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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 - Candidate must have 24 months experience in the field of lubricant-analysis-based machinery condition monitoring (based on 16 hours minimum per month of experience). This represents a minimum of 384 hours spread consistently over two years.
  • Complete one of these requirements:
    • Hold Level I Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) certification
    • Qualify as a Mature Entry Candidate (without Level I MLA certification) by submitting documentation of:
      • At least 576 hours additional work experience in the field of lubricant-analysis-based machinery condition monitoring. This brings total work hours to 960 when combined with the 384 hours already listed above.
      • Minimum 24 hours training relevant to the MLA I Body of Knowledge, accumulated through any combination of instructor-led events (such as workshops, seminars, or classes) and/or specific hands-on practice or observation.
  • Training - Candidate must have received 24 hours of documented formal training as outlined in the Body of Knowledge of the MLA II. 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. These 24 hours are in addition to the previous 24 hours of training required for MLA I or Mature Candidate Entry, for a total cumulative training of 48 hours. 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.

    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. 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 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

  • 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. (2016) Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, USA
  • Denis, J., J. Briant, & J. Hipeaux (2000) Lubricant Properties Analysis & Testing. Editions TECHNIP, Paris, France
  • Evans J.S., & Hunt T.M. (2008) Oil Analysis Handbook. Coxmoor Publishing Co., Longborough, England
  • Roylance, B., & T. Hunt (1999) The Wear Debris Analysis Handbook. Coxmoor Publishing, Oxford, UK
  • Toms, L.A., & Toms, A.M. (2008) Machinery Oil Analysis. Co-published by STLE, Park Ridge, Illinois, USA
  • Troyer, D., & J. Fitch (2010) Oil Analysis Basics. Noria Publishing, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

These references can be purchased from the following organizations:  

Barnes and Noble
Noria Corporation

MLA II Certification is valid for three years from the date of issue. Individuals certified as Machine Lubricant Analysts (MLA) 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 MLA II 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:

  • Lube related failure elimination and/or prevention activities
  • Lube procedure and best practices development
  • Lube program auditing tasks
  • Lube specification development
  • Lube related work management system development