Reliability and cost savings for hydraulics and lubrication with Fluid Intelligence's Connected Oil® solutions

Mikko Oksanen, one of the founders of Fluid Intelligence and creator of the Connected Oil® solution. Photo: Kimmo Saira

Jyväskylä-based Fluid Intelligence's innovations enable hydraulic oil change intervals to be significantly extended or eliminated, resulting in significant cost savings for industry. The Connected Oil® solution also helps to avoid breakdowns and resulting downtime. Using the company's products is also an act of responsibility: by reducing the need for oil, the environment is saved and emissions are reduced. This concept is the first of its kind in the world.

Fluid Intelligence's vision is to change the way lubricating oils are used today. The Fluid Intelligence - Connected Oil® solution developed by the company monitors lubricant performance and also machine condition in real time.

Concept of regular oil changes sit tight

There is a common perception that oil changes are a time-dependent, essential maintenance task, but this is not the case. Lubricants cost heavy industry and logistics more than $200 billion a year and replacements generate huge quantities of waste oils, only a fraction of which are currently re-refined globally. Despite all this, machines break down and cause unnecessary downtimes and expenses.

"Our solutions have reduced our customers' lubricant consumption by at best 80%, which can amount to thousands of liters per year for even a small customer. So the savings, both financially and in terms of natural resources, are significant. Our solutions have also prevented breakdowns that would have caused long downtimes," says Mikko Oksanen, the company's founder.

Information technology combined with mechanical engineering

Fluid Intelligence was founded in 2016 when Mikko Oksanen and Viktor Laitinen realized that traditional oil sample-based condition monitoring was inefficient in critical assets and should be automated and performed remotely in real time.

"We concluded that the solution should be sufficiently cost-effective, simple to implement and good in every way for the end customer," Oksanen explains.

And so Fluid Intelligence, and the Connected Oil® solution, was born. The concept was the first of its kind in the world. Fluid Intelligence was joined by fellow entrepreneurs Mika Perttula from Helsinki and Eero Juustila from Oulu, as well as investors, and the solution was developed and marketed globally.

Fluid Eye® is synonymous with automated lubricant monitoring

The company's flagship product is Fluid Eye®, part of the Connected Oil® product family. In practice, it is an online service and remote customer monitoring system that provides up-to-the-minute information on lubricant performance.

"Both basic automated monitoring and an increasing number of remote monitoring systems are expected to be in increasing demand as we move to bio- and chemical-based lubricants. Their performance can change more rapidly than traditional mineral oil-based fluids, so they will require closer monitoring," says Oksanen.

Installation of the equipment is easy and no further investment is required.

"The sensor of the remote monitoring system is connected to the machine to be monitored and powered on. It works practically anywhere in the world with the right power plug. Once installed, the service starts sending oil performance data to Fluid Eye®, where the customer can see the oil performance and receive real-time actionable advice," Oksanen explains.

Real-time monitoring is in growing demand as maintenance accuracy and skill requirements are now high, with equipment becoming more accurate and sensitive. Whereas hydraulic clearances used to be half a millimetre, they are now a tenth of that.

"Lubrication is a big part of the production process - if even a little bit goes wrong, the whole process goes wrong and production stops," Oksanen recalls.

Automated calculation of carbon dioxide emissions from lubricating fluids

Fluid Intelligence has found that for an increasing number of customers, accurate calculation of the carbon dioxide emissions of lubricating fluids has become important enough to overcome the need for estimates based on general assumptions.

Fluid Intelligence's new Fluid Eye® online service allows customers to calculate the emissions of lubricants and simulate the evolution of their change intervals and other measures, as well as their CO2 emission impact.

"Our service makes it easy to calculate the current carbon footprint of your lubricants and explore alternative scenarios to verify how the measures have been affected over time," Oksanen continues.

Responsible export product

Fluid Intelligence has its sights set on the global market. The company's products are already in use in many countries, including India, Slovenia, Poland and Germany. For example, one of the most advanced field laboratories was supplied to a paper mill in central Europe. However, the majority of customers are still in Finland.

One reason to join the Chamber of Commerce is the export benefits.

"Membership of the Chamber of Commerce is important worldwide and serves as a guarantee of reliability," says Oksanen.

Networking, access to information and international services were also reasons for joining the Chamber.

"I also look forward to meeting other people working in business and hope to gain tacit knowledge about exporting," says Oksanen.