These products start in the dissolved form, accumulating until the lubricant reaches its capacity, referred to as the saturating point, forcing any excess to convert into insoluble degradation products. Without regular turbulent flushing with a high-velocity system, varnish and sludge can be a source of unreliability and the root cause of mechanical or other failure types.
Unfortunately, for many operations, high velocity oil flushing is just another item on a checklist, done without much thought or planning. For facilities like this, the only time oil flushing is a priority is when a system fails, and at that point, the only goal is to get the system back up and running. While this approach is understandable, it often leads to problems, inefficiency, and a cycle of reactive maintenance activity.
Performing high velocity oil flushes at regular intervals can enhance machine performance and extend asset life.
Turbine engines have different demands than other engines; they have unique structures, operating cycles, operating temperatures, and contamination potential. As such, turbine engines require unique lubricants formulated specifically to meet these demands.
It is important, when choosing a turbine oil, to understand how these lubricants differ, physically and chemically, from other lubricants. The lubricant selection process is also a good time to address turbine oil system flushing and the initial filtration requirements.
With the introduction and Group II turbine oils, varnish has presented itself as one of the most prevalent issues facing turbomachinery equipment operators. While ion exchange resin manufacturers and chemical detergent manufacturers have scrambled to offer solutions to combat existing problems with varnish, it wasn’t until recently that Chevron Lubricants developed a two part solution that uses the same technology used to remove varnish deposits to also prevent future varnish formation.