Particle Count Data

EXPLANATION OF Particle Count Data

Today's hydraulic and hydrostatic systems are running at higher pressures and higher stresses than ever before! With closer tolerances, controlling contamination is critical to ensuring optimum pumps and valve lives.

Why measure particle size? Although spectrographic analysis reports elements in parts per million, the instruments are restricted to 7 microns detection limits. Particle Count utilizes ranges beginning at 2 microns to 100 microns, large enough to damage delicate hydraulic pumps.

What is a micron? A micron is a unit of measurement equal to a “micrometer” or 1/25,000 of an inch. Example: the smallest spec an unaided eye will see is 40 microns across. By using Spectrographic analysis alone, you will miss possible failures due to limitations of the instrument. Wear metals alone will not help in good management of hydraulic systems. Particle count tests provide analysis determining the size and distribution of particles that can damage sensitive systems.

All hydraulic systems have contamination level guidelines that must be adhered to, and not exceeded. Particle count provides a measurement of contamination control.

Particle count data is reported at three contamination levels, 4 microns, 6 microns and 14 microns. High numbers at the 4 and 6 microns may indicate “silting”; which may indicate a problem with valves not completely closing, as well as other potential problems. High numbers at the 14 micron detection areas indicate abnormal wear is occurring which will cause substantial damage and unscheduled downtime.

6 .32 .64 16 320 640
7 .64 1.3 17 640 1,300
8 1.3 2.5 18 1,300 2,500
9 2.5 5 19 2,500 5,000
10 5 10 20 5,000 10,000
11 10 20 21 10,000 20,000
12 20 40 22 20,000 40,000
13 40 80 23 40,000 80,000
14 80 160 24 80,000 160,000
15 160 320      


Particle Count data is the most useful in any hydraulic system or any system with transmission disc material that is not metal.

This analysis is intended as an aid in predicting mechanical wear. No Guarantee, expressed or implied, is made against failure of this component.

For additional information and specific interpretation contact the lab at 1-800-848-4826.