A vibration analysis package today could cost $20K, 30K, 40K or easily more. If the wrong package is purchased, most companies are still committed to use it at least until it is depreciated, before they would be allowed to explore other alternatives, which could take 3 to 5 years. The purchased package may not include product support, or it might be available for a fee.

Purchasing the correct tool should include considering what the company as a whole is using; this could possibly allow you to take advantage of purchasing agreements with more favorable pricing. Purchasing a package that includes the right analyzer and software with the proper options will actually save money. It allows the user to collect the necessary or special data that may be needed.

If a tool simply won’t do the required job, people will quit wanting to use it and it can quickly become an expensive paper weight. When deciding on a vibration analysis system, you should make sure that you’re buying the right tool and not just what some salesman is trying to sell you. Your sales contact should discuss what your needs are and try to match these needs to the right tool.

The purchase cost of the right system can be recovered in just one correct call that saves you from a breakdown with all the attendant unscheduled downtime, repair expense and lost production. As Benjamin Franklin once said:

“The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has been forgotten.”

by Yolanda Lopez

Every analyst develops their own process for analyzing vibration data. This is generally learned from others, being around to observe or communicate with, or from training the individual receives.  Often, the person collecting the data will be the same person that analyzes the data.  The process could include that during the data collection the person not only uses the vibration data collector but also collects physical data from their senses such as sound and smell to see what is going on with the equipment.  They ought to look for material under the coupling guard to see if an elastomer coupling is shedding pieces, which may indicate misalignment; look at the oil level if possible for signs of oil leakage; look at the mechanical seal area to identify other leakage.  Once data is collected one would generally look for anything outside of established alarm levels, look at the spectrum to see where the highest amplitude peak is at, look for other high amplitude peaks or groups of peaks and harmonic families, and look for sidebands around peaks to help in identifying source.  You would also look for the direction of the highest vibration. Examine the historical data too: you would want to look at the rate of change to determine how quickly failure is approaching. Also never, never forget to look at the time waveform as all data comes from the time waveform. I try to look at the time waveform in the raw units of the sensor as that can verify what you may be seeing in the spectral and give you a greater understanding of just how bad a problem you may be facing.

If you need a solution to help ease this process, consider our BETAVIB vibration analysis systems.

by Yolanda Lopez

In today’s fast-paced competitive business world, manufacturers are seeking every competitive advantage they possibly can to increase their production and minimize costs while maintaining product quality. The identification of defects within a machine, reducing equipment failures and unscheduled downtime is increasingly demanded of condition monitoring technologies.
Vibration analysis has proven to be one of the most effective tools for identifying mechanical and electrical faults within machinery. Most vibration programs use a combination of on-line monitoring and offline (walk around) monitoring. Off line programs require the resources of a trained technician to walk from machine to machine to collect the vibration data.
The primary goal of vibration analysis is to identify faults within a machine and then alert personnel that some type of action needs to occur. Problems start to occur when the needed frequency of the data collection is not aligned with the maintenance strategy. A machine’s criticality, its risk priority and its failure modes establish the frequency required; however, far too often frequency is determined by the availability of a local contractor, internal staffing or, even worse, on how much money will be saved if the frequency is changed from monthly to quarterly?

Today’s on-line systems have the ability to provide continuous monitoring and can send alarm notifications which can be incorporated into a site’s process control system so operators are alerted of a problem.  Some systems can be configured to distribute emails or even send text messages to specific individuals based on an alarm state.
Most vibration analysis systems today also have the ability to monitor and alarm off-process data such as temperature, pressure, voltage, current, flow or speed and can provide alarming if a process measurement goes outside of a predefined range.
Some of today’s on-line systems can incorporate on-board logic and decision making and some vendors offer machine diagnostics so that data is analyzed and screened for alarm violations automatically.  Data storage can be accomplished by the end user locally or the data can be stored and accessed via the cloud.  Utilizing a cloud server allows Reliability Engineers, Vibration Analysts or Condition Monitoring Contractors the ability to analyze and view data, alarms, trends and reports from anywhere in the world.
The “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIOT) is changing the way vibration data is viewed and managed.  Developments in Artificial Intelligence, Smart Machines, Embedded Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics are changing and significantly affecting how condition monitoring data is collected, processed and presented to users.

by Dave Leach CRL CMRT CMRP

As Published by BIC Magazine March 2013 issue
VibXpert vibration analyzerLUDECA’s VIBXPERT II is exemplary of the company’s line of products designed to ‘Keep It Running.’ The slogan is indicative of what LUDECA’s condition monitoring solutions are committed to doing — keeping U.S. manufacturing running and productive.
The VIBXPERT II is a portable vibration analyzer with full color display,  fast data acquisition and powerful diagnostics tools. It combines the advantages of a rapid processor with a brilliant energy-efficient color VGA display. The diagnostic capabilities allow machinery reliability issues to be identified so corrective action can be taken to keep your equipment running and avoid unwanted downtime.
Ray Wonderly, owner of Advanced Maintenance Technologies, purchased his first VIBXPERT from LUDECA in 2006 and upgraded to the VIBXPERT II in 2010 after being very satisfied with the company’s laser alignment systems (OPTALIGN PLUS) and customer service.
“Using the VIBXPERT II vibration system has substantially increased my business and customer base,” he explained. “It is a great selling point to my customers when I tell them I can take more vibration measurements and monitor more total equipment in less time because of the outstanding speed of the vibration analyzer itself without affecting the quality of vibration measurements.”
Wonderly found the “extras” LUDECA provides at no additional expense refreshing.
“Many vendors have it as a requirement that you purchase their additional and expensive maintenance support agreements in order to receive additional free firmware and software updates,” he explained. “LUDECA offers the highest quality system at the most affordable price — and with no additional support agreements — when compared to others.
“I have told many people, if you just want a basic system at the absolute lowest price, LUDECA’s VIBXPERT may not be the best fit. But if you are looking for a top of the line system at a fair price with many great features, the VIBXPERT is a great choice. You can buy it as more of a basic system and at a cheaper price and kind of grow into the many additional features as needed or required, such as the balancing or advanced diagnostics. The firmware is already built into the device and all you have to do after purchase is open it with the provided ID and password. You don’t have to send the system back for additional firmware features.
“In my personal opinion, LUDECA offers the highest quality system at the most affordable price and absolutely fantastic technical support. I truly feel you are getting more for your money as compared to some of the others.”
“At LUDECA, we maintain a high standard of ethics, service and customer support by always striving to exceed customer expectations,” said Frank Seidenthal, president, LUDECA.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

TransAlta from Alberta, Canada won Uptime Magazine’s Best Vibration Analysis Program. Their Vibration Journey started when due to distance and the high costs of using a contractor, they moved away from outsourcing their vibration analysis services to a full time in-house vibration analyst.
During the implementation and mentoring period, and in spite of the business justification, they faced challenges like skepticism from the maintenance department and having to continually justify their existence. Buying and implementing new technology was easy but changing the culture was difficult. Some of it was overcome with their ability to be 100% correct on the calls they made for failures although at the beginning they did not catch all the failures. 10 years after their vibration program started, there are no more skeptics.
An important element of their success was the implementation of a training and certification program with a budget that allowed for 2 weeks of training per year per analyst. They also required that personnel take CMVA Level 1 (Canadian Machinery Vibration Association) or equivalent followed by Level 2 after 18 months and Level 3 within four years on the job.
Aside from bringing Vibration Analysis in-house, they also implemented other in-house programs such as Laser Alignment, Balancing, Ultrasound, Lubrication and Thermography.
What did they accomplish? Savings of US$ 4,000,000 per year for their company over 1,600 pieces of equipment at 3 separate plants.
When first asked about their program, Mark Kumar told Terry O’Hanlon, publisher of Uptime Magazine, that their Best Asset was their vibration database (history) which allowed them to diagnose failures but now in retrospect he stated that their Best Asset was the Backing of Company Management which supported their initiative for an in-house vibration program.
Congratulations to Harvey Henkel, Mark Kumar and their team for this award and a job well done.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL