The importance of proper sensor installation when performing vibration analysis

May 17, 2016

Guest post by Karl Hoffower – Condition Monitoring and Reliability Expert for Failure Prevention Associates

Location and placement of your sensors are crucially important when doing predictive vibration analysis.

1) Below is an example of proper sensor installation on a cooling tower gearbox. These two sensors are placed in different directions to follow both the gearbox vibration as well as indicate if the fan blades become unbalanced.

Read Vibration Sensors for Cooling Towers case study from CTC for details on proper sensor installation on cooling towers.

2) This example of poor sensor placement is on a vertical motor using a belt drive for a fin fan.


  • The vibration sensors pictured on the left are attached to one of  the motor fins. Watching these sensors, one could visually see the fin and sensors oscillating as if on a trampoline.


  • The choices are to face, drill & tap  (see figure #4 below).
  • The other option would be to epoxy a mounting pad to the bearing housings. Then screw the sensor into the mounting pad.



3) Another example of poor sensor placement on a 4-20mA shutdown switch on a gas recipient compressor at a facility in Texas.


  • The vibration sensor (yellow arrow) is a 4-20mA accelerometer used for asset protection in an automatic shutdown setting. It is monitoring the overall vibration levels emanating from the bearings and shaft (red arrow).


  • The better choice would be to use a mounting pad attached to the pillow block bearing.


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10 steps to an effective and enduring airborne ultrasound program

May 10, 2016


  1. Assemble a team and identify applications for a program
  2. Justify needs by recognizing key areas where improvement can be benchmarked
  3. Set written goals for the program
  4. Establish how ROI will be measured
  5. Purchase quality ultrasonic inspection equipment
  6. Invest in certification training at both management and user levels
  7. Choose a leader to technically carry the program forward
  8. Establish a system to reward the successes
  9. Frequently review the progress as part of regular meetings
  10. Ensure everyone involved is 100% mentally invested in the program’s success

Tip from Hear More: A Guide to Using Ultrasound for Leak Detection and Condition Monitoring by Thomas J. Murphy and Allan R. Rienstra.

To learn more about airborne ultrasound, download a chapter preview of Hear More.

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Maintenance staff usually travel in pairs!

April 26, 2016

Does your maintenance staff have to wait on parts, wait for the equipment to be available, search for tools to do their job, work lots of overtime, travel long distances to the job, etc? Most maintenance staff work in pairs.  This means that when you see one of your maintenance staff struggling to do his job, then his counterpart is struggling as well. What is the result?  You may have a hidden cost (twice the labor) that you did not realize!

What can you do to avoid this?  Make sure that your work is correctly planned.  Job plans should be created, and be accurate and available.  The required parts should be staged once the work is planned.  Machine drawings, special tools, permits, etc., required to complete the maintenance activity should be identified in the job plan and be available as part of the job kit.  Once all of this is done the work should be scheduled.  These steps will help your maintenance staff focus on work and not on searching for the resources they need to complete their assigned maintenance tasks. You will save money and have more reliable equipment.

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LUDECA announces exclusive Alignment & Ultrasound partnerships

April 19, 2016

LUDECA is excited to announce two new partnerships: In order to improve and diversify our product offerings, we developed an exclusive partnership with the prestigious Swedish manufacturer, EASY-LASER, to promote and sell the next generation of precise, easy-to-use laser systems for solutions that evolve with our industry. Secondly, we have partnered with the global ultrasound technology leader, SDT Ultrasound Solutions, to bring our customers yet another best-in-class product line for leak and fault detection, and optimized bearing lubrication.

These partnerships will equip the most forward-thinking Solutions Provider with the most forward-thinking products available. For our customers, this means that they can rely on a best-in-class approach to alignment, vibration, ultrasound and condition monitoring systems built upon decades of industry leading knowledge, experience and technology.

As our company evolves, so will our Service Center. Located in Doral, Florida, we now calibrate and service EASY-LASER and SDT Products and continue to perform NIST traceable calibrations and service for Pruftechnik alignment and vibration products. Our principal goal is to support you, our customer.

In addition to our new EASY-LASER and SDT products, we still sell alignment and condition monitoring systems by Pruftechnik. We also provide technical support and training for any system which you purchase from us as well as loaners, equipment rentals and field services. As an SMRP and MSAT approved provider, all of our 3- and 4-day training courses are mapped to the SMRP’s Equipment Reliability Body of Knowledge and UPTIME® ELEMENTS™ for continuing education credits.

LUDECA Who We Are video

We look forward to serving your maintenance and reliability needs. Keep it running.

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Avoid these 3 mistakes when greasing bearings

April 12, 2016

Friction is all around us. Without it we would have difficulty to walk, run, or even stand. We need friction to drive our cars and fly our airplanes; and we need friction for our motors to drive pumps and our pumps to push product. So when it comes to our plant assets, friction is both friend and foe.

Lubrication of rolling element bearings is one of the most misunderstood tasks in industry. Can it be true that 40% of bearings never live to their engineered life cycle and bad lubrication practices are a leading cause?

To achieve optimal lubrication we must know:

  • When a bearing needs new grease
  • What quantity of new grease is required
  • And how much is TOO MUCH!

Acoustic Lubrication with ultrasound testing is the technology of choice for Lube-Techs who want to avoid these three common mistakes:

Three Mistakes to Avoid When Lubricating Bearings:

  1. Lubricating based on TIME instead of CONDITION
  2. Over or under lubricating the bearing
  3. Using low quality “Listen-only” ultrasound instruments

To Hear More about implementing a world-class ultrasound greasing program, download Ultrasound Lube Technician Handbook.

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PM’s can be costly!

April 5, 2016

Did you know that equipment PM’s (Preventive Maintenance) tend to become more expensive over time?  Why does this happen?  For example additional maintenance steps tend to be added to a PM as time passes.  The machine configuration (design installation) changes and the PM’s are never updated to reflect these modifications.  Some PM’s are not written correctly in the first place.  All of this means that unnecessary maintenance is performed on your machines costing a lot of resources and money for a very long time. These are just some of the reasons PM’s can be costly.

RCM and FMEA functions usually cost more money up front and tend to be avoided as a result.  However these functions can clearly identify what maintenance actions should be performed on equipment and guide you to steps that will avoid maintenance issues. Condition Monitoring is another tool that works directly with RCM and FMEA functions to reduce PM activities and drive better equipment performance and reliability.  These activities may cost more up front versus a PM, but will be much more cost effective in the long run.

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