My lab asks me to complete paperwork to send with my sample. I understand why they want to know where to send the report, but why do they need all the other information?

The Unit and Component ID’s are important for identification and evaluation support. In addition to providing the lab with a reliable way to permanently file and access your test results, they provide our Data Bureau Veritas with the starting point for their interpretation. The remaining data on the information form is even more important. For example, the operating times on component and oil are essential to trend analysis. To help illustrate why, imagine taking two identical machines in identical environments with identical rates of wear for the element iron. If one unit is sampled after 10 hours and the second after 100 hours, naturally the iron test results in the second sample would be 10 times higher than the first. If the time on oil is not provided then the assumption could be made that the wear severity was 10 times higher, when actually they were exactly the same—only one had 10 times longer for wear to accumulate in the oil. Also, during the break-in period the higher wear levels typical for this process can look very similar to abnormal wear. This information becomes even more important when “one-shot” samples are submitted for quick checks or problem investigations.

Trending is not enough; the trends need to be compared to make, model, and oil type to give you the maximum value for your oil sample. There are internal construction details that differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the oil itself must be matched to the correct product name and brand to ensure proper servicing and a correct evaluation of any problems that may change the oil’s properties. In the absence of oil and component data, evaluations are based on assumptions rather than actual knowledge. We rely on you to provide us with as much data as possible on which to base our recommendations and research.