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Every vibration analyst relies on accurate data to provide the necessary information to base a report or work order on that will set in motion the activities of the maintenance department. Therefore,  the analyst must resist sinking into bad data collection habits. When early detection of a fault or possible problem is important (it usually is),  the measurement contact point for a walk-around route should be clean down to the bare metal. A nice thick coat of paint is good at protecting against rust, but it’s not very good for transmitting vibration.
Trends are a very reliable tool for monitoring the condition of equipment IF the data points are taken exactly the same way time after time. The analyst must make sure that the amplitude and frequency changes are equipment-induced and not analyst- or monitoring apparatus induced. Sensor placement points should be clearly marked. Many analysts take thousands of points each month and often don’t see the same discrete point again for at least a month. Don’t depend on memory to place your sensor.
Don’t play data roulette; force yourself into good data collection habits. The day will inevitably come when something seems to be wrong with your data and you will have to troubleshoot where the problem is. If you have disciplined yourself into meticulous habits, the troubleshooting will be much easier, and you can be much more confident in your day-to-day analysis.

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, by Mike Fitch CRL