What is the best alternative to lube oil filters?

Machine failure or unplanned downtime are costly disturbances to every process owner. An often underestimated risk factor is the negative effect contaminated lube oil has on process performance. By that, one key factor for optimizing productivity is in some cases to find an alternative to lube oil filters.

The best alternative to lube oil filters

The long-term alternative to lube oil filters

If the lube oil is contaminated with particles, or even worse water, the quality degrades and will expose your process equipment to risks like machine wear and corrosion. Traditionally different filter techniques are common for cleaning the lube oil, in many cases because of their low initial investment cost. But in the long run maintenance costs tend to be more substantial, since filter cartridges continously need to be replaced and disposed.

And most important, since filters cannot remove water from the lube oil there is still the potential threat from corrosion to deal with. With a filter solution you would need to add a coalescer module to deal with water contamination, eating up both budgets and valuable floor space. A superior, and long-term, alternative to lube oil filters would be using a centrifugal separator.

Benefits with a centrifugal separator

Compared to a filter solution, a centrifugal separator has a higher initial cost. But with minimal maintenance and more productive uptime the total cost of ownership is significantly lower. On average the investment will pay for itself in two years. A centrifugal separator has many advantages:

  • removes both particles and water in a single operation
  • highly effective with solids removal:
    - 100% removed 10 µm and above
    - 90% removed 5 µm to 10 µm
    - 70% removed 3 µm to 5 µm
    (Solids with a density below 2000 kg/m³ are not removed)
  • continuous operation without loss of capacity (no filter clogging)
  • continuous removal of water
  • minimal service and maintenance
  • low product disposal cost (no filter cartridges needed)
  • preserves oil additives better than other technologies
  • simple installation with plug-in module

Prolongs lifetime of process equipment

Summing up the benefits mentioned above, centrifugal separation as an alternative to lube oil filters has clear advantages. A higher degree of cleaning will prolong the lifetime of your equipment. Bearings and gears will last longer, wear and tear of machine parts will be at a minimum due to the removal of water, and corrosion is eliminated. Considering the high investment costs of equipment, it’s easy to see why a centrifugal separator is a sustainable alternative to reach smooth and hassle-free operations, year after year.

Lifetime of a bearing as a function of the water content in an oil.

Lifetime of a bearing as a function of the water content in an oil. Conversion from percent to parts per million (ppm): 0.01 % = 100 ppm, 10 % = 100.000 ppm

Whitepaper: The importance of lube oil cleaning

Eager to understand more about lube oil cleaning? Our whitepaper gives you a comprehensive overview of the technologies available and acts as a guide to choosing the best one for your application.