Using Ultrasound Technology for Acoustic Bearing Lubrication Monitoring

March 14, 2017

Bearings produce less friction when they are properly lubricated. But how do we know?

  • How can you be confident that friction forces are where they should be?
  • How can you confidently apply just the right amount of grease to return friction levels to normal?
  • How can you distinguish between a bearing that need grease and a bearing that is failing?

How does Ultrasound help?

Using an ultrasound measurement tool with digital decibel metering is a proven method for:

  • Establishing a historical baseline for friction levels
  • Monitoring changes in friction levels at regular intervals
  • Triggering alarms when friction levels elevate
  • Evaluating data to differentiate failure from friction

Our Ultrasound solutions are designed for budget minded inspectors. However attention to detail, robustness, and quality have not been sacrificed at the expense of low price. Equipped with needle and threaded contact sensors, acoustic lube adapter, and multi-surface magnet, our SDT systems answer the basic needs of lubricators. The non-contact temperature sensor can be used for additional control of bearing condition prior to and after lubrication.

Download Ultrasound Lubrication Technician Handbook

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Uncover Hidden Savings and Opportunities in your Belt-Driven Machines

March 7, 2017

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Reposted from EASY-LASER® blog

Are you the type of person who, going by the principle of “We’ve always done it this way, and it’s worked well”, continues to use a ruler or a piece of string to align your sheaves/pulleys? If so, you can definitely save some money, by reading this.

It is a common misconception that it doesn’t matter whether you align your pulleys or not. The belt is flexible, and can handle it, right? And if a belt or sheave becomes worn, it is easy to just replace it. But what you might not be considering is that the cost of energy is greater than the cost of buying new spare parts such as bearings, belts and pulleys. Studies have shown that with correct alignment it is possible to improve the efficiency of your belt drive saving you from 5 to 20% of your energy costs. This can quickly add up to significant amounts, particularly if your enterprise has tens or even hundreds of belt-driven machines.

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Offset and angular alignment errors entail reduced efficiency and greater wear.

CONSEQUENCES OF GOOD AND POOR BELT ALIGNMENT
Poor alignment or incorrect installation are the most common causes of abnormal wear of sheaves and pulleys. On the other hand, increased productivity, fewer unplanned operational stoppages and reduced energy consumption are the result of well-aligned machines. In the long run, this is also positive for the environment. By aligning your belt-driven machines, you also reduce vibration that harms the machine and adversely affect the working environment.

One consequence of poorly aligned belt drives that is often overlooked is that incorrectly aligned or improperly tensioned belts can result in abnormal temperatures, caused by the belt’s friction against the pulley. Excessively high temperatures will cause the belts to harden, resulting in cracking. A toothed belt can lose teeth, leading to slipping and efficiency loss. Strong heat sources in the vicinity also affect belts negatively. A thermal camera can help to indicate potential abnormal temperatures.

Poor alignment or incorrect installation are the most common causes of abnormal wear of belts and sheaves

Poor alignment or incorrect installation are the most common causes of abnormal wear of belts and sheaves.

WHERE DO I START?
Many belt manufacturers advocate preventive maintenance in order to avoid unforeseen stoppages. A scheduled operational stoppage is obviously more efficient and less costly than an emergency repair on a failed drive. However, having a maintenance program for your belt drives can also be efficient. There are a number of factors that determine how often you should perform preventive maintenance. Start by classifying your machines in these ways:

  • How critical the machines are for your operation.
  • The rotational speed of the machine.
  • The drive’s impact on the environment.
  • The current status of the drive (i.e., condition/quality of the belts and pulleys.)

When you have done this, you will be in a better position to know how to prioritize your maintenance work.

Start by prioritizing which machines are most important for your operation.

Start by prioritizing which machines are most important for your operation.

You should also think about the following:

  • First and foremost, it is worth thinking about keeping the area around the machine free of dirt and debris, and ensure that the base is in good condition.
  • It is important for the person carrying out the maintenance to have the correct training and equipment to carry out the work satisfactorily. A laser pulley alignment tool is highly recommended.
  • Check the machine manufacturer’s specifications regarding how to set up you machine correctly. Write this down so that it is easily accessible the next time maintenance is to be performed. This saves time.
  • Check the belt manufacturer’s suggested belt tension values. A spring gauge to measure belt tension is an essential item in the aligner’s toolkit.
  • Mixing different belt types or brands is not recommended.
  • If the transmission has several belts abreast, all the belts should be replaced together, even if only one is found to be defective.
  • Measuring energy consumption before and after alignment is a simple way of verifying that you are now saving money.
  • Listen to and look at the machine. If you suspect that anything is abnormal, you should investigate this. You should look out for unusual and abnormal wear or damage.
  • Inspections should be performed frequently, perhaps as often as once a month.
  • In addition, preventive maintenance should be performed at 6 to 12 month intervals.
  • Follow the belt manufacturer’s instructions when replacing belts. Make sure that you also store belts correctly: don’t hang them, coil them flat! (Belts are a perishable product!)

Click here for examples of how much you can save by having your belt drives correctly aligned.

If you are ready to start improving the efficiency of your belts and sheaves, find the tool that best fits your needs.

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“Not Me”: A Challenge for many Reliability Professionals

February 28, 2017

Reliability professionals face a lot of challenges in their profession and deserve a lot of credit for the positive impact they have within an organization. Your efforts provide a greater return on deployed assets by reducing risk, unscheduled downtime and cost while helping to improve capacity, quality, safety and other factors.

As much credit as reliability professionals deserve, one individual stands above them all for his influence within a company and never receives just recognition. Not everyone is aware of the impact he has on our daily lives. Who is this person, you ask? Well, let me introduce him to you. His name is “Not Me”. Do you know him?

“Not Me” is the most dedicated employee in your company. He always arrives early, leaves late, works weekends and holidays, and never complains. He sure does get around! He works in your company and lives in your home. Spouses, children, coworkers and politicians eagerly give him responsibility for the things that happen.

If you don’t believe me, just walk around and ask people who were responsible for something. “Who created that safety issue by leaving the fork truck running when not in use and with the forks raised at eye level?” “Who left a tripping hazard in that walk way so someone could get injured?” “Who traversed that walk way, noticed the tripping hazard and yet did nothing about it so an injury could be prevented?” “Who noticed a coworker not wearing proper PPE and said nothing to prevent them from being injured?” “Who broke that toy, cracked that window at home and put the dent in your new expensive car?” “Not Me” is ready to take full responsibility for each of those actions and many others.

Who is responsible for the improper design and installation on that critical machine that has resulted in a lot of unnecessary downtime and cost for your company? Who is responsible for ensuring that maintenance workers repairing that machine are properly trained, have proper tools, are given adequate time, and are provided parts and a well written job plan? “Not Me” is responsible for it all.

Stop giving “Not Me” credit that he does not deserve for the things that are done. Remember, that by giving him so much credit we prevent ourselves, others and our company from learning and improving. We should start taking responsibility for our actions and ask others to do the same. Ask “Not Me” to find a different job and role in your company and life.

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Ultrasonic Signature can Provide early Warning of Mechanical Failure

February 21, 2017

Rotating equipment produces a sound (ultrasonic) signature during operation. This signature can be measured and trended over time. As the machine components begin to fail a change in the ultrasonic signature will occur. The change in sound level can be used to alarm that could be related to lubrication or bearing damage. A key factor to using an ultrasound tool successfully to determine machine health is collecting the measurements at the same location every time. The first step is to identify a measurement test point for each bearing to be monitored. One method for data collection is to use a magnet that should be attached to a metal pad epoxied to the measurement location. The use of a magnet and mounting pad will allow for repeatable and consistent data for accurate trending and alarming. If access to measurement locations is restricted, then a sensor can be permanently installed so that measurements can be taken remotely. Ultrasound is an extremely valuable tool which can be used to detect bearing problems with slow speed applications.

Ultrasound is an important part of any reliability based condition monitoring program and can provide early warning of mechanical failure. This early warning can lead to reduced downtime and increased plant reliability.

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Easy-Laser® AB Wins Global Design Award for XT11 Alignment Computer

February 14, 2017

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Reposted from EASY-LASER® blog

Easy-Laser® has been awarded the iF DESIGN AWARD 2017 for their design of a display unit for laser-based measurement equipment.

The display unit, XT11, won the Industry/Skilled Trades category and is part of a completely new concept within laser alignment, which was launched last year.

Rustan Karlsson, Head of Marketing at Easy-Laser®, states: “The award is an acknowledgement of the hard work that we have put into our next generation of products to make them even more user-friendly and attractive, in a way that is right for our users and our brand. Within our industry, it is like winning an Oscar!”

He continues: “The work really started three years ago, when our design office, Shift Design & Strategy, identified what Easy-Laser® stands for and developed a design guide. Together with our own engineers, they defined what has now been acknowledged by the iF DESIGN AWARD. It feels great to have won it, especially with the product launches ahead of us.”

The iF DESIGN AWARD is one of the world’s most prestigious competitions. The entries are assessed by a jury of 58 professional designers from around the world. This year’s competition was tough, with over 5500 entries from 59 countries.

Learn more and download the brochure of the award-winning Easy-Laser® XT11 display unit featured in the XT440 shaft alignment system.

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