A new service called Filter Forensics™ will be able to identify contamination and premature plugging issues in fuel and oil filters and recommends solutions to prevent future filter plugging and/or machine failure. Filter Forensics™ will be offered by the Donaldson Company, a manufacturer of filtration systems and parts.

The purpose of a filter is to protect vital equipment from a wide range of environmental and mechanical contamination. In order to prevent machine failure and minimize downtime, filters are typically serviced according to a standard maintenance cycle. However, when exposed to extreme contamination levels or atypical fuel or oil chemistry, filters can plug prematurely. If it results in unplanned downtime, this can directly impact an equipment owner’s bottom line. Whether a plugged filter is caused by delivery of contaminated fuel or a persistent fluid chemistry issue, owners want to identify the root cause to avoid reoccurrence.

“Contamination happens,” said Scott Grossbauer, Director of Donaldson Hydraulics and Clean Solutions. “Why it happens – and where in the fuel or lubricant pathway it happens – has not always been easy to isolate. So whether it is a Donaldson filter or a competitor’s, whether it is a filter on a bulk storage tank or on-board equipment, this new service gives equipment owners and operators a means to save valuable time and money.”

With the Filter Forensics service, customers ship contaminated or plugged filters to a specialized lab for root cause analysis. Filter experts cut open the sample filters and inspect the filter media. The engineers then analyze the filter media using state-of-the-art forensic chemical testing technology: liquid chromatography, mass spectroscopy, gas chromatography and scanning electron microscopes. Customers receive a report that highlights the chemical compounds found in the sample and identifies the most likely root cause of the filter plugging, which can help isolate and solve the problem.

Finally, Donaldson engineers work with the equipment owner to resolve the contamination and premature plugging issue.