Many reliability engineers see varnish buildup as just a way of life that can only be addressed after operating problems occur. But the cost of waiting to fix that problem is more than you’d think, because the related hidden costs can add up before you even realise you have a varnish problem in the first place.
The best way to prevent varnish from attacking your equipment is to detect it early and take decisive action. As we look more closely, a new problem begins to emerge—assumptions about varnish-related issues might be costing engineers more than they realise in the long run:
How much do you really know about varnish?
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the ways varnish impacts your operation, including why it forms in the first place, which equipment types and operating conditions are more likely to experience varnish formation, and how some methods work—and don’t work—when you’re trying to halt varnish buildup in its tracks.
Yes. And the treatment—or removal—of varnish depends on the type of varnish that has formed and how it was generated in the first place.
There are several examples of costs and fines associated with varnish buildup in combustion turbines. The costs may include chemical treatments, parts replacement for plugged filters, and the actual labour costs to replace those filters. Additionally, there may be fines and lost revenue for turbine trip events or failures to start.
There are several laboratories that perform tests to identify the varnish precursors in the oil before varnish forms in the turbine systems. Some of these include membrane filter patch tests or colorimeter tests.
Track the performance of your turbine lubricants to optimise equipment life, oil replacement intervals, and help the precise scheduling of maintenance that reduces downtime and the risk of failure. Include this into your preventive maintanence program today.