Sample Ports Save Hundreds of Thousands
When AMRRI consults with customers and discusses ways to improve the lubrication program, we also suggest installing pitot tube fixed sample ports for repeatable accurate sample collection in place of sampling from the drain port. Pulling a sample from a pitot tube gives a much more reliable indication of the health of the equipment. Unfortunately, pulling samples from the drain port can give a false indication.
What follows is an example of what can happen when samples are pulled from a drain port instead of installing pitot tubes.
During a reliability centered lubrication development initiative the AMRRI technical specialist was discussing this modification with the customer. The customer explained that maintenance had just changed out of a Faulk gearbox (vertical drive, 100 gallon capacity) which had been driving a highly critical asset for about seven years. The decision was based on a single lab result from a sample taken from the drain port. The replacement gearbox was taken from their storage area where the unit had not been rotated and no Vapor Tech® or any other method, had been used to protect the gears and bearings from corrosion. Shortly after the replacement was put into service, the main drive bearing failed.
Meanwhile, the original gearbox was opened up and checked out to find no significant wear or damage of any type. Only a couple inches of sludge resided in the bottom of the gearbox.
This decision cost several thousands of dollars in maintenance and in the hundreds of thousands in lost production. Needless to say, that team became very interested in sample ports.