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Level II Machine Lubricant Analyst (ISO 18436-4, II)

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

  • Education and/or Experience - Candidates must have 24 months experience in the field of lubricant-analysis-based machinery condition monitoring.  The months of experience are based on 16 hours minimum per month of sampling and analysis experience. Hold Level I Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) certification OR have a minimum of 960 hours experience and the knowledge base of the MLA I body of knowledge.
  • Training - Candidate must have received 24 hours of documented formal training in oil analysis for machine condition monitoring as outlined in the Body of Knowledge of the MLA II.

Note: 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. 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 written, 100 question multiple choice examination that evaluates the candidate's knowledge of the topic. Candidates have three hours to complete the closed-book examination. A score of 70% is required to pass the examination and achieve certification. Contact ICML about the availability of the exam in other languages.

The Level II MLA Body of Knowledge is an outline of concepts that a candidate shall have in order to pass the exam, in accordance with ISO 18436-4, Category II, Annex A.

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

I. Lubricant roles and functions (4%)
   A. Base oil
       1. Functions
       2. Properties
   B. Additive functions
       1. Surface active additives and their functions
       2. Bulk oil active additives and their functions
   C. Synthetic lubricants
       1. Synthetic lubricant types
       2. Conditions dictating their use
   D. Lubrication regimes
       1. Hydrodynamic
       2. Elasto-hydrodynamic
       3. Boundary

II. Oil Analysis Maintenance Strategies (4%)
   A. Fundamental aspects of Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)
   B. Fundamental aspects of Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)
       1. Predictive maintenance strategies
       2. Proactive maintenance strategies

III. Oil Sampling (29%)
   A. Objectives for lube oil sampling
   B. Equipment specific sampling:
       1. Gearboxes with circulating systems
       2. Engines
       3. Single and multi-component circulating oil systems with separate reservoirs
       4. Hydraulic systems
       5. Splash, ring and collar lubricated systems
   C. Sampling methods
       1. Non-pressurized systems
       2. Pressurized systems - Low
       3. Pressurized systems - High
   D. Managing interference
       1. Bottle cleanliness and management
       2. Flushing
       3. Machine conditions appropriate for sampling
   E. Sampling process management
       1. Sampling frequency
       2. Sampling procedures
       3. Sample processing

IV. Lubricant health monitoring (21%)
   A. Lubricant failure mechanisms
       1. Oxidative degradation
           a) The oxidation process
           b) Causes of oxidation
           c) Effects of oxidative degradation
       2. Thermal degradation
           a) The thermal failure process
           b) Causes of thermal failure
           c) Effects of thermal degradation
       3. Additive depletion/degradation
           a) Additive depletion mechanisms
           b) Additives at risk for depletion/degradation by the various mechanisms.
   B. Testing for wrong or mixed lubricants
       1. Baselining physical and chemical properties tests
       2. Additive discrepancies
   C. Fluid properties test methods and measurement units
       1. Kinematic Viscosity (ASTM D445)
       2. Absolute (Dynamic) Viscosity (ASTM D2983)
       3. Viscosity Index (ASTM D2270)
       4. Acid Number (ASTM D974 et al)
       5. Base Number (ASTM D974 et al)
       6. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis
       7. Rotating Pressure Vessel Oxidation Test (ASTMD2272)
       8. Atomic Emission Spectroscopy

V. Lubricant contamination measurement and control (25%)
   A. Particle contamination
       1. Effects on the machine
       2. Effects on the lubricant
       3. Methods and units for measuring particle contamination
       4. Techniques for controlling particle contamination
   B. Moisture contamination
       1. Effects on the machine
       2. Effects on the lubricant
       3. States of coexistence
       4. Methods and units for measuring moisture contamination
       5. Demulsibility measurement
       6. Techniques for controlling moisture contamination
   C. Glycol coolant contamination
       1. Effects on the machine
       2. Effects on the lubricant
       3. Methods and units for measuring glycol contamination
       4. Techniques for controlling glycol contamination
   D. Soot contamination
       1. Effects on the machine
       2. Effects on the lubricant
       3. Methods and units for measuring soot contamination
       4. Techniques for controlling soot contamination
   E. Fuel contamination (fuel dilution in oil)
       1. Effects on the machine
       2. Effects on the lubricant
       3. Methods and units for measuring fuel contamination
       4. Techniques for controlling fuel contamination
   F. Air contamination (air in oil)
       1. Effects on the machine
       2. Effects on the lubricant
       3. States of coexistence
       4. Methods for assessing air contamination
           a) Air release characteristics (ASTM D3427)
           b) Foam stability characteristics (ASTM D892)
       5. Techniques for controlling air contamination

VI. Wear Debris Monitoring and Analysis (17%)
   A. Common wear mechanisms
       1. Abrasive wear
           a) Two-body
           b) Three-body
       2. Surface fatigue (contact fatigue)
           a) Two-body
           b) Three-body
       3. Adhesive wear
       4. Corrosive wear
       5. Cavitation wear
   B. Detecting abnormal wear
       1. Atomic emission spectroscopy methods
           a) Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectroscopy
           b) Arc-spark emission spectroscopy
       2. Wear particle density measurement
   C. Wear debris analysis
       1. Ferrogram preparation
       2. Filtergram preparation
       3. Light effects
       4. Magnetism effects
       5. Heat treatment
       6. Basic morphological analysis

Domain of Knowledge

  • Roylance, B. and T. Hunt (1999) Wear Debris Analysis. Coxmoor Publishing, Oxford, UK..
  • Denis, J., J. Briant and J. Hipeaux (1997) Lubricant Properties Analysis & Testing. Editions TECHNIP, Paris, France.
  • Troyer, D. and J. Fitch (1999) Oil Analysis Basics. Noria Publishing, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.
  • Hunt, T. (1993) Handbook of Wear Debris Analysis and Particle Detection in Liquids. Elsevier Science Publishers, LTD, Essex, UK.
  • Toms, L. (1998) Machinery Oil Analysis. Coastal Skills Training, Virginia Beach, VA, USA.
  • Bloch, H. (2000) Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, USA.
  • Standard Practice of In-Service Monitoring of Mineral Turbine Oils for Steam and Gas Turbines, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D 4378-92.
  • Standard Practice for In-Service Monitoring of Lubricating Oil for Auxiliary Power Plant Equipment, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D 6224-98.

These references can be purchased from the following organizations:  

Barnes and Noble  
Noria Corporation