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Guest Tip by Bob Dunn from I&E Central, Inc.

In some environments, reflected sounds can make it difficult to locate a leak.  If you are in a confined area (a smaller room, or beneath/inside a machine), the leak can seem to be almost anywhere.  A good solution is to adjust the sensitivity downward.  Ultrasonic sounds will reflect, but lose energy each time they reflect.  By reducing sensitivity, the reflected sounds drop into the background, allowing you to locate the actual source of the leak.

Note that SDT inspection tools have separate adjustments for sensitivity and headphone volume, so you can manage sensitivity without affecting your ability to hear!

Download our Find-and-Fix Leaks with Airborne Ultrasound Infographic!

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Question: When is it OK to over-lubricate your bearing?

Answer: NEVER!!!!, (almost) the exception is when high vibration exists.

If you attended the SDT/LUDECA Acoustic Lubrication Workshops then you now understand grease as a lubricating mechanism. You understand that the Churning Phase of the lubrication task is inevitable, and long-term, detrimental to the health of the grease. Therefore, we want to move as quickly as possible from the Churning Phase to the Bleeding Phase. This is the natural progression of precision lubrication.

Grease is not a robust grease mechanism. It is actually quite fragile compared to an oil only system. But we need grease as a lubricating mechanism in bearings because the properties of grease help to keep the lubrication in and around the warzone while sealing out contaminants.

Vibration is inherent in every machine system. Excessive vibration however, negatively impacts the ability of grease to lubricate. Some machine systems are intentionally vibrated as part of their function and process. Other equipment vibrated excessively because of a defect such as imbalance, misalignment, poor installation, or poor workmanship. For these machines, it might be best practices to over-grease their bearings.

I know that sounds counter to what we teach and know, but consider this. It is better to have thickener and oil in the warzone of the bearing, than it is to set up a bleeding mechanism and have the reservoir destroyed because of high vibration. If we let this happen we may never get any oil where it’s needed.

High vibration? Slightly over grease your bearing and allow a little thickener to exist in the warzone. It is the best compromise.

Download our 5-Step Acoustic Lubrication Procedure.

by Yolanda Lopez

There are 3 techniques that can facilitate your work in the field: the shielding technique, the covering technique and reflection management.

Shielding technique protects sensor from parasite ultrasound

1. Shielding technique

This technique greatly reduces the influence of interfering leaks. It consists in using a piece of cardboard or foam(*)… to create a barrier between the “parasitic” leak noise and the location where you want to detect/locate a leak.

(*) Any material will work. It will reflect approximately 90% of the energy coming from the interfering leak.

Practical advice: the precision indicator tip placed on the internal or flexible sensor acts as a shield. This technique is very useful when leaks are very close to one another.

Covering technique blocks a known leak from disturbing detection of other leaks in proximity

2. Covering technique

This technique also greatly reduces the influence of interfering leaks. It consists in:

Either covering an interfering leak with a rag or glove while you inspect an area.

Or covering the sensor with a rag or glove in the zone you want to inspect.

A leaking valve body can be conveniently covered with a cardboard carton too.

Ultrasound signal reflecting off a wall or hard surface can be tricky

3. Reflection management

When searching for leaks, we sometimes get the impression that a leak is coming from a place where there is clearly no compressed air, such as a wall or a partition. This is due to the phenomenon of reflection. Ultrasounds from the leak are bouncing off the reflective surface. You will find the leak by following the angle of reflection. The angle of reflection is equal to the leak’s angle of origin relative to the reflection surface.

Download SDT Leak Surveyors Handbook to learn more!

by Yolanda Lopez

1. A Change in the Quantity of Grease Consumed
Maintenance departments track their grease consumption to monitor and control costs. A change in consumption is a sure sign that your lubrication program is on the right track.
Most organizations are guilty of over-lubricating. Expect lower grease consumption as your program matures. Bad procedures lead to bearings routinely receiving more grease than they’re designed to handle. The excess ends up being pushed into the motor casing or purged onto the floor.
Over lubrication happens when re-greasing intervals are scheduled based on time instead of condition. Control lubrication tasks with ultrasound to monitor condition and maintain optimal friction. The time between greasing intervals increases, resulting in less grease used per bearing.
2. Fewer Lube-Related Failures
Do you track failures and perform root cause analysis?
Organizations with optimized greasing programs experience fewer lube-related failures. Less fixing and fire-fighting translates to more creative time for maintenance. Use that time to bring more machines into the greasing program.
Additionally, with ultrasound you find many non-trendable defects. For example, broken or blocked grease pipes and incorrectly fitted grease paths prevent grease from reaching the bearing.
3. Optimized MRO Spares Management
Your new and improved lubrication program is delivering wins; better control of grease consumption, fewer failures, and more productivity for maintenance. Use this time to study trends and better manage your storeroom.
A decrease in bearing related failures improves spares optimization. Share your ultrasonic lubrication data with your MRO Stores manager to create a plan to reduce the number of emergency parts on hand.
Since you’re taking stock, why not shift some burden to your suppliers? Ask them to confirm your emergency parts against their own stock. If it can be supplied on the same day then it doesn’t need to be on the balance sheet.

4. Increased Number of Machines Monitored
One benefit of an effective lubrication program is time.
• Time allotted to monitoring machines instead of fixing them.
• Time allotted to correctly assessing the real needs for lubrication.
• Time to look at the big picture.
Take for instance, criticality assessment. Many lubrication programs begin with small steps. All the “A” critical machines receive priority, rightly so. But what about the rest? With more time to plan, organize, and schedule, the number of machines acoustically monitored for optimal lubrication increases.
5. Save Time. Combine Acoustic Lubrication and Condition Monitoring
You worked hard for these results. It’s time to use your data for more than just lubrication.
Acoustic lubrication is the proven method to ensure precise bearing lubrication. New technology from SDT, LUBExpert, combines the power of on-board lubrication guidance with Four Condition Indicators for bearing condition assessment.
The time savings from assessing bearing condition during the lubrication process is beyond valuable and another sign your acoustic lubrication program is on the right track.
6. Inspector Confidence at an All-Time High
Reliable machines are the product of an effective lubrication program. You have:
• Managed grease consumption
• Fewer grease related bearing failures
• Optimized MRO spares
• More machines under watch
• Increased data collection intervals
The power of adding ultrasound to your greasing program delivers win after win for reliability. Reliability breeds confidence. More confident inspectors making the right calls and infecting a positive culture throughout the organization.
 

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions


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

A proven method to assess gearbox condition is to collect a DYNAMIC ultrasound signal. If possible, you want to capture at least 3-5 revolutions of the gearbox. From there, analysis is straightforward. Use Ultranalysis (UAS2) software to view the signal in the time waveform and spectrum displays. Use the software’s many analysis tools to determine the exact nature of any defects. Just remember these three keys for successful ultrasonic condition monitoring.

1. Collect the best data you can, using a high quality ultrasonic data collector.
2. Consistent sensor placement must fundamentally be observed.

Figure 1 – Time waveform and Ultrasonic Enveloping Power Spectrum of a damaged gearbox from SDT270 and UAS

3. Identifying boundaries that impact data transmission is imperative.
Ultrasound is Shy… It Keeps Boundaries
Think of ultrasound as the quiet introvert. It prefers to stay in, and rarely mixes well with ultrasounds from other places. We call this “boundary behavior” and it’s another characteristic that makes ultrasound such an attractive condition monitoring technology. Ultrasound signals remain isolated to their source, making it easy to pinpoint defects without interference from other elements of the machine.
Sensor Placement
Inspectors tempted to place their ultrasound sensor directly on the gearbox cover, should reconsider. This common mistake affects data integrity. A gasket seals the cover plate to the gearbox housing. The specific acoustic impedance of the gasket material differs greatly from the cast metal of the gearbox. The change in materials a boundary barrier through which bashful ultrasound is reluctant to is pass. A better option is to place the sensor on a bolt head, which is directly connected to the gearbox housing. The result is crystal clear ultrasound signals for listening, trending, and condition assessment. HearMore: Click here to listen to Damaged Gearbox.

Figure 2 – Place sensor on bolt head

Special thanks to our partner Allan Rienstra from SDT Ultrasound Solutions for sharing his great knowledge with us!

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Why We Ignore Leaks
Compressed air is a misunderstood utility. As such, it tends to be misused and even abused. Leaks continue to be the biggest problem; often overlooked because they are difficult to detect, don’t smell bad, don’t make a mess on the floor, and rarely stop production.

The Real Cost of Leaks
One of your factory’s highest operating expenses is the energy consumed by your compressed air system. Only 25% of the cost of a compressed air system is capital cost and maintenance. The remaining 75% is energy, and as much as 35% of that energy is wasted satisfying leaks.

Additional Impacts
Compressed air leaks create fluctuations in system pressure, which negatively impacts product quality. Compressors work overtime to compensate, leading to early degradation of the asset. Eventually, the compressor system can’t keep up with demand. What can you do? Buy yet another compressor for more capacity? Or optimize the capacity you already have by finding and fixing leaks?

With so much at stake, why are compressed air leaks managed so poorly, and why doesn’t every organization have an air leak management program?

Where to Look for Leaks
Every component has the potential to leak, but we can hasten our search by focusing on common failure points. Usual problem areas are branch line connections, automatic drain traps, desiccant filters, regulators, coalescent filter assemblies, quick couplers, valves, hoses, fittings, pneumatic cylinders and thread sealants. Most leaks occur at points of use, so begin your search there.

How to Find Leaks
Locating air leaks in a loud factory floor is next to impossible with a human ear. The best, and easiest, way to find air leaks is with an ultrasound leak detector. Ultrasound detectors allow you to hear the minute hissing noise produced by leaks, despite the roaring noise of a production area. Ultrasound detectors are portable, easy to use and require little training to get started.

How to Manage Leaks
It’s not enough to just find leaks. Fixing and documenting savings is a necessary part of the program. One way to justify the labor costs and capital expense is to track them with SDT’s LEAKReporter, a mobile smartphone App available for iOS and Android. LEAKReporter is focused, simple and free. It saves inspectors time and money by documenting leaks in pictures, estimating their cost impact and creating fast comprehensive leak reports.

Being competitive has never been more important than it is today. Energy costs directly impact your bottom line. There is no easier way to reduce energy waste than to tackle the “low hanging fruit” in your compressed air system.

by Tristan Rienstra

Using ultrasound to locate compressed gas leaks is relatively easy, but it occasionally it can present some challenges. The reason ultrasound is so successful is that it is a high frequency, short wavelength signal that does not like to penetrate 2nd mediums. While performing compressed gas leak inspections, keep in mind that strong ultrasonic signals can bounce off most materials leading to false indications.
To overcome this challenge, turn your ultrasonic detector 180° and see if the signal is stronger coming from that direction.
Download Find-and-Fix Leaks Procedure

 

by Paul Klimuc CRL - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Simon is a condition monitoring specialist from a local oil refinery. He contacted my office for advice about predicting flexible coupling failures. Currently, they perform basic vibration analysis on their pumps and motors using an overall meter. They have some success predicting bearing failures but the same cannot be said for couplings. Several unexpected failures shut them down this year.

Within the facility they identified 58 pump systems considered “A Critical”, meaning if they go down, the plant goes down. I suggested ultrasound as a fast, safe, and affordable solution. Specifically, the SDT270DU offered him best value. Not only could Simon use it to monitor couplings with ultrasound; it also takes vibration measurements, thus eliminating the need for Simon to carry two data collectors.

With SDT270 Simon trends bearings with vibration, replenishes lubrication with ultrasound, and finds worn and misaligned couplings.

By placing an airborne sensor near to the coupling Simon can quickly trend an evolving defect. The SDT270DU gives Simon the choice to either spot check for defects – good – or integrate all 58 couplings into his established bearing routes – best.

Find worn and misaligned couplings with SDT’s Flexible Sensor.

I explained to Simon how several clients already trend couplings using the Flexible Wand. The SDT270 collects a STATIC ultrasound measurement that gives four indicators of condition. The first two – Overall RMS and Max RMS – indicate the level of friction produced by the defect. When these indicators rise, maintenance may consider corrective alignment during a planned shutdown. The second two – Peak and Crest Factor – identify the emergence of impacting. Together, all four indicators establish a life cycle trend for each coupling.

Once impacting appears, the Peak indicator increases in step with Overall RMS. Crest Factor (CF) is a comparative ratio between Overall RMS and Peak. As CF trends higher it warns that the window for simple maintenance has narrowed. Inspectors may choose to collect a DYNAMIC measurement when CF alarms are triggered. The DYNAMIC measurement provides a visual representation of friction and impacting severity. For both STATIC and DYNAMIC measurements it’s important to define the signal acquisition time.

Without the ability to define user time, pulling the measurement trigger (M) misses key events
Instead, set the signal acquisition time to suit the asset. This slow speed example used 20sec to capture all defect data. Why use an ultrasound instrument that overlooks the importance of user defined acquisition time?

User defined signal acquisition time, available exclusively on SDT instruments, is a luxury that lends ultrasound technicians the highest level of precision. Without the ability to set the sample time, inspectors must guess when to pull the measurement trigger, and question the validity of their data. Simon explained that all 58 pumps turn at speeds above 1800 RPM. Accordingly, he should set his SDT270’s signal acquisition time to between one and three seconds. One to three seconds at 1800 RPM samples the coupling for 30-90 revolutions.

Shaft couplings are guarded for safety. Any ultrasound inspector working around rotating equipment must be required to demonstrate an understanding of company safety policies. Safety considerations are engineered into SDT sensors. The Flexible Wand’s 10mm diameter sensor is designed to access the coupling with the safety guard in place (see figure 2). The 21” long sensor sports a comfortable, ergonomic grip that allows an inspector to collect danger-free data.

Simon seemed convinced but wanted to Hear More. Since this solution was already working well at a nearby paper mill, I introduced Simon to the plant manager, Sunil, and invited them both to lunch. Sunil and Simon connected on so many common reliability issues that afternoon. He confirmed the affordability of this solution based on coupling failures alone but went on to explain how their mill was rolling out ultrasound for acoustic lubrication, steam trap monitoring, electrical inspection, and air leak management. Simon and Sunil continued their conversation well into the afternoon. They agreed that ultrasound, with its 8 primary applications for reliability, represented a fast, safe, and affordable technology with the potential to revolutionize reliability culture. I sat back, happily watching two impassioned specialists strategize about reliability culture. I love my job!

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Condition Monitoring Expert Tip #5 by Mobius Institute
Now this is a tricky question to answer… We have a few contenders: high frequency vibration analysis, regular vibration analysis, ultrasound, oil analysis, wear particle analysis, and infrared analysis. Let’s start by ruling a few of them out.

Infrared analysis is used to detect heat in a bearing, which is a late stage fault condition, so that’s not your best option. Regular oil analysis can detect the presence of the wear metals within the bearing, but wear particle analysis is a better tool for that. Regular vibration analysis (i.e. velocity spectra) provide very clear indications of bearing faults, however the high-frequency detection techniques provide an earlier warning. That leaves high-frequency vibration analysis, ultrasound, and wear particle analysis.

Ultrasound is easiest to use. Push the probe against the bearing and listen carefully and you will hear if the bearing is in distress. (You can also record and analyze a waveform, but now you may as well be performing vibration analysis). Many would argue that high-frequency vibration analysis (such as enveloping, PeakVue, shock pulse, and others) provide a clearer indication of the nature and the severity of the fault. But it does require more training and potentially a more expensive system to perform the collection and analysis.

And that leaves wear particle analysis. Let’s just say that if you own critical gearboxes, you absolutely must perform wear particle analysis. Performed correctly, you will detect the first signs of wear, and complex gearboxes provide a greater challenge for the vibration analyst and the ultrasound tools.

Although I haven’t really answered the question, I am hoping to have put you in a position to make the right decision for your situation.
Thank you Mobius Institute for this valuable tip!

by Yolanda Lopez

Condition Monitoring Expert Tip #4 by Mobius Institute

This tip is sponsored by IMVAC (International Machine Vibration Analysis Conference)

There is no doubt that technologies such as vibration analysis, oil analysis, ultrasound and infrared are very powerful. They can tell you a great deal about fault conditions in rotating machinery, electrical systems, and more. But if the criticality warrants it, you will be in a much stronger position if you have multiple technologies indicating that a fault condition exists rather than relying on just one.

For example, if vibration analysis indicates there is a problem in a gearbox, oil analysis can confirm the fault with the presence of wear particles. In the case of vibration analysis, you can utilize high frequency analysis, spectrum analysis, time waveform analysis, and phase analysis to enable you to validate your diagnosis.

There can be a great deal at stake when you make a diagnostic call on a piece of equipment. More so if it is critical equipment. At the very least, a false diagnosis may lead to equipment failure (if you miss the fault condition) or it can lead to unnecessary work and downtime. What’s more, your reputation is at stake. Sadly, people often forget when you make the right call, but it can take years for people to forget when you make the wrong call.

Thanks Mobius Institute for sharing such valuable information with us!

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

I often hear the question, “what can I detect with ultrasound?”. The fact is, ultrasound is such a versatile condition monitoring technology we tend to ask it to do things beyond its capabilities. And that’s fine because I firmly believe every technology should be pushed beyond its limits. It’s how we get better.
But to help answer the question, “what can I detect?”, I ask a simple question in return. Is your application FIT?
Now you’re asking “what does he mean by is it FIT”?
Let me explain. FIT is an acronym for Friction, Impacting, and Turbulence. Basically, if the defect you are searching for generates any of these three phenomena, then ultrasound is a solution FIT to solve your problem.
Let’s try a super easy example. You are tasked with finding compressed air leaks in your factory. Air lines run every which way throughout your deafeningly noisy plant so you can’t hear the leaks. You could run your hand along all the pipes and anywhere you feel cool air rushing out you’d know you found a leak. Or you could spray soapy water on the pipe joints and look for bubbles. A third solution could be to wait for a plant shutdown and listen for the turbulent flow of air leaks when everything is quiet.

The BEST solution is to ask, “do compressed air leaks produce Friction, Impacting, or Turbulence?”. That’s it! Due to the difference in pressure on either side of the compressed air line, anywhere there is a leak there is turbulent flow. Ultrasound detectors are really good at detecting turbulent flow in high noise environments. There’s no need to run your hand along the pipe, reach for the bubble solution, or wait for a shutdown. Go grab your SDT Detector and start tagging leaks today.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Reposted from ReliabilityWeb

One method of detecting vacuum leaks is to use airborne ultrasound detection, a technology already widely used for positive leak detection in compressed air systems. But finding vacuum leaks is not as straightforward as finding pressure leaks, and often times, the method is abandoned in frustration.

One problem here is the quality of the ultrasonic instrument which can vary significantly from one manufacturer to another. Lesser quality detectors cannot function well in high noise situations.  They simply have difficulty differentiating a leak sound from ambient plant noise. Since vacuum pumps already generate a lot of background noise, rarely will an inspector perform vacuum leak inspections in a quiet atmosphere.  Another problem is lack of inspector training which really plays a role when searching for vacuum leaks in high noise environments.

Just like positive pressure leaks, vacuum leaks produce a rushing, whooshing ultrasonic signal with peaks around 35-40 kHz. The ultrasound is caused by turbulent flow of air molecules at the leak site. Positive pressure leaks, such as those found in compressed air systems, push the turbulent flow outward making them easily detectable from several feet with a quality ultrasound tool. Vacuum leaks behave quite the opposite, drawing the turbulent flow inward, decreasing the distance of detection as compared with positive pressure leaks. Most of the telltale leak sound is contained within the body which means inspectors must diligently trace an entire installation leaving no stone unturned in the search for ingress.

Read the full story by Allan Rienstra – SDT International and Karl Hoffower – Failure Prevention Associates including details and photos for a Vacuum Leak Inspection on Multiple Effect Evaporator at major Pacific Northwest Pulp & Paper Mill.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

For rotating machines, it is necessary to reduce friction most of the time to increase efficiency, decrease power losses and support loads. The element of choice is the well known team of bearing and lubricant. Bearings, in their different configurations, are one of the most efficient ways to reduce friction between a stationary and a rotational part of a mechanism.

Two broad classes of bearings exist: plain bearings and rolling contact bearings. Which type of bearing is used depends on several factors related to the design of the machine and its process. Sometimes both types are used in the same machine doing different jobs. For this article, the focus is on plain bearings.

Choosing the best technology to monitor friction and condition in plain bearings is a challenge. Due to the physical characteristics of plain bearings, using vibration analysis (VA) is more effective for rolling contact bearings and less so for plain bearings. Ultrasound (US) is trending more frequently for condition monitoring of rolling contact bearings and it also shows promise for plain bearings. Understanding the physical differences between the two bearing categories is critical for developing condition monitoring strategies for plain bearings using ultrasound.

Read on to find out more about plain bearing types, failure modes and how to monitor.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

When monitoring your bearing lubrication with ultrasound, it is important to watch for very high values in your condition indicators (total RMS and Peak values). After applying grease, both values should decrease proportionately. This is a sign the bearing was under-lubricated. If the total RMS value lowers and the peak value stays relatively the same, then the bearing has a mechanical condition that is generating impacts.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

In today’s modern world information is found all around us and it is available at the simple push of a button; 24/7/365. Machine condition monitoring systems (online systems) have been around for quite a while, but they have typically been reserved for the most critical and most expensive machines at a facility. These critical assets typically comprise of a small number of the total assets at most manufacturing plants. The majority of machines fall under the walk around monitoring approach. If a condition monitoring program is being conducted at a world class level then each machine is being tested monthly, however at most manufacturing facilities manpower constraints restrict monitoring to quarterly or in some cases once or twice a year. Machines which have been historically confined to a walk around type programs can now be monitored successfully using an online system. These systems can monitor and trend vibration levels as well as monitor and trend ultrasound and temperature. The online systems can be configured to deliver a machines alarm status directly to the plant process control system. This allows the machine operator to take the necessary corrective actions. The alarm status can also be delivered to a maintenance supervisor via cell phone message or by email. Using online systems to monitoring the health status of your process equipment will allow the identification of problems early with minimal manpower so that catastrophic failures can be prevented which ultimately leads to less machine downtime for repairs and increased cost savings.

by Dave Leach CRL CMRT CMRP

May 2017 – Processing Magazine

This validated condition monitoring technology is versatile and inexpensive with a low learning curve.


Solving asset reliability issues becomes stymied when leadership is ambivalent about the benefits of adopting multiple technologies for condition monitoring (CM). When they do adopt them, they quickly learn technologies alone are not enough without the manpower to deploy them. One colleague stoically relayed his frustration when he said, “There are never enough of us (manpower), but there are more of them (problems) every day.”

Monitoring asset condition cannot be carried out effectively with only one CM technology, yet many maintenance departments rely predominantly on data from “just vibration” or “just oil analysis,” for example. More than one failure mode threatens asset health, and not every symptom is detectable by the same method. Some organizations have a strong vibration program but not anything more. Others may see clearly with infrared thermal imaging but lack a good oil analysis solution. A broader focus nets greater results.

Implementing several CM technologies is practical but often restricted by available manpower, budget and lack of conviction from all departments. If this is your plant’s reality, perhaps start with the most versatile technology — the one that detects the most defects — with the shortest learning curve. Choose ultrasound first and build a program on that foundation.
Read my entire article to learn about Benefits of Ultrasound, Reliability & Operational Excellence and Where is Ultrasound Useful?

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions


Problem:
Maintenance had no way of diagnosing if a hydraulic actuator had failed or not. On commercial aircraft, actuators are used to move many important pieces of the aircraft (A/C). If an actuator was thought to be at fault, the engineers would order replacement of ALL of the actuators in the region of the fault. This would cost several days of maintenance man hours, lost A/C revenue and the removal and replacement of parts that work fine.
Solution:
Use the SDT270 ultrasound detector with the RS-1 contact probe to listen to each of the actuators. By comparing the sounds of working actuators to failed actuators, the maintenance staff was able to remove and replace the ones that are truly broken.
Result:
Problems found in minutes versus days. Maintenance staff was extremely happy to have a new tool which could point to the source of the problem so quickly.
Special thanks for Karl Hoffower from Failure Prevention Associates, LLC. for sharing this success story with us!

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Compressed air is one of the three highest cost utilities in use at your plant. It is also one of the least maintained in terms of system leaks. Leaks are expensive and wasteful, but most often ignored.

Finding and fixing leaks is an easy way to reduce energy costs but finding them is not easy because of background noise.

  1. Why we don’t find and fix air leaks?
    Leaks are often considered an unavoidable cost of business. Many of us simply don’t realize the high cost of compressed air leaks.
  2. Air leaks cost you real money
    Compressed air leaks are one of the leading expenses in the industrial world to this day. Leaks are a source of wasted energy, but they also contribute to other operating losses.
  3. How much air is being wasted?
    Air leaks are wasted energy. An industrial compressed air system loses up to 40% of its compressor’s output to leaks if left unchecked.
  4. The best way to find leaks
    SDT’s ultrasound technology provides you with the ability to check vast areas for air leaks quickly and effectively. The SDT270 hears high frequency sounds created by leaks, while ignoring low frequency plant noise.
  5. How to fix compressed air leaks
    Finding the leaks presents a solution to the problem. But only fixing the leaks nets cost and energy savings. Without a follow-up to ensure found leaks were actually fixed, leak detection is just another expense.
  6. Air leak prevention program
    Implementing an Air Leak Prevention Program into your facility is essential for energy and cost savings. Proactive leak detection and good organization will reduce leaks to 10% or less of system demand.

Download our Leak Surveyors Handbook

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

On a recent plant visit, our solutions provider Bob Dunn with I&E Central, Inc. used the SDT 270 ultrasound instrument and a contact sensor to inspect and capture waveforms on a series of valves on an automated manufacturing machine. The results were a revelation!
These valves open every 0.25 seconds and pass a brief pulse of air into the process. There were six valves, a 3 second signal was acquired on each. When we viewed the .wav files, one was significantly different from the rest,  4 examples are shown. Valve # 5 was passing a “double” pulse on most of its cycles.
Comparing signatures or levels on like components is a valuable diagnostic approach. At this point, the underlying cause has not been determined, but it is likely a worn component, and the valve should at the least be inspected further and possibly replaced. The failure of one of these valves would stop production on a high speed automated line.
Properly applied, ultrasound gives you great insight into many types of assets!

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL