Lowering service costs and reducing waste is constantly at the forefront of theminds of fleet operators. As part of the effort to meet these challenges, U.K.-based IPU Group has introduced Service Guard, which it describes as a specialty “oil cleaning and condition monitoring” package that integrates four levels of management to tackle the dangers of engine oil contamination, potentially costly on-site servicing and maintenance and the growing challenge of disposing of engine oil waste, the company said.
A schematic of Service- Guard shows the integration of the system.According to IPU, it is suitable for a wide range of applications including independent power, marine oil, mobile equipment and hydraulic applications.
IPU said Service Guard is suitable for a wide range of applications including independent power, marine oil, mobile equipment and hydraulic applications. Elements of Service Guard will e applicable to any size of generator, it added. Currently, the range of product available for the oil cleaning system is suitable for engines from 100 kW, but can be used on smaller engines. A new unit is currently under test for engines from 5 kW and this is expected to eventually be available for production.
According to IPU, the package brings together oil cleaning, oil condition monitoring, remote reporting and fluid sampling in one solution for engine oil and hydraulic oil applications. The company claimed that traditional processes, new technology and innovative software are integrated to deliver higher levels of functionality, reporting and critical efficiencies.
The aim is to support OEMs and fleet managers to adopt a strategy of continuous oil monitoring that offers effective service cost management while reducing the likelihood of premature engine wear or failure, IPU said. The system works by acquiring data from the engine control unit and engine-mounted sensors. The data is then transmitted via the GSM/GPRS modem at any time, providing immediate access for fleet controllers and service teams in the field. A central server at IPU Group’s headquarters in
An oil cleaning system mounted to a Caterpillar generator in IPU Group’s training facility. The system works by acquiring data from the engine control unit and engine-mounted sensors, which is then transmitted via the GSM/ GPRS modem at any time, providing immediate access for fleet controllers and service teams in the field.
Oldbury, England, provides the network for the information to be accessed using dedicated customer interfaces that are created to meet the needs of different applications and fleet management requirements. IPU said the network reports information in real time to help managers maximize service engineers’ time in the field through extended and predictable oil service requirements and improved onsite intervention if the InteliLog data logger detects a reportable problem.
The Service Guard package has been designed by IPU Group’s development manager, Robert Ralphs, who said the company had wanted to provide a solution that makes a difference for fleet managers. “By linking together a number of technologies into a single solution, our ‘clean oil’ approach can have a massive impact on operators’ bottom lines by extending oil drain intervals by up to four times and reducing the amount of oil waste generated each year,” said Ralphs.
“Any effective ‘clean oil’ strategy begins by reducing contaminants in the oil or hydraulic fluid. The dual-action oil cleaning system is effective in dealing with all forms of contaminants down to one micron and incorporates the action of both filtration for solid contaminants and evaporation for liquid and gaseous contaminants.
“Importantly, this kind of bypass oil system does not affect the engine’s oil flow or pressure and the system does not replace the conventional full-flow filtration system — it enhances and works in conjunction with it.” The unit is installed in parallel with the existing full-flow filter. Contaminated oil — with abrasive particles, soot, liquids and oxidation byproducts known as gum and/or varnish — enters the unit through a small metering jet under normal engine oil pressure supplied by the engine’s oil pump.
The metering jet prevents any drop in engine oil pressure and slows the oil down to a low, measured flow rate of 23 to 32 L/hr. Once filtered, the oil then enters the heated evaporation chamber where liquid contaminants and gases are evaporated and immediately vented. After these contaminants are removed, the clean oil is gravity fed back to the engine oil sump.
For hydraulic applications, such as bow thrusters, the system incorporates its own electrically powered pump to provide oil circulation through the cleaning system and back to the hydraulic tank. The company said that as a second line of defense, the oil condition sensor measures the dielectric constant of the oil — with the sensor functioning as a variable capacitor and the engine oil forming the dielectric.
IPU reported that, in practice, the sensor is able to accurately measure any deterioration in oil quality from the accumulation of solid and liquid contaminants. As part of the integrated system, the sensor is linked using the data communication software to give effective and real-time oil condition monitoring instantly available using the Internet. The company’s Green Guard software, located on a central server, can monitor and control fleets of engines, gen-sets and construction equipment such as cranes and pumps via the GSM/GPRS network,Internet or LAN, providing management reporting and trend analysis.
The system can be retrofitted to existing installations or be mounted to new control systems without touching the existing hardware platform. The GPS functionality provides location information for service personnel and also provides theft protection and location tracking, IPU said. The oil contains information about the condition of the engine, transmission and the wear on components. By sampling oil in a dedicated analyzer, levels of found contaminants from metal traces to water or fuel indicate a possible problem or abnormality.
The analyzer combines optical emission and infrared oil analysis to give fast and accurate results, according to IPU. The oil sampling is conducted at IPU’s oil testing center within 24 hours before being made available on the Internet for the use by fleet managers and onsite service teams. IPU said it has created an online demonstration tool to show how the system works. The demonstration (which is available by prior arrangement) is linked to a diesel engine application in IPU Group’s on-site training facility and allows users to safety test the system, use a typical customer interface and experience the level and scope of the online engine reporting.