6 Signs your Lubrication Program is on Track

May 22, 2018

1. A Change in the Quantity of Grease Consumed
Maintenance departments track their grease consumption to monitor and control costs. A change in consumption is a sure sign that your lubrication program is on the right track.

Most organizations are guilty of over-lubricating. Expect lower grease consumption as your program matures. Bad procedures lead to bearings routinely receiving more grease than they’re designed to handle. The excess ends up being pushed into the motor casing or purged onto the floor.

Over lubrication happens when re-greasing intervals are scheduled based on time instead of condition. Control lubrication tasks with ultrasound to monitor condition and maintain optimal friction. The time between greasing intervals increases, resulting in less grease used per bearing.

2. Fewer Lube-Related Failures
Do you track failures and perform root cause analysis?

Organizations with optimized greasing programs experience fewer lube-related failures. Less fixing and fire-fighting translates to more creative time for maintenance. Use that time to bring more machines into the greasing program.

Additionally, with ultrasound you find many non-trendable defects. For example, broken or blocked grease pipes and incorrectly fitted grease paths prevent grease from reaching the bearing.

3. Optimized MRO Spares Management
Your new and improved lubrication program is delivering wins; better control of grease consumption, fewer failures, and more productivity for maintenance. Use this time to study trends and better manage your storeroom.

A decrease in bearing related failures improves spares optimization. Share your ultrasonic lubrication data with your MRO Stores manager to create a plan to reduce the number of emergency parts on hand.

Since you’re taking stock, why not shift some burden to your suppliers? Ask them to confirm your emergency parts against their own stock. If it can be supplied on the same day then it doesn’t need to be on the balance sheet.

4. Increased Number of Machines Monitored
One benefit of an effective lubrication program is time.

• Time allotted to monitoring machines instead of fixing them.
• Time allotted to correctly assessing the real needs for lubrication.
• Time to look at the big picture.

Take for instance, criticality assessment. Many lubrication programs begin with small steps. All the “A” critical machines receive priority, rightly so. But what about the rest? With more time to plan, organize, and schedule, the number of machines acoustically monitored for optimal lubrication increases.

5. Save Time. Combine Acoustic Lubrication and Condition Monitoring
You worked hard for these results. It’s time to use your data for more than just lubrication.

Acoustic lubrication is the proven method to ensure precise bearing lubrication. New technology from SDT, LUBExpert, combines the power of on-board lubrication guidance with Four Condition Indicators for bearing condition assessment.

The time savings from assessing bearing condition during the lubrication process is beyond valuable and another sign your acoustic lubrication program is on the right track.

6. Inspector Confidence at an All-Time High
Reliable machines are the product of an effective lubrication program. You have:
• Managed grease consumption
• Fewer grease related bearing failures
• Optimized MRO spares
• More machines under watch
• Increased data collection intervals

The power of adding ultrasound to your greasing program delivers win after win for reliability. Reliability breeds confidence. More confident inspectors making the right calls and infecting a positive culture throughout the organization.



How Long Does it Take to do a Machinery Alignment ?

May 15, 2018

In the 35+ years of experience that LUDECA has in shaft alignment, we have been asked this question many times. How long does it take to do an alignment? People in charge of scheduling have a tough task when allotting time for technicians to do an alignment with precision. In many cases they may just take a guess, based on the average time it has taken in the past. The answer is not so simple. During a one-day seminar, I had to perform an alignment on a motor to a pump to show the proper steps when aligning a machine. When the time came to start the alignment, all the safety procedures had been taken care of, and the machine had been rough aligned. The soft foot values were within tolerances. So I was able to align the machine in under 45 minutes, within the tolerances specified for 1200 RPM.

On another occasion, I was hired to help align a generator to a turbine. Quite a few things went right as well. The safety procedures had been taken care of by the time I got there. The coupling guard and coupling element had been removed. The machine had also been rough aligned. The special-order shims for the generator feet were available on-site. Even with all these things going my way, this alignment took a day and a half to finish. There are things that come up during an alignment that cannot be planned for. One of them is a soft foot condition. Not checking for soft foot can greatly increase the time it takes to align a machine, mainly because the response to corrections stipulated by your alignment tool will not be accurate. Therefore, knowing the soft foot condition and minimizing it, is key. However, that in itself can take up a long time, depending on the condition of the baseplate, the condition of the anchor bolts, washer, pipe stress, etc.

In both cases, they were a single coupling alignment. Aligning a large generator is obviously more difficult than a 200HP motor. In the first case, I was able to turn the motor with a strap wrench by myself. In the case of the generator, it needed to be uncoupled because the two machines could not be turned together. In most cases, a larger machine takes longer to align because breaking the bolts loose, alone, could take 20 to 30 minutes. Furthermore, there can be a large difference in the amount of time it takes to finish an alignment, between two identical machines sets. The information obtained here can help reduce the alignment time.

I recommend to download our 5-Step Shaft Alignment Procedure and/or request our Shaft Alignment Fundamentals Wallchart for your alignment team. The point is that there is no fixed amount of time required for an alignment of a machine. If a scheduler should err, it should always be on the conservative side.


What it Takes to be Successful at Balancing

May 8, 2018

Just what does it take to be successful at balancing?  Let’s start with some basics. First you need to have an understanding of the balancing process, next nomenclature: is it unbalance, imbalance, out of balance, or what? Use a consistent description and stick with it. Next, think about what the source of unbalance could be: is it uneven wear on parts? Voids within castings? Damage from impacting? Material buildup? Even though buildup is not usually a problem, when it begins to come off it rarely does so evenly thus creating an unbalance. In other words, unbalance is simply the uneven distribution of mass.

Simply review or collect data to ensure that the undesirable vibration is from unbalance and not some other issue such as a belt problem, misalignment, electrical issue, etc. Once you’ve determined that the vibration is indeed unbalance you need to inspect the object to be balanced. If it is not clean, clean it. Look for damaged or broken parts. On belt driven equipment inspect the belts as their frequency can be very close to running speed and can hinder the balance job. Make sure you have the proper tools for doing the balancing job, such as a balancing instrument capable of reading the vibration that is produced at running speed or what is commonly referred to as 1×or 1 times and capable of indicating the phase angle at 1×.  This could involve utilizing an optical tachometer, laser tachometer, magnetic pickup or even a stroboscope. Some tachometers will require a piece of reflective tape on the shaft for the tachometer to read from and this might require stopping the machine if still in service.

Tip: I try to place the tape horizontally, or along the axis of the shaft, with the leading edge of the tape on the trailing edge of the key way. This can be helpful if you ever have to return for another balancing job on the same machine.  You need to determine if you will be adding or removing material in order to balance the rotating component. If removing material, how will you determine how much you’ve removed;if adding weight, you need to make sure the weight you are adding is of a material that is compatible with the service the machine is exposed to. If adding material “weights”, how will they be attached? With set screws? Bolts? Clamps? Welded on? All this should be considered. One last tip: if after two runs you’re not there or almost there yet, you might need to stop and examine your process to ensure no mistakes have been made.

Download LUDECA’s 5-Step Balancing Procedure.

Comments Off on What it Takes to be Successful at Balancing

LUBExpert Wins Gold! Plant Engineering’s Maintenance Tools & Equipment Product of the Year

May 2, 2018

Plant Engineering, celebrating its 30th anniversary of the Product of the Year award program, announced the results for the 2017 entrants. SDT’s innovative LUBExpert, an ultrasound solution designed to help grease bearings right, was awarded the GOLD medal! The award is remarkable considering the excellent company of peers in the running for Silver and Bronze.

Alex Nino of LUDECA, was on hand at the award ceremony, and looked marvelous! LUDECA is the exclusive distribution partner for SDT Ultrasound Solutions in the USA and were instrumental in architecting this recognition. Chosen from numerous submissions from around the world, Plant Engineering subscribers reviewed and voted on the finalists. LUBExpert received the most votes for this 30th anniversary Grand Award. Congratulations to LUDECA, SDT, and LUBExpert for the GOLD.

Poor greasing practices is a leading cause of bearing failure. LUBExpert is an ultrasound solution designed to precisely guide lube-techs during the lubrication replenishment process. It helps avoid over and under lubrication, while instructing the technician on which grease types, grease guns, grease quantities, and replenishment intervals to use. LUBExpert’s intelligence lends confidence to the task of grease replenishment and is a true innovation for ultrasound technology.

Winning GOLD validates our decision to work with industry leaders such as SDT,” states Ana Maria Delgado, Marketing Manager at LUDECA. “The LUBExpert compliments our full line of predictive and proactive solutions. Its clever innovation supports the leadership position of all our solutions.”

LUDECA is the premier provider of reliability solutions to USA industry. Their years of experience and wealth of knowledge make it possible to offer the very best service and support to their customers. Their commitment here strengthens their reputation as the very best in our fields. SDT is delighted to be aligned with LUDECA. Our companies share the same principles, philosophies, and values.

About SDT
SDT provides ultrasound solutions that help our customers gain a better understanding about the health of their factory. We help them anticipate failures, control energy costs, and improve product quality while contributing to the overall reliability of their assets.

Comments Off on LUBExpert Wins Gold! Plant Engineering’s Maintenance Tools & Equipment Product of the Year

Where Should I Place My Ultrasound Sensor on a Gearbox?

May 1, 2018

A proven method to assess gearbox condition is to collect a DYNAMIC ultrasound signal. If possible, you want to capture at least 3-5 revolutions of the gearbox. From there, analysis is straightforward. Use Ultranalysis (UAS2) software to view the signal in the time waveform and spectrum displays. Use the software’s many analysis tools to determine the exact nature of any defects. Just remember these three keys for successful ultrasonic condition monitoring.

1. Collect the best data you can, using a high quality ultrasonic data collector.
2. Consistent sensor placement must fundamentally be observed.

Figure 1 – Time waveform and Ultrasonic Enveloping Power Spectrum of a damaged gearbox from SDT270 and UAS

3. Identifying boundaries that impact data transmission is imperative.

Ultrasound is Shy… It Keeps Boundaries
Think of ultrasound as the quiet introvert. It prefers to stay in, and rarely mixes well with ultrasounds from other places. We call this “boundary behavior” and it’s another characteristic that makes ultrasound such an attractive condition monitoring technology. Ultrasound signals remain isolated to their source, making it easy to pinpoint defects without interference from other elements of the machine.

Sensor Placement
Inspectors tempted to place their ultrasound sensor directly on the gearbox cover, should reconsider. This common mistake affects data integrity. A gasket seals the cover plate to the gearbox housing. The specific acoustic impedance of the gasket material differs greatly from the cast metal of the gearbox. The change in materials a boundary barrier through which bashful ultrasound is reluctant to is pass. A better option is to place the sensor on a bolt head, which is directly connected to the gearbox housing. The result is crystal clear ultrasound signals for listening, trending, and condition assessment. HearMore: Click here to listen to Damaged Gearbox.

Figure 2 – Place sensor on bolt head










Special thanks to our partner Allan Rienstra from SDT Ultrasound Solutions for sharing his great knowledge with us!

Comments Off on Where Should I Place My Ultrasound Sensor on a Gearbox?