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Production Process Insights

How to keep your sampling program at 100% scheduled uptime

Posted by George Buss on 12/8/15 10:10 AM


Over the years, I’ve had a number of conversations about sampler uptime that all basically boil down to the same question: How do we keep our samplers at 100% scheduled uptime to avoid loss of productivity and plant efficiency?

Even though each industry and process has a different impact on sampling equipment – an asphalt or mining application, for example, is more rigorous than a viscous petrochemical or sanitary food application – there are two best practices that maximize uptime regardless of industry: data collection and scheduled preventive maintenance.

1. Data collection

Planned outages are an ideal time to disassemble and assess your sampler and ask:

  • Are there visible signs of leaking?
  • Are seals and components showing wear?
  • Does it pass a bench test for functionality?

Routinely logging the answers to these questions is valuable. Over time, the data will provide insight into your sampler’s lifecycle and how you can tailor a preventive maintenance schedule to maximize equipment uptime.

2. Preventive Maintenance

Although it happens rarely, there is no way to predict with certainty when a piece of equipment may malfunction or fail. However, if you have specific data available and use it as the basis for your maintenance schedule, you’ll go a long way in preventing breakdowns. It’s the key to 100% uptime.

What data is important to consider when it comes to preventive maintenance?

Simply put, all of it. This includes:

  • Visual cues. A physical inspection reveals wear, leaks or chemical attack of components and seals.
  • Timing. Watching how the visual cues progress over time provides you with a sense of just how well your sampler is withstanding the process and performing in general.
  • Usage. Knowing when and how often a sample is taken tells you how long the sampler ran before a malfunction or between scheduled maintenance times, and sets reasonable expectations about the remaining sampler lifecycle.

Taken in total, you have all the information you need to make maintenance decisions that will directly impact uptime:

  • Is the sampler in good working order? Is maintenance during planned outages sufficient to keep it running well?
  • Will a one-time repair restore the efficiency of the sampler? If so, when can the fix be made with little or no disruption?
  • Does the sampler have ongoing but manageable issues if it’s placed on a regular maintenance schedule? Would it present significant unplanned downtime risks?
  • Is the sampler at the end of its lifecycle? How can the replacement be managed to minimize downtime?

In addition to the story the data tells, hands-on preventive maintenance can help ensure 100% scheduled uptime.

Hands-on Maintenance Checklist

  • Properly clean and lubricate the sampler and remove residual process material that may “travel” through components and speed up wear
  • Reset the sampler so it consistently runs at optimal capacity – instead of being run until it breaks down – by performing periodic maintenance as indicated by the data you have collected
  • Keep an inventory of stock parts that either have long lead times for ordering or routinely wear out (like seals and gaskets)

  • Review our Resource Library and/or our How To YouTube series to get full technical knowledge of your Sentry Samplers 


Interested in ensuring your plant has 100% scheduled uptime? Call us at +1-262-567-7256 or complete our online contact form to start the discussion on how our products, services, and industry-leading experience can help you achieve and maintain 100% scheduled uptime for your facility.

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Written by George Buss

As one of our expert service technicians, George has been working on Sentry sampling products and systems since 2001. This means he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience with Sentry sampling equipment, and is happy to share his knowledge with customers looking to ensure their sampling equipment is working optimally and efficiently. In his spare time, George can be found fixing stuff and making it work (which also sounds a lot like work, doesn’t it?)

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