Maintenance and Reliability

Industrial maintenance practices have evolved over the past two decades from reactive through preventive (PM) to predictive (PdM), with the trend moving towards reliability centered maintenance (RCM). Simply put, reactive maintenance is an ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t touch it’ approach. It accepts crisis failures and the resultant financial impact of unscheduled equipment downtime as a normal cost of doing business.

Preventive maintenance recognises routine and historical equipment component failures and addresses them before they occur. Although some crisis failures may be avoided, unnecessary repairs and associated downtime often take place. Predictive maintenance addresses weaknesses associated with PM by using routine equipment, monitoring and performance trending to predict component failures. Once a failure mode is established, appropriate corrective action is initiated. Thus unscheduled downtime resulting from crisis failures and the costs associated with unnecessary repairs are dramatically reduced or eliminated.

Reliability centered maintenance takes PdM to a higher level of performance and cost effectiveness. It was first employed by the aircraft industry as a means to minimise and preferably eliminate component failures. Should a failure occur, it demands a thorough understanding of its root cause(s) and the implementation of appropriate corrective actions. Reliability driven programmes such as Six Sigma, Root Cause Failure Analysis, Root Cause Problem Solving, Root Cause Corrective Action and others are utilised in a wide range of industries.


Industry figures indicate that only about 3% of an average maintenance budget is spent on lubricants. Yet lubrication is the element that has the most direct impact on equipment moving components, and the people who work with them that make up the remaining 97% of the pie.

The cost of lubricants account for roughly 3% of total maintenance spend but if selected and managed effectively can contribute to much larger savings in maintenance and production activities.

Castrol has adopted the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) approach to lubrication management. With the use of High Performance lubricants (HPL), the TCO can be reduced with many documented case studies.

Lubricant Condition Monitoring Programme

Routine lubricant condition monitoring is an essential ingredient of a complete and successful reliability central maintenance programme. We utilise multiple technologies to support effective equipment and lubricant monitoring programmes that relate current and historical data for trend analyses and condition evaluations. Experts in our products and customer applications provide detailed product serviceability, interpretations and diagnostic recommendations as appropriate. Our lubricant condition monitoring testing services can include:

  • Viscosities
  • Acid number
  • Water content
  • Infrared analysis
  • Foam test
  • Spectrographic analysis
  • Direct reading ferrography
  • Full analytical ferrography

Non-routine Testing

We also provide product and field support for many applications specific to individual products and circumstances. The non-routine support group encompasses many aspects of analysis and support. Testing applications include:

  • New & used grease analysis
  • Competitive comparisons
  • Compatability of products
  • Quality assurance analysis
  • Filter content analysis
  • Sludge / deposit analysis
  • Component condition / failure analysis
  • Specific properties analysis
  • Direct reading ferrography
  • Full analytical ferrography

Product Performance Testing

In support of our product development, technical applications and competitive analysis, we operate an array of laboratory equipment designed to accurately measure the physical and performance characteristics and capabilities of industrial lubricants. These analyses include:

  • Falex wear (Friction & wear test)
  • Foam characteristics (Resistance)
  • Four ball wear (Friction & wear test)
  • Four ball EP (Extreme Pressure)
  • FZG (Scuffing gear test)
  • Pumpability (Resistance)
  • Rust & corrosion (Resistance)
  • SRV (Friction & wear test)
  • Water demulsibility (Separation)
  • Water sprayoff (Resistance)
  • Water washout (Resistance)

Engineering Support

Total commitment to customer satisfaction is clearly demonstrated by the professional support services available from the Castrol Performance Lubricant’s Engineering Team (available in certain areas). The majority of our service engineering personnel are Certified Lubrication Specialists recognised by the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers. In addition to being trained specialists in lubrication and maintenance practices, they are also qualified in specialised technical areas including bearings, failure analysis, gears and hydraulics. Field support services include:

  • Detailed engineering studies
  • On-site technical training
  • Routine application reviews
  • Routine lubricant sampling, analysis and trending programmes
  • Root cause problem solving and troubleshooting
  • Routine programme value documentation
  • Assisting in the implementation and monitoring of other effective reliability central maintenance practices