Oct 16, 2018

Online Oil Condition Monitoring


Edited: Oct 16, 2018

The Oil Condition Monitoring Sensor by Gill Sensors was designed to detect particles of metal in oil that have originated from worn or broken machinery such as gears. It attracts and collects this debris and records the amount collected. This serves as an early warning of impending mechanical failure. The active part of the Oil Debris Sensor is the probe. This part is immersed in the oil of the equipment being monitored. It has two sensing elements, a magnetic element at the head of the probe which detects ferrous material (debris) and a dielectric element at the foot of the probe which detects the presence of oil.


By connecting a 0-20mA ioX-Connect meter to the Oil Debris Sensor we are able to provide continuous real-time monitoring of ferrous debris that the sensor captures from the lubricating oil and display that on our ioX-Connect Online Sensor Portal.


Ferrous particles are deposited into the oil from gears, bearings and other metallic contacting surfaces. The presence of excessive ferrous debris provides an indication that an overload condition, lubricant contamination, lubricant degradation or lack of lubricant volume has caused the bearings and/or gears to begin to break down. Various alarms/ notification triggers can be set using the ioX-Connect Online Sensor Portal to notify you and your staff via text or email the moment excessive ferrous debris is detected in the equipment being monitored.


Example: Fine vs. Coarse Metal Comparison

"Please note, the above figure is just an example and not based on actual readings taken"


Ferrous particles take two forms. Firstly there are fine powder deposits (the red line in the above figure) which are the very early stages of wear. These are followed by larger chip or flakes (the blue line in the example figure) which indicate more severe system degradation. The Oil Condition Monitoring Sensor can distinguish between these particles and reports them as “Fine Metal %” and “Coarse Metal %” on 2 separate channels.


The reporting of these features can provide an early indication of potential breakdowns and is key to implementing effective planned preventative maintenance.


The Oil Condition Monitoring Sensor attracts ferrous debris within the oil by means of a permanent magnet, non-ferrous debris may be deposited on the Sensor by other means, for example by mounting the sensor in a location where debris would normally gather.


Electronics within the Oil Condition Monitoring Sensor detect the presence and type of debris, quantifying it as ‘fine’ (powdered) or ‘coarse’ (chippings) and reports a signal associated with the volume of each type of debris.


Other functions of the sensor measure the temperature and the dielectric of the oil for the purpose of detecting a significant change in the dielectric value. Such changes will occur if the oil is not present (oil leak) or if the water content in the oil is significant.


We have tapped into the very useful (and we believe necessary) additional channel offered by the Oil Condition Monitoring Sensor called the Oil Condition/ Status Channel that records the oil status based on upper and lower set threshold limits as well as water contamination detected in the monitored lubricant. Upper and lower limit thresholds are set during sensor installation by immersing the sensor in new/ clean oil with no water or debris contamination and setting the status as good. Subsequently the sensor is then also immersed in oil that contains at least 10% water or a percentage fine/ coarse metal particles and the status is set as poor. Once the sensor is installed in an equipment item, we are then able to also track the lubricant based on these two upper and lower limits and continuously report on the oil status as well as notify users when these thresholds are exceeded or close to being exceeded.


Example: Oil Status

"Please note, the above figure is just an example and not based on actual readings taken"


There are three product variants, all of which use the same sensing probe:

Analogue Sensors:

  • 4-20mA output channels


  • 0-10V output channels


Digital Sensor (Advanced set-up and not recommended)

  • CAN J1939



You might also want to check out our use case for this sensor that can be found on our downloads page (under use cases) / wireless monitoring page at the bottom of the page which also includes an overview video of the oil debris sensor.


If you would like more information on these sensors and how we can help you get started, please reach out to us and we will gladly assist you: Contact Us

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