TransAlta from Alberta, Canada won Uptime Magazine’s Best Vibration Analysis Program. Their Vibration Journey started when due to distance and the high costs of using a contractor, they moved away from outsourcing their vibration analysis services to a full time in-house vibration analyst.
During the implementation and mentoring period, and in spite of the business justification, they faced challenges like skepticism from the maintenance department and having to continually justify their existence. Buying and implementing new technology was easy but changing the culture was difficult. Some of it was overcome with their ability to be 100% correct on the calls they made for failures although at the beginning they did not catch all the failures. 10 years after their vibration program started, there are no more skeptics.
An important element of their success was the implementation of a training and certification program with a budget that allowed for 2 weeks of training per year per analyst. They also required that personnel take CMVA Level 1 (Canadian Machinery Vibration Association) or equivalent followed by Level 2 after 18 months and Level 3 within four years on the job.
Aside from bringing Vibration Analysis in-house, they also implemented other in-house programs such as Laser Alignment, Balancing, Ultrasound, Lubrication and Thermography.
What did they accomplish? Savings of US$ 4,000,000 per year for their company over 1,600 pieces of equipment at 3 separate plants.
When first asked about their program, Mark Kumar told Terry O’Hanlon, publisher of Uptime Magazine, that their Best Asset was their vibration database (history) which allowed them to diagnose failures but now in retrospect he stated that their Best Asset was the Backing of Company Management which supported their initiative for an in-house vibration program.
Congratulations to Harvey Henkel, Mark Kumar and their team for this award and a job well done.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Domtar Espanola from Ontario, Canada won Uptime Magazine’s Best Asset Health Management Program. Their goal was “Go from Reactive Maintenance to Proactive”.
To achieve this goal, they put together a plan including several proactive actions and PdM technologies integrated with an Asset Performance Management Software which allow them to closely monitor equipment health. Kim Hunt shared some of their plan elements:

  • Implement a precision lubrication program and oil analysis
  • Skills training: Value your staff and empower them with training. From formal training to just watching Reliabilityweb Webinars together and afterwards eating cookies and holding discussions —great for team building!
  • Size your equipment properly
  • Use laser alignment and balancing for precise machine rebuilds and installs
  • Precise operator care
  • Maintain excellence in housekeeping
  • Equipment health monitoring. Use predictive tools, primarily vibration analysis to baseline your equipment.
  • Root cause analysis and problem elimination
  • Plan and schedule your maintenance activities with effective standard operating procedures
  • Continuous improvement – you are never done!

What did they accomplish?

  • 21% reduction in maintenance costs
  • 30% increase in production efficiencies
  • Increase MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)
  • A total average savings of US$450,000 per year without actual/potential product loss.

Congratulations to Kim Hunt and her team for this award and a job well done.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

June/July 2011 • UPTIME

Analyzing only vibration response spectra is difficult since they often don’t clearly match wall chart and textbook examples.

As anyone who has practiced vibration analysis knows, vibration signatures obtained on routes are often far from the wall chart examples. The reason for this is that the vibration signatures collected and analyzed represent the response of a system due to a variety of different forces that act simultaneously to produce one signature. Unfortunately, vibration analysts are actually interested in determining the individual forces that cause the response. Once the forces are accurately identified, only then can they be reduced or eliminated.
Take for example the force of unbalance. Wall charts and texts on vibration analysis represent mass unbalance as a running speed peak in the spectrum that dominates all other content. Also, these theoretical, or textbook, examples indicate the vibration amplitudes will be equal in the horizontal and vertical planes. However, experienced vibration analysts know this is often not the signature we see. This is due to the fact there are multiple forces acting on the system, and it may have asymmetric stiffness resulting in highly directional vibration. In these situations, following the wall chart examples without additional phase analysis may send an analyst down the wrong path. In order to be effective in vibration analysis, it is necessary to first resolve the most dominant problem and then reanalyze the machine to determine if there are any further forces that need to be minimized. Properly identifying the most dominant problem can be difficult, so make sure to use all tools available. This case history illustrates a situation in which the vibration signature was far from being textbook due to multiple sources simultaneously acting on the system to produce one on-textbook signature. Getting to the root causes of the problem took multiple iterations.
Read entire article Balancing Out the Root Cause by Chad Wilcox •

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

MYTH: “1x RPM is always caused by unbalance.”
TRUTH: Unbalance always causes vibration at 1x RPM.  However, 1 x RPM is not always caused by unbalance.  Many other problems can exhibit vibration at this frequency.  Examples are:  Misalignment, Bent shaft, bowed shaft, cracked shaft, eccentricity, open rotor bars in the motor, rubs, looseness, belt issues  and resonance. 
MYTH: “The run time and lifetime of the equipment can be extended by performing a balance job on the equipment.”
TRUTH: Problems such as misalignment, bad bearings, looseness, etc cannot be corrected by balancing the machine.  It is almost impossible to correctly balance a machine that has other defects affecting its performance.  Misalignment, bad bearings looseness etc should be corrected before attempting to balance equipment.

by Trent Phillips

  1. Functionality: Do the Predictive Maintenance (PdM) tools you are considering have the ability to make all the measurements required by your physical asset management strategy? Are displays easy-to-see and interpret? Are the tools easy-to-learn and easy-to-use? Learn about our PdM tools.For Software, can it interface with your CMMS system? Can you import data from other systems such as oil data? Learn about our OMNITREND software.
  2. Durability: Will the tools hold up to your plant’s environment? Are they rugged enough for multiple users? IP ratings such as water–, dust– and shockproof are very important when dealing with industrial tools.
  3. Service: Will your vendor be available to answer questions or address problems should they arise? What is the vendor’s reputation for customer service? If you have a problem with a tool how soon can you expect a “loaner” until yours is repaired? Are the tools repaired and/or calibrated locally? Learn about LUDECA Repair and Calibration.
  4. Training: What are the training costs associated with learning how to use the tools? Is training included with the purchase? What training resources are available? Learn about LUDECA Training.
  5. Support: What level of support do you need? Does the vendor have a call-in tech support center, is it free or paid? Will the yearly costs of maintenance agreements make the tools considerably more expensive than competitor’s tools having similar capabilities? Do they offer free updates? Learn about LUDECA Technical Support.

by Bill Hillman CMRP

LUDECA, INC. introduces VIBXPERT II, the latest addition to the PRUEFTECHNIK family of portable route-based vibration data collectors. VIBXPERT II is rugged and lightweight —weighing only 2-1/2 pounds! It combines the advantages of a rapid processor with a brilliant energy-efficient color VGA display. Enhanced with an Fmax of 51KHz and up to 102, 400 Lines of Resolution, all machinery problems can be captured and easily analyzed on the VIBXPERT II large color screen.The VIBXPERT II Basic platform is a 1-channel device which can be upgraded at any time to 2 individually configured channels via a special passcode —user upgradable, does not require hardware changes.  Vbxpert II portable vibration analyzerAll forms of machine vibrations, bearing conditions, process data and visual inspection information can be collected and stored on the expandable Compact Flash Card (up to 8 gigabyte) for report generation or for later transfer to the powerful OMNITREND software for further analysis, reporting and archiving.The VIBXPERT II provides an easy-to-use icon driven platform that offers comprehensive analysis functionality for the diagnosis of simple or very complex vibration problems. Capabilities include order spectrum, phase, cepstrum, cross-channel phase, orbits, run-up and coast-down measurements, bump test, negative averaging and more. Analysis tools, including various cursor types, machine-specific frequency markers, signal post processing, and extensive bearing databases are included for evaluating each spectrum. Alarm notifications based on ISO standards or user-defined standards are visually identified with the aid of colored LEDs.The VIBXPERT II features modular functionality including dynamic field balancing, extended time waveform recording, transient data capture, UFF file export, Modal/ODS support and more.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Successfully persuading your management team about the importance of predictive maintenance requires a certain mind-set, one that embraces the ideology that any failure in selling predictive maintenance lies within your selling techniques and not the management team. Success will simply depend on developing the proper selling methods. You are more likely to have success if you show management why they, not you, need predictive maintenance in the company. We have always heard that managers speak the language of dollars. This is true.  Attempt to avoid all technical reasons for justifying PDM and make good arguments based on savings and profitability. Reduced energy consumption, increased uptime, longer machine life, increased machine reliability, and improved products are just a few in a long list of items that will result from good PDM. However, just stating these items will not be very persuasive in your selling attempts. You must show how these benefits relate specifically to applications in your company and present dollar figures calculating the value added by implementation of PDM technologies. Any data included with the dollar figures should be simple and easy to understand for a non-technical person. Trend plots, bar graphs, or pie charts are effective visual displays of such information. Your report should be concise but lengthy enough to convey relevant information.  Brevity usually works best.If you don’t succeed on the first try, be persistent and improve you selling techniques. Remember, the fault lies in your methods and not with the management team. Luck is not a requirement for success. Only the proper arguments are required. Once the correct selling strategy is found, success is sure to follow.

by Bill Hillman CMRP