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

June/July 2011 • UPTIME

Analyzing only vibration response spectra is difficult since they often don’t clearly match wall chart and textbook examples.

As anyone who has practiced vibration analysis knows, vibration signatures obtained on routes are often far from the wall chart examples. The reason for this is that the vibration signatures collected and analyzed represent the response of a system due to a variety of different forces that act simultaneously to produce one signature. Unfortunately, vibration analysts are actually interested in determining the individual forces that cause the response. Once the forces are accurately identified, only then can they be reduced or eliminated.
Take for example the force of unbalance. Wall charts and texts on vibration analysis represent mass unbalance as a running speed peak in the spectrum that dominates all other content. Also, these theoretical, or textbook, examples indicate the vibration amplitudes will be equal in the horizontal and vertical planes. However, experienced vibration analysts know this is often not the signature we see. This is due to the fact there are multiple forces acting on the system, and it may have asymmetric stiffness resulting in highly directional vibration. In these situations, following the wall chart examples without additional phase analysis may send an analyst down the wrong path. In order to be effective in vibration analysis, it is necessary to first resolve the most dominant problem and then reanalyze the machine to determine if there are any further forces that need to be minimized. Properly identifying the most dominant problem can be difficult, so make sure to use all tools available. This case history illustrates a situation in which the vibration signature was far from being textbook due to multiple sources simultaneously acting on the system to produce one on-textbook signature. Getting to the root causes of the problem took multiple iterations.
Read entire article Balancing Out the Root Cause by Chad Wilcox •

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL