With ICP-OES (Optical Emission Spectroscopy) more than 20 different elements can be measured simultaneously. A special pump brings the diluted oil sample into an atomizer where it is atomized with a powerful argon stream. This mixture then passes into an argon plasma, which atomizes and ionizes the sample and stimulates the elements so that they release the absorbed energy in the form of light. Each element can only absorb a specific, characteristic amount of energy and thus generate a characteristic wavelength of light. The intensity of this light is in turn directly proportional to the amount present.
The amount of wear elements determined in a sample can give direct information about wear of the machine and depends very much on the respective application. They can even vary from machine to machine for a specific machine part. Therefore, the required information and guidelines for each machine / unit should be developed individually through a regular check. The condition monitoring not only considers the currently measured values, but also the sudden CHANGE of the average values.
Here are some examples of what high values can stand for:
- Fe - iron: general wear of the machine
- Si - silicon: dirt, dust
- Na - sodium: entry of cooling water
- Cr - chrome: wear of bearings
- Cu - copper: wear on bearings, piston pins and clutch discs