Are you running out of time to get your job done? Has your boss or supervisor saddled you with extra responsibilities? Are you not performing your PM tasks on time due to these extra responsibilities? If you answered yes to any of these,  don’t feel alone in this ever-changing industry. We are all being asked to perform more with fewer tools and time. And yes, we must keep our equipment up and running!

I recently ran into this problem at a water treatment facility in the Caribbean. Besides the overwhelming amount of work demanded of the maintenance staff, they also have been unable to maintain their equipment. The plant was going longer than four months without any vibration analysis data collection on their machinery, resulting in preventable equipment failures with the consequently lost revenue and high cost of replacement. Due to the working environment, culture, and qualified staff shortage, the engineering group decided to invest in a wireless vibration monitoring system for their highly critical machinery.

After careful evaluation, they decided to install 8 VIBCONNECT RF sensors on four of their high-pressure pump sets. These pumps are critical in processing seawater into freshwater. Although the process of a desalination plant has several stages, the plant decided to first outfit these (four) 550 HP motors first before proceeding with the rest of the facility.

These critical pump motor sets cannot be ignored and have a good reliability program in place. Nor can they be ignored without end-user (consumer) dissatisfaction from no clean water availability due to equipment reliability issues. The plant made a small investment in the monitoring system in comparison to the cost of replacing the motors which failed.

As the maintenance manager stated:

If we could have prevented that failure and/or known that the asset was headed in that direction, we could have saved thousands of dollars. Not to mention the embarrassment of the bad press that comes from working in a government run institution…”

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, by Alex Nino CRL