Benefits of Ultrasound for Condition Monitoring

June 20, 2017

May 2017 – Processing Magazine

This validated condition monitoring technology is versatile and inexpensive with a low learning curve.

Solving asset reliability issues becomes stymied when leadership is ambivalent about the benefits of adopting multiple technologies for condition monitoring (CM). When they do adopt them, they quickly learn technologies alone are not enough without the manpower to deploy them. One colleague stoically relayed his frustration when he said, “There are never enough of us (manpower), but there are more of them (problems) every day.”

Monitoring asset condition cannot be carried out effectively with only one CM technology, yet many maintenance departments rely predominantly on data from “just vibration” or “just oil analysis,” for example. More than one failure mode threatens asset health, and not every symptom is detectable by the same method. Some organizations have a strong vibration program but not anything more. Others may see clearly with infrared thermal imaging but lack a good oil analysis solution. A broader focus nets greater results.

Implementing several CM technologies is practical but often restricted by available manpower, budget and lack of conviction from all departments. If this is your plant’s reality, perhaps start with the most versatile technology — the one that detects the most defects — with the shortest learning curve. Choose ultrasound first and build a program on that foundation.

Read my entire article to learn about Benefits of Ultrasound, Reliability & Operational Excellence and Where is Ultrasound Useful?

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Are You Wasting Time and Money on Quick Repairs?

June 13, 2017
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Comments that I have heard in all types of industry are “We always have the time or money to do the repair over, but never time or money to do it right”.  Many times when equipment fails there is an incredible rush to get the machine back online due to some production requirement. This usually leads to repairs that are inadequate or incomplete.  It is important to remember that as long as your lock is on the machine it is not going to go back into service until you remove that lock. It could take as little as an additional 30 minutes to allow the machine to be repaired completely, but instead the job is rushed and a few weeks or a couple of months later the same machine is being repaired for the same reasons again.  Production controls the purse strings that is a given, but generally product quality and maintenance cost can be better controlled by allowing for a complete repair not a partial fix. A couple of examples that come to mind are on belt driven machines. Many repair techs simply roll V-belts on and off for removal or installation. Have you ever noticed a V-belt running upside down? In most cases it is due to the cords in the backing of the belt being broken. This is usually caused from rolling the belts on or off the sheave.  If “power band belts” are used the cost of those belts are usually higher than the sheaves that the belts are running on. It is a paradox that brand new belts will be installed on worn out sheaves. When the sheaves are replaced most of the sheaves are affixed to the shaft with a taper lock hub. How many people use an indicator to ensure that the sheaves are square to the shaft and not just tighten the hub with an impact wrench?  There are others examples, but hopefully this drives the point home.  Repairs need to be done in a timely fashion in cooperation with production to minimize downtime and reduce any effects on quality.

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Ultrasound Success Story on a Commercial Aircraft

June 6, 2017

Problem:
Maintenance had no way of diagnosing if a hydraulic actuator had failed or not. On commercial aircraft, actuators are used to move many important pieces of the aircraft (A/C). If an actuator was thought to be at fault, the engineers would order replacement of ALL of the actuators in the region of the fault. This would cost several days of maintenance man hours, lost A/C revenue and the removal and replacement of parts that work fine.

Solution:
Use the SDT270 ultrasound detector with the RS-1 contact probe to listen to each of the actuators. By comparing the sounds of working actuators to failed actuators, the maintenance staff was able to remove and replace the ones that are truly broken.

Result:
Problems found in minutes versus days. Maintenance staff was extremely happy to have a new tool which could point to the source of the problem so quickly.

Special thanks for Karl Hoffower from Failure Prevention Associates, LLC. for sharing this success story with us!

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6 Things You Need To Know About Air Leaks

May 30, 2017

Compressed air is one of the three highest cost utilities in use at your plant. It is also one of the least maintained in terms of system leaks. Leaks are expensive and wasteful, but most often ignored.

Finding and fixing leaks is an easy way to reduce energy costs but finding them is not easy because of background noise.

  1. Why we don’t find and fix air leaks?
    Leaks are often considered an unavoidable cost of business. Many of us simply don’t realize the high cost of compressed air leaks.
  2. Air leaks cost you real money
    Compressed air leaks are one of the leading expenses in the industrial world to this day. Leaks are a source of wasted energy, but they also contribute to other operating losses.
  3. How much air is being wasted?
    Air leaks are wasted energy. An industrial compressed air system loses up to 40% of its compressor’s output to leaks if left unchecked.
  4. The best way to find leaks
    SDT’s ultrasound technology provides you with the ability to check vast areas for air leaks quickly and effectively. The SDT270 hears high frequency sounds created by leaks, while ignoring low frequency plant noise.
  5. How to fix compressed air leaks
    Finding the leaks presents a solution to the problem. But only fixing the leaks nets cost and energy savings. Without a follow-up to ensure found leaks were actually fixed, leak detection is just another expense.
  6. Air leak prevention program
    Implementing an Air Leak Prevention Program into your facility is essential for energy and cost savings. Proactive leak detection and good organization will reduce leaks to 10% or less of system demand.

Download our Leak Surveyors Handbook

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Has your Equipment Been Condemned to Death? Bearing Storage Part 2 of 2

May 23, 2017

Bearings are a critical part of the design and function of most mechanical equipment. The majority of bearings never reach their intended design life due to improper selection, storage and installation. Unfortunately, this results in compromised equipment operation, lost capacity and increased costs. Do not condemn your equipment to death through improper bearing storage practices. Below are a few storage tips to help your facility ensure bearing reliability:

  • Store bearings in a clean, dry and low humidity environment (moisture from environment, gloves, etc can result in corrosion and/or etched sections creating fatigue on the bearing.) Avoid storage near direct sunlight, air conditioners or vents.
  • Eliminate shock/vibration.
  • Do not store bearings on the floor (will introduce contamination, moisture and vibration/shock.)
  • Store bearings on a pallet or shelf in an area not subjected to high humidity or either sudden or severe environmental changes.
  • Store bearings flat and do not stack them (lubrication and anti-corrosion material may squeeze out.)
  • Do not remove bearings from carton/crate or protective wrappings until just prior to installation in the machine (be careful of bearings in wooden crates as these could attract moisture – perhaps best to remove them from those cases.)
  • Do not clean bearings with cotton or similar materials that can leave dust and/or contamination behind (use lint free materials.)
  • Do not handle bearings with dirty, oily or moist hands.
  • Do not nick or scratch bearing surfaces.
  • Always lay bearings on clean, dry paper when handling.
  • Keep bearings away from sources of magnetism.
  • Do not remove any lubrication from a new bearing.
  • Lubricant in stored bearings will deteriorate overtime. The bearing manufacturer should specify shelf-life limits. These dates should be noted on the packaging and monitored to help ensure bearings are fit for use when needed.
  • The following visual inspections of bearing integrity should be completed periodically and just prior to use:
    • Examine packaging for indications that the bearing could have been damaged during shipment or storage. The bearing should be discarded or returned to the supplier if signs of damage are found.
    • Examine the grease or oil for evidence of hardening, caking, discoloration, separation, etc. Re-lubrication for continued storage or replacement maybe required.

Miss Part 1 of 2? Here it is: Has your Equipment Been Condemned to Death? Proper Lubrication

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