The vibration analyst is expected to use his or her tools to gather the right vibration data to determine the practical health of process equipment. To distill a systematic workflow of this task, it can more easily be understood in the terms of an “input-output” process. The inputs are data taken from the equipment, the output is actionable information which itself is a necessary input to an efficient maintenance process.

The inputs can be boiled down to 4 individual bits:
A. Frequency data
B. Amplitude data
C. Phase data
D. Other physical observation/information

These inputs are fed into a data analysis process which is expected to yield information dependable enough to help guide the actions of those caring for the equipment. Unfortunately, the old computer adage applies big time to the vibration analysis process: “garbage in, garbage out!”. If the input data (A, B, C, and D referenced above) are not of good quality (garbage), then the analyst cannot output quality actionable information as input for the maintenance process within a facility. The results of the vibration program and analyst are called into question.

Not only does the reputation of the entire vibration program suffer, but the facility will not benefit from the value that is offered by a vibration analysis program. It is the challenge of the vibration analyst to make sure that proper data is collected and correct analysis is completed. This will allow for valuable information to be supplied to the maintenance process within a facility. Predictive technologies such as vibration analysis should be one of the core ingredients for the overall maintenance process (planning and scheduling, parts inventory, etc) at your facility.

The only way to make this happen is to avoid the “garbage in, garbage out” effect and follow a “quality in, quality out” process with your data collection and analysis activities.

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by Mike Fitch CRL