Condition monitoring is the process of determining the condition of machinery while in operation. The key to a successful condition monitoring programme includes:
- Knowing what to listen for
- How to interpret it
- When to put this knowledge to use
Successfully using this programme enables the repair of problem components prior to failure. Condition monitoring not only helps plant personnel reduce the possibility of catastrophic failure, but also allows them to order parts in advance, schedule manpower, and plan other repairs during the downtime.
Laser alignment, dynamic balancing and condition monitoring are essential components of a viable maintenance strategy for rotating machines. In isolation, each strategy helps to reduce unexpected machine failure but taken together they form the hub of a proactive maintenance strategy that will not only identify incipient problems but will extend machine operating life considerably.
Unscheduled downtime can cost thousands to millions of dollars per day. Fortunately, modern vibration analysis equipment and software predict developing problems so that repair happens before disaster strikes. While these sophisticated tools offer many automated features and capabilities, it still takes a basic understanding of vibration analysis to use them effectively. Plant maintenance schedules incorporating these practices also have fewer emergencies — and happier bosses due to the ROI.
If the returns on an investment on a CM programme are so good why doesn’t every plant have a system in operation? Most often the answer to this lies in a lack of understanding of what is required for CM on the plant, and on a fear that the cost of implementing a system and running it will be more than the return on cost that the system will realize.
A natural progression for United Bearings was to invest in our own in house Condition Monitoring program to assist customers in their CM program without them having to invest in tooling, training and Human resource. The first step was purchasing our own equipment, closely followed by the hiring of a trained, experienced technician to carry out the following services:
- Alignment – Misalignment can cause the bearing to suffer additional load, friction, and vibration; all of which can accelerate fatigue and reduce bearing life, as well as other machine components service life.
- Vibration Analysis – Abnormal vibrations are often the first indication of a potential machine failure. Conditions that can cause excessive unbalance are: misalignment, looseness of parts, & deteriorating rolling elements can
- Temperature Analysis – instrumentation such as contact and infrared thermometers can help find hot spots with abnormal temperatures, allowing further assessments to be carried out.
- Sound Analysis – Tools such as Stethoscopes, Leak Meters, & Ultrasonic Leak Detector all assist technicians in locating abnormal sounds from machines. Not only can excessive noise increase accidents, & loss of hearing, but it can also create a loss in productivity from worker fatigue.
- Visual Inspection – Due to the inherent difficulty of inspecting a machine while running, or the need to inspect internally, a Stroboscope can be used to visually freeze the motion to allow such things as fan blades, couplings, & belt drives to be inspected while running.
Sound predictive maintenance will help reduce machine downtime and decrease overall maintenance costs. To help you achieve this goal, UBEC proudly offers the full range of services. Please call or email for more information.