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International Council for Machinery Lubrication Introduces Two Specialized Varnish Certifications

New VIM and VPR credentials will help maintenance teams identify and develop key players in the perpetual fight against varnish and deposits.

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) is pleased to announce the rollout of two new certifications this month. They are the Varnish and Deposit Identification and Measurement (VIM) certification, and the Varnish and Deposit Prevention and Removal (VPR) certification.

ICML's new, specialized VIM and VPR certifications focus strictly on machinery varnish and deposits

These certifications focus on the unique and persistent challenges presented by varnish and deposits, the mitigation of which comprises a specialized branch of machinery lubricant condition monitoring.

“We are all very excited about the launch of these two short varnish certifications,” said ICML Executive Director Leslie Fish. “Hearing from our partners in the field about the prevalence of lubricant degradation and the constant necessity for mitigation of varnish and deposits, it was important that we as an organization start working in a whole new way to meet the needs of the clients, by directly providing short certifications in every aspect of industry. VIM and VPR are the first such offerings, and they would not have been possible without the guidance and assistance from our varnish committee members.”

“It gives me immense pleasure as the VIM and VPR certifications are issued,” said Jatin Mehta of Fluitec, a member of ICML’s varnish test development committee. “We had many discussions and debates on which questions and topics to include. These will be of tremendous value to industry professionals.”

Andrés B. Lantos of Laboratorio Dr. Lantos in Argentina, another varnish committee member, said, “Aging of lubricants is inevitable, so the reliable approach is to manage varnish formation and removal. With these new varnish certifications, ICML can certify professionals ready to manage varnish issues and avoid equipment downtime for this cause.”

Both varnish certifications are designed to verify that practitioners in the fields of lubrication management, reliability engineering, and lube oil analysis (as applied to machinery lubricant condition monitoring and maintenance) are qualified to understand how various modes of lubricant degradation and types of contamination relate to the formation of lube-derived deposits.

ICML anticipates that VIM and VPR candidates will be those involved with all aspects of managing or advising lubricant programs with responsibility for recommending, selling, or installing appropriate deposit control equipment or other mitigation strategies. Job titles related to these functions would likely include Reliability Engineer, Operations Manager, Maintenance Manager, Root Cause Analysis Specialist, Filtration Specialist, Lube Distributor, Lube Sales, Laboratory Technician, Research Technologies, Data Analyst, etc.

VIM and VPR represent the culmination of three years of work by ICML’s varnish test development committee. As described in a January 2019 article, several practicing experts around the world—including Mehta and Lantos—volunteered their expertise to compile the varnish body of knowledge and build the initial bank of test questions. They eventually split the results into two separate certifications that could allow candidates even greater specialization by emphasizing different areas of expertise.

  • VIM seeks to verify that candidates can recommend suitable oil analysis tests and mitigation efforts related to the deposit tendencies of various in-service fluids (depending on applications) and to monitor and adjust as necessary.
  • VPR seeks to verify that candidates understand proactive methods and technologies that can be employed to reduce the degree of degradation, and that they can sufficiently evaluate combinations of technologies to prevent and remove varnish–including the proper steps to set up and implement an effective varnish removal system.

Candidates can prepare for these new exams by reviewing the VIM and VPR bodies of knowledge, which are publicly available on ICML’s website. Because these certifications are so specialized, their exams are considerably shorter than other ICML exams: only 25 questions each, to be completed within 45-minute sessions. Although there is no prerequisite to undergo formal training, every candidate must already hold at least MLA I or MLT I certification or have a one-year minimum of relevant experience with industrial lubricants.

Application for VIM and VPR exams opened on Monday, June 21. The exams will be available only in the English language for several months, with translations into additional languages during the latter part of 2021.

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