Vibration Measurement and Analysis to Circumvent Machine Failure: The Only Logical Choice

Vibration Measurement and Analysis to Circumvent Machine Failure: The Only Logical Choice
Author: Kris Deckers, Technical Officer, I-care Group
Date Posted: 04.04.22

For decades after the industrial revolution transformed the way goods were produced, facility leaders had a “run-to-failure” mentality in plant maintenance. At the time, machinery was large, slow running, and rugged, with basic control systems and instrumentation. Furthermore, the demands of production were not as onerous as they are today, and delays caused by downtime were less expensive and better tolerated by customers.

As the equipment became more sophisticated, unplanned downtime evolved into a potential killer of profitability and competitive advantage. Consequently, identifying and repairing deteriorating equipment components became mission-critical. Vibration analysis was an effective way of identifying impending trouble.

However, in the ensuing decades, the development of alternative approaches, such as motor current analysis,  caused some organizational leaders to doubt whether vibration monitoring and analysis were still as valuable as in previous decades. At I-care, we are confident the answer to that question is “Yes.”

After Decades of Work in This Area, the Experts at I-care are Certain Vibration Measurement Analysis is the Most Appropriate Choice

The hard truth is that many potentially critical mechanical problems, such as bearing defects (which are often amplified by resonance), are only directly visible through vibration monitoring and analysis. Why is this so? Here’s the short answer.

All rotating equipment vibrates, and as components begin to deteriorate or reach the end of their serviceable life, they vibrate more and in different ways. By monitoring and analyzing vibrations, qualified technicians can identify the recognized failure-mode indicators of wear and tear. This also enables them to assess the potential for future damage, if the condition were to continue before the problem is beyond repair.

Key components for which vibration monitoring and analysis can detect problems include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Misalignment of major machine components such as shafts, as well as bent shafts;
  • Bearing damage such as fatigue, cracks, and overheating due to inadequate lubrication and other problems from inadequate maintenance;
  • Loose bolts, mounts, fasteners, and other equipment components.

Modern vibration monitoring gives organizations the raw information to gain a complete “snapshot” of what is happening with the machines in an industrial facility. Of course, for this information to be most effectively utilized, the individual analyzing the data should be a seasoned professional that understands not only the basic principles of vibration analysis and failure modes but also how to apply them and make practical decisions.

There are other important aspects of collecting and analyzing vibration data that ensure maintenance engineers collect the complete data set. The experts at I-care — who include not only data scientists but also field-seasoned technicians with deep expertise in vibration analysis and machine reliability — recently developed a scholarly paper on this topic. It digs more deeply into vibration analysis and how it can be applied to achieve maximum machine reliability.

To access your copy of the paper, Vibration Monitoring and Analysis: The Cornerstone of Successful Predictive Maintenance, click here.

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