OilLife Q&A

August 4th, 2017

We sat down with IPU’s Oil Conditioning Divisional Director and asked him our most frequently asked questions about our OilLife (OL) technology.

How does OilLife work?

Contaminated oil, with abrasive particles, soot, liquids and oxidation by-products such as sludge, enter the unit through a small metering jet under normal engine oil pressure supplied by the engine’s oil pump. The oil then passes through long-strand, protein rich cotton, a highly efficient filtration medium capable of filtration down to 1 micron. At this stage acidic contaminants react with the protein rich cotton, removing them completely from the oil.

Once filtered, the oil then enters the heated evaporation chamber where liquid contaminants and gasses are evaporated and immediately vented. The unit features a unique, patented, diffuser plate design, which provides a large heated surface area relative to the volume of oil – resulting in the thin film evaporation effect which removes the precursors to acid formation.

After these contaminants are removed, the clean oil is gravity-fed back to the engine oil sump.


What is the difference between OilLife and a conventional oil filter?

Full flow filter filtration rates can range between 10 to 40 litres per minute, which is in effect more of a screening action than fine filtration. OilLife has an ultra-fine filtration medium that filters oil at a rate 40 of litres per hour. In order to achieve ultra-fine filtration it is necessary to pass the oil through the filter at a moderated, slow rate. Full flow filters will typically remove large solid particles (>10 microns), leaving many smaller, highly abrasive particles in the oil. It filters solid contaminants down to 1 micron in size while evaporating liquid and gas contaminants, preventing the formation of acid contamination.


Doesn’t normal engine heat evaporate most liquid contaminants?

Yes it does – but it takes too long. Oil would not become contaminated with acids (generally caused by water reacting with sulphur oxides) or have its viscosity altered by fuel dilution if engine heat alone could do the job of removing unwanted liquids. The evaporation chamber provides the necessary combination of controlled heat, lack of pressure and thin film of oil to allow water, gases and the light hydrocarbons of fuel to vaporise quickly and efficiently directly to atmosphere.


Does the colour of the oil have any bearing on its lubrication ability?

Most diesel engine lubrication oil will turn black in the first few minutes of operation due to the additive package in the oil and minute carbon particles. The only accurate way to determine the oil’s lubricating value or contamination level is through spectrographic oil analysis.


Does OilLife reduce the amount of sludge typically found in engines?

Yes. Although contaminants formed from engine wear and chemical reactions are initially extremely small, they tend to agglomerate (stick together) in suspension in the oil, increasing in size until they are large enough to fall out of suspension, forming layers of sludge.

OL captures and removes solid contaminants in the oil down to 1 micron in size, which prevents them from reaching a size at which they can fall out of suspension.


How does OilLife maintain the viscosity of the oil?

Viscosity in oils will typically increase due to generation of solid contaminants such as soot / carbon or sludge and OilLife will filter out such contaminants. Viscosity in oil will also be adversely affected by alkali additive depletion or acid formation which will lead to viscosity breakdown. It filters solid contaminants while evaporating liquid and gas contaminants, which prevents the formation of acid contamination and preserves the oil’s viscosity.


What type of oil should be used with OilLife?

Any high quality oil that meets or exceeds the specifications established or recommended by the engine manufacturer.


Will OilLife work with extended change interval synthetic oils?

Yes. OilLife is completely compatible with synthetic oils. Although these oils might have a superior lubrication value over mineral oils, they are still susceptible to solid contamination build up and liquid and gas contaminants leading to acid formation, which OL will protect the oil from.


Can OilLife be used on any engine?

OilLife can be installed on almost any engine with a pressurised lubricating system.


Will the installation of OilLife on my engine or other type of equipment affect the manufacturer’s warranty?

No. OilLife is a bypass unit cleaning the oil at a rate of 40 litres per hour and is used in addition to the OEM full flow filter. It enhances the OEM full flow filter’s performance, greatly extending its life. It does not affect the oil flow or pressure in an engine or hydraulic system.


Will OilLife cause a noticeable drop in engine oil pressure?

No. OilLife uses a pressurised tributary oil supply, downstream of the engine full flow filter. Oil pressure is backed upon the pressure reducing jet in the connection assembly at the base of the OL unit.


Can OilLife be used on other equipment besides engines?

Yes. OilLife can be used on many types of hydraulic equipment, compressors, transmissions etc as well as most engines. The limiting factor is oil viscosity – OL cannot be used on oils above 150 Centistoke viscosity at ambient temperature.