Senior laboratory technician at WearCheck, Lizzy Chabangu, operates the condition monitoring company’s brand new PMA5 Pensky Martens closed cup flashpoint tester in Johannesburg recently.

Leading condition monitoring specialists WearCheck recently invested in excess of R1.7 million in new high-tech equipment in both the transformer and fuel sections of their Joburg-based Speciality laboratory.

The Kruss K11 tensiometer, an ADU 5 distillation unit, a SVM3001 stabinger viscometer as well as the PMA 5 Pensky-Martens closed-cup flash point tester are among the new pieces gracing the countertops in WearCheck’s laboratory.

These highly accurate, sophisticated instruments – which have boosted the lab productivity by offering new tests and saving time on existing ones – have also reduced the turnaround time to generate customers’ sample results.

The ADU 5, a fully-automated distillation unit which is operated by a touch screen interface, performs distillation tests according to ASTM D86.  This is recognised as one of the most reliable methods to determine the boiling range characteristics of petroleum products, and is a critical measurement of the overall performance and safety of fuels.

A given volume of sample is placed in a distillation flask and distilled according to strict guidelines as specified in the standard. The sample is heated and vapourised. This vapour is then cooled in the condenser line and the condensate is collected in a graduated cylinder. The temperature of the recovered volume of condensate is recorded precisely during the test.

The SVM3001 is a Stabinger viscometer which is capable of multiple parameter measurements in a single analysis, eliminating the need for many separate tests.

 The instrument can simultaneously measure kinematic viscosity according to ASTM D7042, dynamic viscosity, as well as the density according to ASTM D4052 in lubricating oils, base oils, additives and fuel oils. The sample is simply injected using a syringe and measurement is started via a touch screen panel.

The automatic PMA 5 Pensky-Martens closed-cup tester measures the flash point at the lowest temperature at which the application of an ignition source causes the vapours of a sample to ignite. This instrument is suitable for flammability applications on fuels like diesel, heating oil, kerosene as well as both biodiesel and biodiesel blended fuels.

The ADU 5, SVM3001 and PMA 5 are upgrades to existing equipment operated by WearCheck. The acquisition of these instruments has boosted our service delivery by yielding highly accurate results and reducing our turnaround time which is of benefit to our customers.

Using the Kruss K11 tensiometer, the analysis of the decomposition product content of transformer oil is done in accordance with ASTM D971.  This fully-automated instrument conducts precise measurement of surface tension and interfacial tension (IFT). The IFT is determined by measuring the force necessary to detach the platinum ring from the surface of the liquid of higher surface tension under rigid conditions based on the fundamental Du Nuöy principle of establishing surface tension.

This data is key in the maintenance of transformers and in making informed decisions on whether to extend the life of the oil – a useful way to save customers money.