The Dirty Truth of New Oil & Machines

Recently, I visited a local injection molding operation. There were several older machines and three new machines that had been recently installed. These old machines have been operating on recycled oil for many years. A few samples had been taken over the years to make sure the additive packages were in the acceptable range, but no particle counts were taken. Alternatively, the new machines were filled with new oil and sampling was also not performed. Being proactive, the customer wanted to purchase a new filter cart to filter the oil in all of the machines to see if it would improve operations in the old machines and keep the new machines clean.

Following our advice, samples were taken from all of the machines, old and new, and it turns out that the new machines contained more particle contamination than the old machines and were operating on hydraulic fluid that was approximately 128 times dirtier than the recommended cleanliness level and about twice as dirty as one of the old machines. Additionally, the new oil was also sampled from an unopened container before being put into use and had a particle count of 18/16/12 – 8 times dirtier than the recommended cleanliness level.

These startling numbers were obviously a surprise to our customer and revealed a common misconception regarding the cleanliness of new oil.

Lessons learned: 
  1. New oil is not clean and needs to be filtered before being placed into service.
  2. New machines may have just as much or more dirt in the reservoir than a machine that has been in service for years and reservoirs should be flushed prior to initial operation.
  3. Additive packages are only a part of what needs to be monitored when measuring an oil’s condition.


The relative life of a component based on its cleanliness level. As particle counts are improved the life of the component is extended.

When we hear “new,” we think of products that are crisp and fresh—like a car just off the lot or a laptop computer still in the box. But that’s not what your new oil or machines are like. The manufacturer’s process of blending and packaging can introduce significant amount of abrasive material to new oil and new machines can have original fabrication debris and dirt that have entered the system during transport and storage. By simply changing to Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) practices for oil monitoring and filtering, this customer can now extend the life of the hydraulic pumps from an average life of two years out to an expected life of 14 years.

Roy Giorgio
Key Account Manager


Des-Case Corporation

675 N. Main St.
Goodlettsville, TN 37072

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM CST

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