Exxon Offers Exxcare— A Cost-Cutting Computerized Solution To Maintaining/Monitoring Oil
—Technical Paper Available— Good lubrication contributes greatly to the efficient operation and long service life of machinery. In turn, good lubrication depends on two factors, i.e.—a proper selection of products and a sound care of the lubricants in service, which really means keeping any lubricant contamination that will occur during service to a minimum. To implement such care, it is necessary to have reliable monitoring of oil condition coupled with an effective system for maintaining the quality of the oil at the required level.
Exxon Company International's solution to monitoring and maintaining oil condition is Exxcare®, a programmed analysis system for efficient maintenance of Exxon lubricants in service, whether in diesel engines or in other machinery.
At first glance, Exxcare appears to be similar to other systems used for fast analysis of oils in service. Exxcare, like other systems, uses a Sampling Kit containing small plastic sample bottles, which can be air mailed to specialized laboratories for quick analysis. The Sampling Kit, of course, contains other related material to make the sampling and mailing operation both smooth and simple. Even at this first and simplest stage of the Exxcare system, special attention has been paid to provide the ship's engineer with specific advice on sampling techniques aimed at ensuring that a representative sample is taken at all times.
However, what really singles out Exxcare is its computerized expert system designed to perform a comprehensive analysis of all test results obtained and translate that analysis in specific operational advice relevant to the situation under study.
Exxcare is primarily intended for main propulsion system oils in circulation. It can, however, also provide routine analysis of other large capacity installations and practically the entire range of machinery and systems on board ship. Since not all the tests performed within Exxcare are relevant to all situations, the number of tests to be carried out has been tailored to actual requirements and varies according to "testing programs," which link the type of product to its application. Of course, non-routine samples mailed by the ship personnel with a specific request for prompt analysis on account of a stated emergency condition will be accommodated.
Tests are performed according to well-established procedures, supplemented by special analytical techniques such as gas chromatography, emissions spectroscopy and others, as might be required.
The tests are categorized as: Basic— tests that are always performed as a matter of course, in conformity with the "testing programs"; Supplementary—tests that are run anytime the results of Basic tests warrant a wider investigation; and Optional—tests that are performed if an operator specifically requires them.
On completion of testing related to a certain program, the computer carries out the trend analysis on the tests' results. This comprises: (1) Comparing each quality characteristic of the oil in service against industry specified limits and when these are not stated, against desirable levels developed by Exxon through well-established field experience. (2)Assessing the magnitude of change between consecutive analyses. This is a particularly useful indicator of type and urgency of corrective actions required for characteristics such as viscosity and Total Base Number (TBN).
(3) Analyzing the possibility of interdependence of significant changes of quality features such as viscosity and insolubles content, TBN and water content, flash point and fuel contamination.
The computerized expert system of Exxcare reliably analyzes causeeffect relationships through a network of critical paths in the computer evaluation of test results. This network leads to a range of key situations, each representing the outcome of laboratory and computer analysis, inclusive of specific advice for appropriate remedial actions. With the use of Exxcare, an overall trend analysis can be established based on an analytical history and the rate of change of physico-chemical characteristics of a lubricant in the recent past.
The overall condition of a system oil can only be assessed through a combination of tests, the analysis of which is seldom easy and may be quite time consuming. The use of an Exxcare computerized expert system takes this chore away from the operator while at the same time offering him a reliable in-depth analysis, with the added bonus of consistency of diagnostic approach and advice as opposed to individual interpretations. The Exxcare trend analysis program covers 125 situations, large enough to cater to most, if not all, eventualities.
The importance of lubricant care from the standpoint of efficiency and safety of machinery operation cannot be overemphasized. A computerized expert system, such as that available through Exxcare, appears to offer the best chance of a reliable and consistent trend analysis, thus optimizing maintenance of lubricants in service. Of course, good purifying and handling practices on board ship remain an operational must.
Exxon Company International is offering a free technical paper detailing the Exxcare computerized expert system. The paper will be available at the Exxon display, Booth 324, at the 7th International Maritime Exposition of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Annual Meeting in the New York Hilton, New York City on November 9-12. Additionally, the technical paper can be obtained by writing to: Robert E.
Berner, Exxon Company International, 222 Park Avenue, Florham Park, N.J. 07932-1002.
For a free brochure on Exxcare,