Wear Metals Oil Condition Contamination Particle Counting

Wear Metals

The concentration of metals that are found in your oil, that have come from machinery components is called Wear Metals.

These are the particles that break away from the internal surfaces of your machinery contaminating your oil.


Additives are the makeup of your oil.

Extra lubrication added to your oil that changes the dynamic of the oil.

These are very common in the oils found today. 

The 4 most common additives are Antioxidants, Corrosion inhibitors, Antifoam agents and Demulsifying agent. 

When looking at the additives in oil, trending is the best way to determine a difference. 

The biggest difference / jump in these elements can mean an oil mix up

EG: Topping up a machine’s oil with a different lubricant. 


Viscosity is the measure of an oil’s resistance to flow at a given temperature. 

Low viscosity more flow. High viscosity less flow

An oil with a high viscosity provides more protection to critical machine components over a wide range of temperatures. 

Analysing this gives us a good indication of oil depletion. Too much depletion in viscosity means it is time to change the oil. 

Water and Oxidation will affect viscosity.

Viscosity increases: The cause is either oxidation or particle contamination

Viscosity Decreases: The cause is either dilution or shearing

Rule of thumb with viscosity is movements plus or minus 10-20% change is a good time to change the oil. 


Contamination is the biggest killer of all machinery. 

These particles that are harmful and eventually catastrophic to the lubrication in your machinery. 

Detecting the presence of contaminants and the source determining is how we prevent further entry or destruction

Particle Counting

1  2  3  100  5000

How many particles of contamination are in your oil?

How big are these particles?

The importance of particle counting is critical. This data tells us that the fluid is clean enough for reliable operation.

Providing us with the size and quantity of the solid contaminants in your oil.

Each machine has a TARGET RATING ISO CODE this code is the desired lowest levels of contamination for this particular piece of equipment.

For example: A pump and a roller bearing has 2 different ISO codes due to the tolerance between the moving parts. 

A standard rule of thumb is a ISO Code can go up at least 2 numbers before action needs to be taken, 

Spectrolab NZ follows the industry standard regulation ISO 4406

Also measure particle sizes as 2, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50 micron

A particle counter counts in every 1 milliliter of oil there is 

System Care

Caring for your system

Together with Dynamic Fluid Systems International Ltd, we provide in-house oil sampling and testing using our Spectrometer, Fluidscan, Viscometer and Laser Particle counting technology – All based in our Auckland Laboratory for your peace of mind.

Our staff can collect oil samples from your machines or alternatively we can send you an oil sampling kit for you to take your oil sample and then send it back to us for further analysis. 

This allows for a detailed report of your hydraulic oil in its current condition. 

This report will allow you to make informed decisions in your preventative maintenance program allowing you to reduce costly maintenance faults by ensuring that your hydraulic filtration systems are adequate to prevent blockages and to provide insight into internal equipment wear and tear.

We are able to provide detailed reports on a wide range of hydraulic oils, both synthetic and mineral. 

Our oil analysis can test for the following contaminants, wear metals, oxidation and additives:

               WEAR METALS

  • Iron
  • Chrome
  • Nickel
  • Molybdenum
  • Aluminium
  • Lead
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Silver
  • Titanium


  • Silicon
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Vanadium


  • Water
  • Oxidation
  • Total Acid Number (TAN)


  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc
  • Barium
  • Boron

Please see below for our Oil Sample Result Example Sheets (Taken from real results)

*Please Note: The Oil Sample History does not show the trends but with repetitive oil sampling the previous results on the same machine will show (up to the previous 4 results) so you can get a feel for how your machine is doing over time. 


All is ok and within acceptable levels for your oil/machine


Attention is required. Our analyst will provide you with information on what you need to do to save your machine BEFORE it is too late


URGENT ACTION is required NOW. Our Analyst will provide you with information on what you need to do RIGHT NOW to save your machine