Wednesday, 27 September 2017 15:02

Clearance-sized particles

One of the most important size particles to control in lubricants and hydraulic oils is clearance-sized particles. Larger particles cannot get between moving surfaces and smaller ones pass right through.

Clearance-sized particles usually get in and do the most damage. The clearance refers to the film of separation provided by the lubricant or hydraulic fluid.

Contamination control starts by keeping contaminants out of the equipment from the beginning. The costs associated with keeping the contamination out from the beginning are much less than cleaning a system once is has been contaminated.

Once the contamination is introduced to the lubricant, the lubricant can start to degrade and internal components can deteriorate prematurely. Implementing a few good maintenance practices can provide the reliability needed to keep equipment running in optimum condition.

How particles affect the oil

Particles, especially catalytic metal particles like copper, iron and lead, increase the rate at which oxidation occurs. Particles also strip the oil of its polar additives, including anti-wear additives, extreme pressure additives, rust inhibitors and dispersants. Also, numerous very small particles in stable suspension can cause the oil’s viscosity to increase.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 14:40

Transformer Division Goes The Extra Mile…

Many extra miles, in fact! Ian Gray, manager of WearCheck’s transformer services division, and Des Rodel manager of the Cape Town Branch, recently travelled to Khobab and Loeriesfontein wind farms, in the Northern Cape - 450km from Cape Town - to run a transformer oil sample course for the maintenance team.

Each wind turbine is connected to a step-up (padmount) transformer which boosts the generating output of the wind turbine generator from 690 V to 33 kV. These transformers are located at the base of the wind turbine. From there, all the power is then interconnected to a collector step-up transformer located in a substation where it is transported to the electricity grid.



The reliability, or lack thereof, of step-up (padmount) transformers has led to the investigation of the total cost of ownership in trying to balance the low cost of step-up padmount transformers versus the cost of premature failures.

The insulating oil testing is typically a critical first step in this investigation that requires sampling performed by an experienced person, who has received adequate training, in accordance with IEC 60475.

 03 wind turbine group LR

Above: The Loriesfontein Windfarm maintenance team attended a transformer oil sample course run on-site by Ian Gray, head of WearCheck’s transformer services division (fourth from left with grey trousers)

Top: Ian Gray, head of WearCheck’s transformer services division, at Loriesfontein Windfarm.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 21 September 2017 15:05

WearCheck passes audit with flying colours

WearCheck recently underwent its annual audit by a customer - Siemens - where the audit scope was on occupational health, safety, environment and quality. The auditors rated WearCheck as “excellent”, with a score of 99,56%.

While the entire company and its systems are reviewed, the WearCheck team liaising with the auditors consisted of quality administrator Prinda Narasi, managing director Neil Robinson and laboratory manager Meshach Govender.

The auditors had this to say in their report: “A well-defined and mature system was found to be in place and communication thereof, accessibility and knowledge were found to be well-ingrained within the company.”

Well done, WearCheck!


WearCheck MD Neil Robinson, along with quality administrator Prinda Narasi and laboratory manager Meshach Govender, liaised with Siemens during the

annual audit recently.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 19:34

Budding scientists visit WearCheck

36 grade 11 pupils from Curro Grantleigh High School in Richards Bay recently visited WearCheck’s Pinetown laboratory to further their studies in chemistry by learning about condition monitoring.

The students were hosted by WearCheck technical manager Steven Lumley, who explained the workings of the main laboratory to them. They also heard a presentation on oil analysis by diagnostician Quinton Verster and toured the mini-laboratory, witnessed science experiments, learned about important safety procedures and visited the outbuildings where waste oil and other fluids are processed according to the company’s strict environmental standards.

Grantleigh teacher Andrew Meintjies reported that the science learners really benefited from the visit. ‘It was really important for the students to see how the theory that they are learning at school is being applied and just how relevant it is to industry/society today.’


Grade 11 students from Curro Grantleigh High School in Richards Bay travelled a long way to learn about condition monitoring at WearCheck recently. Here, staff and students gather outside the company’s Pinetown branch.


Field and lab technician Shashay Rampersad of WearCheck demonstrates some of the wet chemistry performed on aircraft oil filters in the mini-lab in Pinetown, to a group of Richards Bay learners from Curro Grantleigh High School, on a recent visit.


Published in Blog
Thursday, 07 September 2017 13:40

WearCheck wins new contract

ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) - the largest steel producer on the African continent – has awarded WearCheck the contract for the provision of the analysis of transformer oil samples at AMSA.

In the letter of confirmation from AMSA, the group manager for IPS and group contracts had this to say, ‘Following a comprehensive evaluation and consideration of proposals submitted to us, your proposal has been successfully nominated.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank your staff for the comprehensive manner in which the information was presented.’

Earlier this year, WearCheck bought Transformer Chemistry Services (TCS) and brought TCS MD Ian Gray on board to run the new transformer services division. TCS has had the contract to service the ArcelorMittal transformers since 2005, and the new contract with WearCheck bears testament to AMSA’s satisfaction with the service from TCS.

During a recent audit of WearCheck by AMSA, WearCheck scored highly as a vendor of AMSA.

AMSA has the production capacity of around 7 million tonnes of liquid steel per annum, supplies over 61% of steel used in South Africa, and exports the balance.

AMSA attributes its success to ‘ongoing alignment with international best practices … ensuring the company’s continued global competitiveness and participation in international markets.’

Says Ian, ‘We at WearCheck are honoured to be selected to service AMSA’s transformers, and guarantee that our usual standards of excellence are aligned with AMSA’s best-practice ethos.’

Published in Blog