Using Centrifugal Oil Cleaners

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Laurie Hyland, owner of Engine Care Systems Australasia, supplying systems such as Mann and Hummel Centrifuges (Spinner filters) reckons operators in harsh Australian environmental conditions really benefit from preventative maintenance using centrifugal oil cleaners. He insists high capital investment in plant and personnel for long-haul operations, in sometimes very remote situations, makes the requirements of eliminating potential downtime and maximising plant availability paramount.

Using Centrifugal Oil Cleaners

Interestingly, Laurie says there are other spin-off benefits to be gleaned from using centrifuge oil cleaners than simply the removal of soot and other wear particles. For example, he claims the creation of acid in the oil (measured as Total Acid Number or TAN) is higher when the oil is not being continuously cleaned by a centrifuge.

Also, the Total Base Number (TBN) of the oil remains stable for much longer due to the elimination of sludge formation.

“We’ve found that once the oil is cleaned particle wise by the Spinners the TAN remains significantly lower over the life of the oil compared to one without a Spinner fitted. Indeed, with the aid of computerisation in recent years it has been categorically proven that the dirtier the oil the quicker the additive pack (TBN) in the oil is depleted.

“When you install a centrifuge in any vehicle you can at the very least double with complete safety the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended oil drain interval,” he adds. “I must stress that quality oil sampling is imperative to ascertain oil extension limits.

“In nearly 50 years of using and installing centrifuges, I’ve never seen one application where the oil drain interval wasn’t able to be safely doubled. In fact, often the oil at double the mileage is in a cleaner condition than when it was first put in the engine.”

On that note, Laurie goes on to claim most brand new engine oil can have microscopic particles suspended in it which the centrifuge will remove. He also asserts the centrifuge will never affect the additive pack in correctly blended, quality oils.

“It’s not uncommon for slightly dirty oil to initially come out of a new drum of oil which the centrifuge will clean up significantly once it is circulating in the engine,” he enthuses. “We have proof of that also because we’ve actually been contracted in the past by an engine manufacturer to clean up a significant quantity of new oil using centrifuges.”

Speaking of passion, it was interesting to talk to another bloke who has extensive experience with centrifuges. Brian ‘Spud’ Murphy has been maintenance manager with a number of large fleets and is well known in the Australian trucking scene. Spud is happy to sing the praises of a product he’s been using for the past 15 years.

“I first used centrifuges in gen sets when I was working for Power and Water,” says Spud. “At the time the Government was giving grants to promote efficiencies and environmental friendliness so extending service intervals fell into these criteria.

“With Series 50 and 60 Detroits we went from 250 to 500 hour service intervals straight up and still with good oil quality left. The 3500 series Cats have a sump capacity of 200 litres and we took them from 500 to 1000 hour drain intervals with no problems. Again we could have gone more because the oil samples showed the oil was still good.

“My other history is with on-highway truck engines in road trains rated at 160 tonnes. With the EGR units, the soot loading in the oil was mad and we were lucky to get 150 hours between changes, but after fitting the Spinners it was straight up to 250 hours without a problem. Our other trucks which were 120 to 140 tonne rated were doing 300 hours on each oil change after fitting Spinners.”

Asked his opinion why, given the overwhelmingly positive results, more truck operators don’t choose to fit Spinners, Spud had this to say:

“I think some people steer clear because it’s another cost and you have to rely on someone to pull the cap off and put it back on properly. People are looking for simplicity, just spin the filters off and away you go. But it’s really not a hard task and if you upskill your maintenance guys properly and use the disposable rotor centrifuges, you can’t go wrong.”