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Level I Laboratory Lubricant Analyst (ISO 18436-5)

To become certified, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • Education and/or Experience - Candidates must have at least 12 months of experience in the field of laboratory-based lubricant testing and analysis for machinery condition monitoring, with a minimum of 1,200 hours of actual testing and analysis experience.
  • Training - Candidate must have received 24 hours of documented formal training as outlined in the Body of Knowledge of the LLA I. For online or recorded training, exercises, lab tasks, practice exams, and review exercises may be included in the training time total but shall not exceed four hours of the required course time. Candidate shall be able to provide a record of this training to ICML that shall include the candidate’s name, the name and signature of the instructor, the dates of the training, and the number of hours spent in the training.

    : ICML does not require, recommend, endorse or authorize any specific training course as official or approved. It is the responsibility of each candidate to research the training options available in his/her area and make a decision as to the training provider of his/her choice. ICML recommends the outline of the course of choice be compared to the exam's Body of Knowledge. It is in the person's best interest and their responsibility as an ICML candidate to ensure they are being trained in the same subject areas in which they will be tested. It is also the candidate’s responsibility to ensure each instructor is currently certified at the level of instruction. (Candidates can do this by checking for an instructor’s name in our real-time directory of certified professionals.) ICML's Bodies of Knowledge are of public domain and can be utilized by companies in the development of courses, as well as by any prospective candidate for evaluating the appropriateness of chosen training. 
  • Examination - Each candidate must successfully pass a 70 question, multiple-choice examination that evaluates the candidate's knowledge of the topic. Candidates have two hours to complete the closed-book examination. A score of 70% is required to pass the examination and achieve certification. 
The Level I LLA Body of Knowledge is an outline of concepts that one should have in order to pass the exam, in accordance with ISO 18436-5, Category I, Annex A. 

References from which exam questions were derived can be found in the Domain of Knowledge.

I.   Sample handling and preparation (30%)
     A. Sample cleanliness
        1. Sample diluting
        2. Cross-contamination
     B. Contaminant re-suspension
        1. Bottle Ullage
        2. Sample Agitation

II.  Lubricant health monitoring (30%)
        1. Kinematic viscosity ((ASTM D445/ISO 3104)
        2. Absolute (dynamic) viscosity (ASTM D2983/ISO 3104)
        3. Viscosity Index (ASTM D2270/(ISO 2909)
        4. Acid Number (ASTM D664, D974/ISO 6618, ISO 6619)
        5. Base Number (ASTM D4739, D974/ISO 6618, ISO 3771)
        6. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis (ASTM E169, ASTM D7418)
        7. Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ASTM D5185, 6595)
        8. Flash point test (ASTM D92, ASTM D93/ISO 2592, ISO 2719, ISO 1523 + ISO 3679 + ISO 13736)
        9. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) (ASTM D5967)
      10. Schiff’s reagent (ASTM D2982)
      11. Crackle test
      12. Co-distillation (ASTM D95/ISO 3733)
      13. Karl Fischer titration (ASTM D6304/ISO 10337 +ISO 12937)
      14. Cyclic voltammetry (ASTM 6971)
      15. Insolubles (ASTM D893)
      16. Gas chromatography (ASTM D3524, ASTM D3525)

III. Reagent Management (20%)
     A. Equipment and glassware (Cleaning and preparation)
     B. Chemicals
        1. Preparation
        2. Labeling
        3. Storage
        4. Safety
        5. Disposal
        6. Material safety data sheets

IV.  Instrument Calibration (20%)
     A. Reference materials
        1. Primary and secondary standards
     B. Record keeping
        1. Routine control charts

Domain of Knowledge

  • Annual Book of ASTM Standards (Section Five) Volume 05.04 Petroleum Products and Lubricants
  • ASTM D4378-20, Standard Practice of In-Service Monitoring of Mineral Turbine Oils for Steam and Gas Turbines
  • ASTM D6224-16, Standard Practice for In-Service Monitoring of Lubricating Oil for Auxiliary Power Plant Equipment
  • Bloch, H., Bannister, K (2017) Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities, 3rd Edition. The Fairmont Press, Lilburn, Georgia, USA.
  • Denis, J., J Briant, & J. Hipeaux (1997) Lubricant Properties Analysis & Testing. Editions TECHNIP, Paris, France.
  • Fitch, J. (2001) Sourcebook of Used Oil Elements, Noria Publishing., Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.
  • Hunt, T.M. (1993) Handbook of Wear Debris Analysis and Particle Detection in Liquids. Springer, Netherlands
  • Prichard, E. (1995) Quality in the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, West Sussex, UK.
  • Prichard, E., & Barwick, V. (2007) Quality Assurance in Analytical Chemistry, John Wiley & Sons, LGC, Teddington, UK.
  • Roylance, B., & T. Hunt (1999) The Wear Debris Analysis Handbook. Coxmoor Publishing, Oxford, UK
  • Shugar, G., & Ballinger, J. (2011) Chemical Technicians' Ready Reference Handbook, 5th Edition, McGraw Hill Professional
  • Toms, L.A., & Toms, A.M. (2008) Machinery Oil Analysis. Co-published by STLE, Park Ridge, Illinois, USA
  • Totten, G.E., & De Negri, V.J. (Eds) (2012) Handbook of Hydraulic Fluid Technology, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York.
  • Troyer, D., & J. Fitch (2010) Oil Analysis Basics. Noria Publishing, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
These references can be purchased from the following organizations:

LLA I Certification is valid for three years from the date of issue. Individuals certified as Laboratory Lubricant Analysts (LLA) must recertify their competency every three years. The purpose for recertification is to ensure that certified individuals keep their skills current and up-to-date.

Recertification is achieved by a points system. To recertify by points, individuals must accumulate 15 recertification points over the three-year period and submit a completed application to ICML. Points may be claimed using the following criteria:

Training1 point per day10 pointsProof of attendance (certificate, badge or letter from training company on its letterhead) and a copy of the course outline
Employment4 points per year12 pointsLetter from employer, on company letterhead, with title of signer shown
Article Publication2 points per article6 pointsCopy of article and table of contents of the book, proceedings, magazine or journal in which it was published
Conference Attendance1 point per conference day6 pointsProof of attendance (certificate, badge or letter from conference organizer on its letterhead) and copy of program


Criteria of Acceptability

  • Employment - Employment must be in a field related to industrial lubrication and/or oil analysis.
  • Training/Conference Attendance – Training/Conference topics related to oil analysis, lubrication or other topics important to effective equipment maintenance and management will be accepted.
  • Article Publication - Articles published in journals, magazines, books or proceedings should be related to a topic within the body of knowledge for oil analysis, lubrication or equipment maintenance or management.

All points must be earned during the time the LLA I certification is in effect. Points earned before or after the certification period will not be accepted. Points may be applied to multiple ICML certifications held by the individual, assuming that the points are applicable and approved for each individual recertification.

If a candidate’s only source of recertification points is employment, the extra points required may be earned via participation in employment-related best practices activities, as per below criteria:

  • Testing related failure elimination and/or prevention activities
  • Test inspection procedures (writing and/or implementation)
  • Industry Standard feedback/betterment activities
  • Laboratory Procedure and Best Practices (writing and/or implementing)
  • Quality control activities (i.e., charting, limits, feedback, etc.)
  • Laboratory program auditing tasks (writing, implementing and/or assisting)
  • Training, coaching and/or mentoring of new hires