Blog

As Published by Solutions Magazine March/April 2018 issue

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL and Shon Isenhour, CMRP CAMA CCMP, Founding Partner at Eruditio LLC

During the many root cause analysis (RCA) investigations we facilitate and coach, we notice some themes that continue to manifest themselves in the findings. Often, they are grouped under the heading of precision maintenance or lack thereof. Let’s take a look at some of them and determine if they are also killing your reliability.

The six killers are grouped into three areas: Lubrication, Misalignment and Undiagnosed Wear.

Click here to read the full article.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL


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.”

About LUDECA
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.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Bearings are a critical part of the design and function of most mechanical equipment. The majority of bearings never reach their intended design life due to improper selection, storage and installation. Unfortunately, this results in compromised equipment operation, lost capacity and increased costs. Do not condemn your equipment to death through improper bearing storage practices. Below are a few storage tips to help your facility ensure bearing reliability:

  • Store bearings in a clean, dry and low humidity environment (moisture from environment, gloves, etc can result in corrosion and/or etched sections creating fatigue on the bearing.) Avoid storage near direct sunlight, air conditioners or vents.
  • Eliminate shock/vibration.
  • Do not store bearings on the floor (will introduce contamination, moisture and vibration/shock.)
  • Store bearings on a pallet or shelf in an area not subjected to high humidity or either sudden or severe environmental changes.
  • Store bearings flat and do not stack them (lubrication and anti-corrosion material may squeeze out.)
  • Do not remove bearings from carton/crate or protective wrappings until just prior to installation in the machine (be careful of bearings in wooden crates as these could attract moisture – perhaps best to remove them from those cases.)
  • Do not clean bearings with cotton or similar materials that can leave dust and/or contamination behind (use lint free materials.)
  • Do not handle bearings with dirty, oily or moist hands.
  • Do not nick or scratch bearing surfaces.
  • Always lay bearings on clean, dry paper when handling.
  • Keep bearings away from sources of magnetism.
  • Do not remove any lubrication from a new bearing.
  • Lubricant in stored bearings will deteriorate overtime. The bearing manufacturer should specify shelf-life limits. These dates should be noted on the packaging and monitored to help ensure bearings are fit for use when needed.
  • The following visual inspections of bearing integrity should be completed periodically and just prior to use:
    • Examine packaging for indications that the bearing could have been damaged during shipment or storage. The bearing should be discarded or returned to the supplier if signs of damage are found.
    • Examine the grease or oil for evidence of hardening, caking, discoloration, separation, etc. Re-lubrication for continued storage or replacement maybe required.

Miss Part 1 of 2? Here it is: Has your Equipment Been Condemned to Death? Proper Lubrication

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Lubricant received from suppliers has been shown statistically to contain high levels of contamination. Improper facility storage of that lubricant allows additional particle and moisture ingress. Improper dispensing of this lubricant introduces added contamination as well.  The accumulated water/moisture contamination causes the lubrication film to weaken and allows the rotating surfaces to move closer to each other during operation. The particle contamination then more easily damages gears, bearings, etc., and greatly shortens the life of your equipment. Contaminated lubricant can shorten equipment life by 75% or more.
To prevent this, ensure that lubricants are filtered and clean before entering your equipment. Store lubricants in a clean, dry and cool (temperature controlled) environment. Don’t leave lubrication containers open and exposed to the environment. Do not allow the containers to become a catch-all for dirt and moisture.
Proper lubrication controls do not have to be expensive. In fact, some of the greatest reliability improvements can be implemented quite inexpensively. Do not introduce equipment defects and condemn your equipment to death through improper lubrication practices and other poor maintenance practices.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

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

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

datacollectionpointsTo facilitate the initial learning curve, a labeling system was implemented to help technicians collecting data identify bearings that were part of the initial survey. These descriptors were laminated to prolong their life in the unfriendly environment of a typical cement plant. Standard locations for data collection needed to be understood since labels would become difficult or impossible to read over time.
On the job training included understanding that readings collected on the drive motor bearings needed to be collected from the grease fitting on the non-drive end and from the upper portion of the end bell housing on the drive end. On driven equipment bearings, where direct access was possible, the ultrasound readings were to be taken in the horizontal plane directly from the bearing housing. (Note: with ultrasound it is not necessary to record data from multiple planes on the same bearing). Technicians were trained to take ultrasound readings as close to the bearing as physically possible while respecting personal safety.
This simple label proved important to the integrity of the pilot project to prevent greasing from well-intentioned lubricators.
sampletag

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

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

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

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

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Lubricating a bearing once per week or once a month may seem like a sensible thing to do. After all, performing scheduled maintenance at regular periods is an age old concept ingrained in each of us early on. Even OEMs still advise best practices based on time intervals to ensure maximum asset lifespan.
The problem with any blanket solution is that they ignore the effects of variables.
Two motors may be the same out of the box but end up in entirely different situations. While one lands in a hot and humid climate, another could be installed in a cold and arid climate. One may be used in a high speed low load application while another at low speeds but with frequent starts and stops.
It is irrational to expect the maintenance needs of one to be the same for another when the conditions they operate in are so different.
Bearings need grease for one reason only; to reduce friction. As long as the lubricant is performing that service well, there should be no need to change it. Yet we frequently do, with catastrophic results.
Re-lubricating a bearing just because your calendar told you “time’s up!” is the first mistake. Monitor ultrasound friction and know when it’s the right time to grease.
Download the Ultrasound Lubrication Technician Handbook

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

It can be argued that lubricants are the lifeblood of equipment. It is extremely difficult to assure equipment reliability when lubrication integrity is not maintained. The key is to keep the lubrication system clean, cool and dry.
According to the Arrhenius Rate Rule, every 18-degree (F) increase in oil temperature in operation reduces oil life by half. Excessive lubrication temperatures can lead to additive depletion, oxidation, varnishing, hazards, corrosion, increased frequency of oil changes and more. All of this leads to reduced equipment reliability and increased costs.
Reduced operating temperature is one of the many benefits associated with proper machinery alignment.  This in turn will help you reduce the operational temperature of the lubricants (lifeblood) within your equipment.  Best practice equipment reliability includes proper equipment alignment. Your best practice lubrication efforts should include making sure your equipment is operated within proper alignment tolerances. Doing so will help you maintain the “cool” required to ensure that the lifeblood of your equipment is protected.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis