First off, “triax” is short for “triaxial accelerometer sensor”. A triaxial sensor has three (tri) separate sensors (that collect data in the X, Y, and Z directions) contained in one housing, compared to a single axis sensor in a normal accelerometer.

A triaxial sensor vs a single axis sensor for vibration data collection

There are many pros and cons to using a triaxial sensor. A few things to consider:

  1. Cost
  2. Position
  3. Data frequency
  4. Time

The triax sensor (Fig. 1) is more expensive than the single axis sensor (Fig. 2). When using the triax sensor, it has to be mounted in the same orientation each time or the directions will not match the data that was collected before. Many places sell triax mounting pads to make certain that the sensor is locked in a certain orientation to ensure correct data collection. This represents an additional cost, and time must also be budgeted to mount the pads. Do not mix sensors when collecting data. If the same motor is having vibration data collected using a triax sensor, then do not collect data another month with a single axis sensor. A single axis sensor will need to be moved three times to the correct orientation for data collection whereas the triax was mounted in just one position. This could affect the trending of your data.

The VIBWORKS vibration instrument allows for both triax and single axis data collection. The VIBWORKS is a true four-channel instrument. This allows the instrument to collect data in all three directions at once. Normally three directions are taken per bearing on equipment. Depending on the setup and the equipment, it could take up to 20 seconds per direction to collect and save the vibration data. On a normal motor-fan machine train this means 12 directions which would take around 4 minutes to collect vibration data on, using a single axis sensor. Using a triax sensor it would only take 80 seconds to collect vibration data on the entire machine train.

When selecting a triax sensor, make certain that the vibration instrument is not multiplexing the vibration channels. For example it the instrument is only capable of two channels it will collect two channels at the same time and then collect the third channel separately. This means it would take almost three minutes to collect data as all three channels are not being collected at the same time.

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, by Mickey Harp CRL