The following examples show how important it is to know exactly what is contained within an OELCHECK sample container:
■ A heat transfer oil arrives at our laboratory and is only declared as such on the sample information form. Information about the manufacturer, product name and viscosity is missing. However, if this oil contains silicone and we load it into the testing equipment, the equipment will be contaminated. The instruments must then be thoroughly cleaned and as such, are unable to analyse the following samples. If the equipment is not cleaned, parts of the extremely penetrating silicone oil will remain in the device and skew the results of any samples examined subsequently.
■ If a sample vessel allegedly contains a coolant, but in reality contains an industrial cleaner, it represents a risk to our high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC). Unlike gas chromatography, which is a very good separation method for vaporisable substances, HPLC can also be used to analyse non-volatile substances. In the OELCHECK laboratory, we use it to identify differences in the molecular composition of additives in coolants. However, if a cleaner is added to the HPLC instead of a coolant, the unit can be severely damaged. Further investigations must be carried out and the machine will have to be repaired at an extremely high cost.
These examples illustrate just how important it is to provide accurate information about the samples you send in. Finally, if we discover something that's not familiar to us in the large number of arrivals to the OELCHECK lab, we will usually request a safety data sheet (and potentially a clean sample, too).