Vibration analysis is one of the most important tools used in predictive maintenance. It helps identify possible future failures. This allows the maintenance personnel to make necessary repairs and adjustments during scheduled shutdowns.
In the past, vibration analysis was a tedious exercise. Modern vibration analyzers have made the job easier. However, without proper training, these sophisticated tools are not likely to be put to full use.
Vibration analysis is the process of detecting, collecting, and measuring vibrations from a piece of equipment during operation and using the data to determine the potential for failure. Vibration is more common in industrial equipment with rotating components such as compressors, pumps, fans, generators, mixers, and agitators.
Modern Vibration analysis techniques are able to accurately measure vibration in all three axes. The characteristics of vibration measured are frequency, magnitude, and direction.
Vibration measuring instruments use different transducers such as acceleration sensors, velocity sensors, displacement sensors, and proximity sensors to get readings. These measuring devices can be either fixed or portable. Accuracy, sample frequency, and ambient conditions are some the factors that determine the selection of measuring instrument.
Vibration is unavoidable in rotating components. However, excessive vibration can be dangerous. The most common causes of excessive vibration are.
It is possible to calculate the fundamental frequency of vibration of any given equipment. Not all vibration leads to damage to components. Once a baseline has been determined, it is, therefore, easier to monitor any spikes and isolates potential causes.
Vibration reading is usually captured by accelerometers that are installed at strategic points. The accelerometers are typically located in orthogonal axes.
The accelerometer must have the required sampling frequency to capture the readings. Once digitized, the data is presented in a time-waveform for all the axes. This makes interpretation easy.
The vibration data obtained is useless unless it can be correlated to physical characteristics. From the digitized data, you can easily spot any synchronous peaks.
The peaks that are higher than the fundamental frequency of the system is called synchronous peaks while asynchronous peaks are caused by shocks. Both peaks indicate a possible problem.
Phase analysis is used to compliment time-waveform analysis. It helps in isolating vibrations that are foreign but correlate with the vibration of the shaft. A damaged ball bearing or any other defect can be found through a phase wave.
Optimize Production Time: By training your workers, they are able to keep the machinery in optimum working conditions for longer periods. This translates to fewer accidents and fewer interruptions.
Improves Safety: Workers who have been trained can comfortably carry out simple repairs and replacement of bearings, worn belts and tighten loose mounts minimizing the chances of any accidents that could be avoided. Safety precautions are also emphasized during vibration analysis training.
Increases Efficiency: Conducting a vibration analysis begins by knowing the right tools and measuring instruments to use. Training ensures that the workers have all the information they need. They are then able to carry out repair much faster and more effectively reducing downtime.
Cost Reduction: Vibration problems start small and escalate leading to catastrophic failures. When vibration analysis uncovers the small problems, they are corrected without massive expenditure. The labor costs and material used are less costly as compared to when the whole system shuts down.
Reduces Critical Callouts: Training equips workers with the necessary skills to carry out scheduled maintenance. Predictive maintenance ensures each component is replaced before it fails. This reduces the need for emergency repairs.
Vibration data may seem too complex to interpret for the untrained but once trained the patterns become clearer and even a novice can easily make a diagnosis. It is more economical and safer than running equipment until failure occurs.
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