January 20, 2018

Lab capacity boosted with new equipment

WearCheck, Africa’s leading condition monitoring company, recently invested over two million Rand on brand new cutting-edge laboratory equipment. The shopping list included a new Gas Chromatograph (GC), a new Inductively Coupled Plasma spectrometer (ICP) and a new High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC).

All the new equipment uses top of the range technology to ensure WearCheck’s legacy of accuracy and reliability of sample results and diagnoses. While the company has already invested extensively in GC, ICP and HPLC technology over many years – the laboratory capacity has been significantly boosted with the addition of the latest testing equipment.

WearCheck serves the earthmoving, industrial, transport, shipping, aircraft and electrical industries through the scientific analysis of used oil from mechanical and electrical systems. Additional services include the analysis of fuels, transformer oils, coolants, greases and filters. The new laboratory equipment will benefit customers across all industries, and particularly transformer analysis.

An expansive network now includes ten WearCheck laboratories spanning the continent and beyond, including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga Province, and international laboratories in India, Dubai, Ghana, Mozambique and Zambia – at Lumwana mine and Kitwe – with a presence in Cape Town, Rustenburg, Steelpoort, Port Elizabeth, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

ICP spectrometry analysis provides high-speed detection and identification of trace elements at very low concentrations in oil to determine the levels of wear metals, contaminants and oil additives in lubricating oils. The ICP has been installed in WearCheck’s Middelburg laboratory.

The HPLC separates compounds within a transformer oil sample, revealing the presence and quantity of trace degradation products, which in turn provides information on the operation of the transformer and whether there has been any breakdown of insulating material.

The GC separates and analyses compounds that can be vaporised without decomposition, revealing critical information about the presence of contaminants via the composition of the oil sample. The new GC and the HPLC are in operation in WearCheck’s speciality laboratory (WSL) in Johannesburg, and have enabled more samples to be processed in a faster turnaround time.

Managing director Neil Robinson explains, ‘The concept of analysing oil samples from a machine or component is similar to that of taking a blood sample from a person – the results determine the health status of the unit. WearCheck’s highly-skilled diagnostic team then analyses the results and recommends how to rectify any abnormal findings.’

Robinson is committed to ongoing investment in new technology to ensure that all laboratory equipment is state-of-the-art and rivals, often surpassing, its local and international counterparts. All laboratories are largely automated and integrated with the latest information technology. Research and development plays a major part in WearCheck’s commitment to continual improvement.

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