ACHEMA 2012 / Particle Analysis 20 Years in Particle Measurement

Editor: Dominik Stephan

German particle analysis solutions provider Pamas prepares for its 20th anniversary: On June 1st, the company looks back on 20 years of development and manufacturing of liquid particle counters at currently nine company locations worldwide, Pamas explains.

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Pamas looks back on 20 years in particle analysis, managing director Schreck explains. (Picture: Pamas)
Pamas looks back on 20 years in particle analysis, managing director Schreck explains. (Picture: Pamas)

Owner Gerhard Schreck believes two key factors are the reason behind the success of his company: the ongoing development and upgrades to existing systems and software and the continuous exploration into new markets and trading areas.

Schreck had early recognised that only through extension of the corporate know-how, the company would be able to reach and maintain a market leading position in the sector of analysing technology, he explains. “For this reason, soon after establishment, we started to focus on development”, Gerhard Schreck explains. “Having our own department for Research and Development, which is situated at the Pamas head office in Germany, we are able to take a bearing on market demands and to develop new products for new fields and applications. Over the course of the past two decades, we have evolved and modified new developments to meet customer demands rather than limit ourselves to technical capability. So we succeeded in exploring new markets where particle measuring technology had not been applied before.”

Particle Analysis in the Offshore Industry

One example is hydraulic systems within the offshore industry. In this sector, until the end of the 1990s, the cleanliness of hydraulic fluids usually was tested through microscopic membrane analysis. This analysing procedure requires a lot of time and work: at first, a defined liquid amount is filtered through a membrane and afterwards analysed manually or automatically under the microscope. Apart from the extended time and labour factors, membrane analysis also has another key disadvantage compared to optical particle measurement: the counting procedure is very subjective, this is because it is solely based on the operator’s evaluation.

Alternative Measuring Methods Wanted

For this reason, customers running offshore oil rigs were interested in alternative measuring techniques compensating the numerous uncertainties of microscopic membrane analysis. A customer acted as an opener and began to use the Pamas S4031 WG particle counter alongside routine membrane analysis in order to test the suitability of the particle counter in the field.

The test stage was very positive. It was shown that optical particle measurement is able to fully replace the membrane analysis. The size and the quantity of the particles are reported in a trice. The measuring results fully comply with common standards including NAS 1638, SAE AS 4059 and ISO 4406. Same as many other users in the offshore industry, the customer meanwhile has taken proactive measures towards the cleanliness and contamination control of fluid sampling with the aid of an optical particle counter as standard procedure.