Terra Analytical supports equipment in a diverse range of industries and conditions. Beyond fluid analysis, we have technology solutions for your Fleet Management and Condition Monitoring needs.
Modern farm equipment depends on clean fuel, correct oils, grease, and coolants for dependable operation. There are many opportunities for contamination from dirt, water, farm chemicals, accidental misapplication of products, or even malicious damage. This can result in expensive repairs and downtime.
Farm Fuel Tanks
There are several problems associated with maintaining bulk fuel tanks. Water can condense in any fuel tank, especially in a humid climate or damp area. It is better to keep a tank as full as possible as that reduces the volume of air and moisture and the tank surface area, which reduces condensation. Underground tanks, in particular, will require routine water removal. Overhead tanks may still have inaccessible pockets of water (e.g. a "deep end" if the tank has subsided a little). Tank breather filters are recommended.
Biological growth or "diesel bug" is often blamed for fuel problems. If a water layer forms in a tank, given the right temperature conditions, millions of biological organisms can grow in that water. Typically, it is anything airborne that enters the tanks and finds favourable conditions. This is essentially the same problem for any body of stagnant water - Algae, Bacteria, Fungi, Mold, Yeast etc. These growths tend to occupy the water layer, and they can block filters. A blocked filter is a nuisance, but it is the water itself that tends to pass through the fuel filter and does the real damage. Diesel bug can be an indication of a water problem. Many commercial fuel treatment additives contain a micro-biocide to kill biological growth. Remove the water layer first to avoid a toxic water layer that is a health and environmental hazard.
Diesel fuel is sold in Summer and Winter grades. In cold parts of the country, it is wise to avoid purchasing Summer Diesel if it is likely to be carried over into winter (buy bulk fuel in winter instead). The heavier hydrocarbon molecules have a higher freezing point, contributing to the Cloud Point of diesel fuel. If Summer diesel is used in sub-zero conditions, parts of it will turn to wax and block filters. Water also turns to ice and contributes to the problem. Wax will melt, so there is nothing wrong with the fuel or filters - just the temperature. Fuel suppliers can advise on cloud point and the timing of seasonal changes for your area. The best solution is to avoid summer diesel in winter - additives and solvents won't achieve much more than the fuel supplier has already achieved with additives. Winter diesel has the heavier hydrocarbons removed in the first place - it has a lower energy content, but it won't freeze up.
Modern farm machinery typically requires high-specification modern lubricants and fluids, and the days of multipurpose lubricants are over. Sometimes temporary labour can have complications with the right fluids being used in the right compartments or the odd case of malicious damage. Routine oil sampling is an excellent way to ensure that correct fluids are being used and that there is no contamination or abuse of equipment. The equipment's lifetime and availability can be increased by monitoring fluids.
Terra Analytical has a long history of aviation fluid testing in New Zealand. We are not experts in aviation equipment; we refer you to your aviation engineer with the required training, experience and information resources. We can assist your aviation engineer with the fast turnaround of samples with accurate certified test equipment.
With single-engine aircraft, in particular, it can provide additional peace of mind to have a record of oil history that shows that the correct fluids are being used and that wear rates are stable.
Forestry equipment works extremely hard in an often harsh environment. The condition of equipment fluids can seriously affect the safety of operators as well as the life and profitability of the equipment.
Some areas we can assist with are:
- Diesel fuel contamination - water accumulates in all fuel tanks and must be removed at regular intervals. A water layer can allow biological contamination to grow, resulting in blocked filters. But the water itself can be more dangerous as it can pass through filters and damage fuel systems.
- Dirt and water ingress can cause rapid destruction of an engine and transmission components. Routine oil sampling can detect compartments that have been compromised and allow preventative action.
- Hydraulic oils operate under high pressure, and microscopically small particles can cause abnormal wear and shorten the system’s life. Laser particle counting can assist with managing fluids and filters to ensure an asset's safety and maximum profitability.
Marine vessels use many types of equipment fluids which are vital for the safety of the crew and for productivity.
Some areas we can assist with are:
- Diesel fuel testing - water accumulation and biological growth are routine maintenance challenges.
- Large marine engines running high sulphur fuel may need to monitor the TBN of engine oil to ensure there is enough alkaline reserve in the oil to combat the acids of combustion.
- Stern Tubes - monitoring water content
- Cooling systems - monitoring glycol content
- Hydraulic fluid testing - including bio-hydraulic fluids
- Compressor and Refrigeration compressor fluid testing
Terra Analytical provides a fast, efficient New Zealand-based laboratory service for equipment fluids of all types. We have modern laboratory equipment certified to international standards and we have experience with some of the more demanding requirements of equipment used in severe conditions. Confidentiality assured.
Terra Analytical has a strong association with the mining and earthmoving industries as it was originally set up in 1973 as a Caterpillar SOS (Scheduled Oil Sampling) laboratory. The range of test equipment and services has expanded greatly since then and we now support a wide range of equipment of all makes and types in many industries.
Maintaining Mining and Earthmoving equipment presents some unique challenges due to the heavy loads, harsh conditions, and the need to keep equipment operational and minimise repair costs.
Water and dirt contamination is inevitable and quickly destroys expensive components if undetected. There is a constant need to monitor fluid condition to prioritize the allocation of resources.
Power generation of all types keeps New Zealand industry running. Terra Analytical provides essential fluid analysis services for diesel engines, gas engines, hydro turbines, wind turbines and much more.
Some alternative fuels and power generation equipment have unique challenges and may require additional tests beyond our standard test kit. We can advise on options that would best suit your application.
Fuel and oil are the lifeblood of the transport industry. Managing these fluids effectively provides a competitive advantage and reduces expensive unscheduled repairs.
Modern engine technology allows longer oil drain intervals - especially for ideal long-haul applications. New Zealand conditions may not be the same as the statistical 'average' application. It is helpful to understand how fluids are performing in each specific application. It may be possible to extend oil drain intervals in some cases, but in some cases, that could significantly shorten the equipment's life.
Engine makers have powerful incentives to sell engines with lower energy requirements and exhaust emissions. This has placed unusual demands on engine oils, which is why there have been significant developments in engine oil specifications.
Extended oil drain intervals can be promoted as a marketing advantage to purchasers of equipment, but in some cases, the designed efficiency might compromise the life of the component. Understanding how the fluids are performing can assist with balancing short-term profit vs long-term profit.
There is a huge range of oil brands and types being sold in New Zealand, which means there is an increased risk of product misapplication. We recommend working with a reputable supplier and using routine oil analysis to ensure the appropriate products are being used, free of contamination, and that wear rates are normal.
Large fleets that are serviced by various third parties in a range of locations can be managed from a central location using S•O•S Web.