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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed a code system called ISO Cleanliness codes. Its purpose is to provide a universal standard for measuring and reporting particulate contamination levels in fluids. The latest and most commonly used cleanliness code is ISO 4406:99. It is assigned on the basis of the number of particles per unit volume (ml) greater than 4, 6 and 14 µm. The numbers are given in this specific order for consistency in comparison. Each code represents a numerical range of particles present in a lubricant and each higher code is twice as many as the lower one before it.
In machine condition monitoring, the particle count provides the number of particles in ISO specified size ranges which are compared to the acceptable ISO Cleanliness code for that system. When the actual cleanliness level of a system is worse than the desired target, corrective action is recommended. There is a direct correlation between fluid cleanliness and component life. The LaserNet Fines provides cleanliness codes to ISO standards and it also classifies particles according to particle type such as cutting, sliding, fatigue, nonmetallic, fibers, water droplets and air bubbles.
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