equipment on other machinery.
On visiting the facility, we were able to quickly identify the problem – the heavily polluted atmosphere was creating extremely high levels of contamination. With thousands of tonnes of waste materials being moved around close to the baler, dust and dirt in the atmosphere was contaminating and degrading the oil.
Oil samples examined by our lab partners confirmed extreme contamination, finding critical levels of particulate. Further tests using MPC ASTM D7843 highlighted a raised level of degraded fluid which produces a varnish-like product capable of causing sticking valves and pump failure. As it is very unusual for this to develop in oil only a few months into use, this hadn’t been identified in earlier investigations.
Oil samples are taken and sent for examination by Polaris Laboratories, our trusted, expert partners based in Indianapolis and Posnan Poland . Senior analysts review the samples, delivering ferrography reporting, lubricant analysis and membrane patch colorimetry (MPC) measurements, which allow us to set a baseline for improving results.
Ferrography reporting is specialised oil analysis, giving an understanding of particle wear on machinery components through analysis of contaminants in fluids . Using a specialist microscope, analysts are able to differentiate contamination particulate types and volumes such as abrasive or fatigue wear. This information allows us to pinpoint what is happening in machinery, and also what will happen if interventions are or aren’t taken, by understanding contamination levels and type.
ISO 4406 Fluid Cleanliness Code
SO 4406 provides the reporting standard for measuring fluid cleanliness. I t sets the limit for particle counts within hydraulic/lubricating fluids.
A Delta-Xero DX1003-T was installed on the baler’s hydraulic power unit. This filtration system acts like kidney dialysis, purifying and conditioning the oil before returning it to the machine. Understanding the ongoing challenges created by the polluted environment, a three-cartridge unit was necessary to deliver the enhanced level of oil cleanliness in the shortest time possible.
Additionally, an MP Filtri ICM 2 inline particle counter was installed to deliver ongoing readings of the oil’s contamination levels along with retained water volume and temperature. It was extremely challenging to take physical oil samples in the environment as the surrounding atmosphere would contaminate samples and skew lab analysis results. The inline particle counter gives Biffa’s on-site team ongoing, instant reassurance of the oil quality real time with a download facility to allow result trending.
To minimise any further disruption, the filtration equipment was installed during scheduled downtime, while Biffa’s engineers conducted their own repairs and replaced feed and return hoses. The filtration equipment was fitted by an engineer from the baler’s manufacturer in a matter of hours.
Installation of our equipment delivered immediate and significant results, reducing the damaging contamination within one week and delivering up to 99.98% reductions in contamination overall, to fall far below requisite ISO 4406 limits. Following the first sample, taken prior to installation, a further four samples were taken to gather a trend of results, finding:
98.66% reduction in >4 μm particles/mL
99.8% reduction in >6 μm particles/mL
99.98% reduction in >14 μm particles/mL 100% reduction in MPC
There have been no breakdowns on the baler since installation of the Delta Xero DX1003-T.
Prior to installation, Biffa’s engineers had been considering a full oil change for the machinery, totaling c.5,000ltr of fluid. Now, the oil can be used indefinitely, creating significant economic and environmental benefits.
As well as delivering financial, environmental and productivity benefits for Biffa, the new system also gave financial and reputational benefits to the baler manufacturer, which had undertaken a number of costly maintenance checks and repairs in a bid to solve the breakdowns.