Why should you rethink overall vibration monitoring?

October 11, 2016

As Published by Maintenance Technology Magazine August 2016 issue

Clinging to a single approach that made economic sense for your plant ‘back in the day’ could be an expensive strategy.”

Overall values are the most common measurements and calculations used in vibration analysis. What’s more, some reliability and maintenance programs rely solely on them. The goal is to remove monitored equipment from service once the overall vibration level exceeds a certain threshold. Although this approach would appear to be quite cost effective, in reality it frequently isn’t. In fact, overall vibration monitoring can become extremely costly for a facility.

If you are asking yourself questions such as: What should you do once an overall vibration level exceeds your target amplitude and the equipment is removed from service?, Who should collect routine vibration data?, What other valuable condition-monitoring data might be missing? Or how do you motivate others to take corrective actions?, then this article is definitely a must-read.

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[Infographic] Leak Management: Find-and-Fix Leaks with Airborne Ultrasound

October 5, 2016

Ultrasound is an essential part of a proactive reliability program as it can reduce or eliminate wasted compressed air through leak detection and repair. This Infographic outlines an effective way to survey your systems and detect leaks and brings you one step closer to best practices for your ultrasound program.

Find-and-Fix Leaks

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What’s your Role in Reliability Culture Change?

October 4, 2016

Reliability Culture Change

Nothing Changes Unless You Make it Change”

For a while now I have been inspired by this quote from Samuel Jackson in the movie The Samaritan (2012). I probably heard similar quotes in the past but it wasn’t until I heard it in this movie that its message finally resonated with me. Trust me, I did not expect a line from a drama thriller to have such an impact in both my personal and professional life. Professionally, I realized that while I was not out in the field in the plants, as an industrial marketing professional I could nonetheless play a role in the much-talked about Reliability Culture Change within our industry.

My commitment to Reliability started by becoming a volunteer with SMRP (Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals) to help create awareness of the value of their CMRP & CMRT certifications and their mission of Reliability Excellence. Later, I studied the UPTIME® ELEMENTS™ to become a Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) in support of their holistic approach to Reliability. Both gave me access to valuable knowledge that as a marketer I could use to start my Reliability Journey and hopefully contribute to change.

Naturally, my research also included the areas of expertise of my company and I was pleasantly surprised to confirm that Precision Alignment, Precision Balancing, Ultrasound Testing and Vibration Analysis as technologies in the field of Asset Condition Management could contribute so much, not only to asset reliability but also to safety, by minimizing reactive work which poses a higher risk of injuries. My journey included working with our amazing engineering team to capture their expertise, to create and deliver to our customers resources such as short Know-How videos for proper machine installation, Soft Foot correction, etc.; a Shaft Alignment Fundamentals wallchart; Infographics for a Balancing Procedure and for Leak Management, etc.; to help customers implement best practices and do a better job with the tools and resources available to them.

I have defined my role to be: Learn, Create, Communicate and Lead by Example. What’s your role in Reliability Culture Change? Remember “Nothing Changes Unless You Make it Change”. Declare Reliability and be part of the culture change.

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The importance of the P-F curve when it comes to Misalignment

September 27, 2016

The Potential to Failure Curve (or P-F Curve) gives the user information on how an asset behaves before a failure occurs. This example is focused on failure due to misalignment. The goal of a reliability focused plant is to be as far to the left on the curve as possible. While some companies are doing predictive maintenance work in an effort to reach the left side, many companies today are on the right domain of the curve, doing reactive work.  Being in the reactive domain—putting out fires as they say— increases maintenance costs. This forces a company to perform unplanned work, causes unscheduled downtime, and higher costs to expedite parts. Using technologies like ultrasound, thermography, and vibration analysis will catch an asset in a pre-failing state. This allows time to plan and schedule the repair to take place. However, with the right processes in place, the technician should recognize the misalignment of the machine before it causes components to fail. The ultimate goal is to be so far left on the curve, that it is off the chart, at the point where all the efforts (flat and rigid bases, accounting for thermal growth, eliminating soft foot, precision alignment, etc) are made so that the machine never runs misaligned.

PF_Curve

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Mistake #3 – Using a “Listen-Only” Ultrasound Instrument (Series 3 of 3)

September 20, 2016

Like any job there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Simply listening to a bearing with an ultrasound device that gives no quantitative feedback is a recipe for disaster. The audible feedback is too subjective to draw any comparative conclusions. No two people hear the same and there is no way to remember what the bearing sounded like a month ago.

The third mistake is depending solely on subjective ultrasound data when precise quantifiable data is available. Always use an ultrasound instrument with digital decibel metering. Better still, use a device that provides multiple condition indicators. Max and Peak RMS decibel measurements indicate alarm levels and greasing intervals while Ultrasonic Crest Factor provides insight about the bearing condition in relation to its lubricant. Crest factors help us differentiate between bearings that need grease and bearings that need to be replaced.

Download the Ultrasound Lubrication Technician Handbook

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Mistake #2 – Over and Under Lubrication (Series 2 of 3)

September 13, 2016

The second mistake we should all avoid is adding too much, or not enough grease. Too much grease builds up pressure pushing the rolling elements through the fluid film and against the outer race. Increased friction and temperature dramatically shorten the bearing’s life. Not enough grease will have the same life-shortening effect.

How do we know when just the right amount of grease has been added? Ultrasound of course. Listen to the bearing and measure the drop in friction as the grease fills the bearing cavity. As the decibel level approaches normal baselines and stabilizes carefully slow the application of lubricant. Should the decibel level begin to increase slightly, STOP! The job is done.

Download the Ultrasound Lubrication Technician Handbook

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