How To Use Vibration Analysis To Identify Equipment Problems

Investing in equipment and machinery can be hefty for businesses since the cost involved, from purchase to continuous maintenance, is huge. The cost shoots up when the machinery breaks down, which adversely affects overall production. 

Equipment failures are unavoidable; however, vibration analysis is an effective solution you can use to identify changes in the operational behavior of equipment. This blog sheds light on the significance of vibration analysis and will guide you on how to use vibration monitoring to analyze equipment problems. 

Vibration Analysis: Explained 

The technique of vibration monitoring helps you detect and track equipment issues with the help of vibration data. It measures the frequencies and vibration levels of the system and uses this data to track the health of machines and their components. 

Every time a machine works, it generates vibrations. An accelerometer connected to the machine produces a voltage signal that calculates the extent of vibration and the frequency it produces. This could usually be the number of vibrations generated per minute or second.  

The data retrieved from the accelerometer reaches the data collector. It records the signal in either a time waveform, i.e., amplitude vs. time, or a fast Fourier transform, i.e., amplitude vs. frequency, or in both forms.

Engineers or specialized vibration analysts examine the data with computer program algorithms to determine the health of the machine and identify possible impending problems, like:

  • Bearing failures
  • Machine imbalance
  • Misalignment
  • Electrical motor faults
  • Resonance/ Natural frequencies
  • Gearbox failures
  • Bent shafts
  • Cavitations or empty spaces in pumps
  • Critical speeds

Industrial Prominence of Equipment Health Monitoring 

Maintenance activities that rely on asset condition instead of a pre-established interval can tremendously improve the efficiency of maintenance activities. Accurately analyzing asset health can significantly reduce failures, which increases equipment availability and allows streamlined operations for a longer period. 

Maintenance teams that are well aware of the assets can make wiser maintenance decisions. Through advanced warning about possible breakdowns or machine failures, equipment monitoring allows you to implement planned repairs. Here are the advantages of equipment health monitoring: 

  • Increased uptime or minimized downtime
  • Reduced or zero unplanned failure
  • Minimized maintenance costs
  • Improved asset life
  • Reduced collateral asset damage
  • A high ease of prioritization and well-planned work orders
  • Great efficiency in maintenance practices and management

Exploring the Necessity of Vibration Analysis 

Prevents Costly Downtime 

Vibration monitoring can prevent costly downtime and help the process run without interruption. Identifying the condition of the equipment and detecting problems before they can cause failures helps you keep the machine running and reduce costs. This, in turn, reduces or eliminates losses due to machine breakdowns. 

Improves Overall Safety

When a machine runs roughly, it can cause hazardous conditions. With preemptive action, you can keep the employees secure and out of harm. Proactive maintenance lets you reduce costs in the long run and makes the machines safer for all those who work on and around them. With a reliable choice of machinery vibration analysis, you can stay proactive about workforce safety. 

Saves Costs on Repairs

With vibration analysis, you can save money on repairs. If an issue is found early, correcting it takes less effort, and you might not need to replace the machine. Additionally, with vibration monitoring, you can remain proactive about the equipment’s condition and prevent production failures.

Helps Understand Your Machine

The key advantage of vibration monitoring is that it lets you understand the equipment to keep the machines running more effectively for a longer time. Identifying the normal vibration measurements and knowing if something is wrong, enables you to recognize problems and make essential repairs right away. 

High Equipment Performance 

Machine vibration monitoring lets you get high performance from the equipment. With data to show when problems are identified, it becomes easy for you to determine how to trigger the machine’s performance. By sensing and analyzing vibration, you will be alarmed when it reaches a particular threshold, which keeps the machine efficiently running for longer. 

Vibration Analysis—Tools & Techniques 

  1. Vibration Sensors & Transducers

Vibration sensors can be deployed on the critical parts of machines that enable real-time monitoring of vibration patterns around the clock. It offers multiple benefits; for instance, continuous monitoring means you have more data that shows how your machine performs and its health over time. Vibration sensors can be both wired and wireless, which lets you stay alert to a problem and helps you protect the machine from major damage. 

2. Data Acquisition System

Vibration data acquisition systems offer simultaneously sampled and accurate vibration data measurements for motors, gearboxes, turbines, etc. These systems offer high levels of flexibility with a compact system instead of multiple equipment parts. They combine the complex functions for a user-friendly system that uses signals from sensors, which get sampled, converted into digital, and stored using a computer or any standalone equipment.

3. Data Analysis Software

Data analysis software is a tool that helps to process, manipulate, and analyze information to correlate the datasets for quality analysis such as content analysis, decision making, statistical analysis, confirmatory data analysis, transcription analysis, and grounded theory methodology.  It lets you calculate the vibration data, evaluate the frequency content of vibrations, merge the measurements, and set measurement settings before recording vibrations. 

Conducting Vibration Analysis

The standard process for performing vibration analysis is as follows:

  • Lay a baseline: Perform vibration analysis on equipment that operates with the ideal characteristics. Recording these vibration levels acts as the baseline for the machine. 

  • Build a routine: Analysis needs to be performed regularly and it’s essential to set an appropriate interval to implement vibration analysis. The interval should reflect the operating conditions and the characteristics of the machine. 

  • Standardize the procedure: Vibration analysis should be standardized with the use of the best tools and techniques. Using the same machine with consistent SOPs will help you derive comparable outcomes.

  • Ensure recordkeeping: The periodic analysis results need to be stored. It helps you maintain a record of the historical data on the equipment and ensures continued analysis. In the case of online monitoring software, it automatically stores the vibration data. 

  • Implement vibration analysis: The result of every inspection gets compared to the baseline data to understand the anomalies and potential defects. The findings are used to determine the desired maintenance work. 

Vibration Data Interpretation 

The data interpretation can be manual – with the help of an expert predictive maintenance engineer or automatic – with the help of predictive maintenance software. Presenting data is implemented in two ways:

Time domain: Representing physical values with amplitude along the y-axis and time along the x-axis.

Frequency domain/spectrum: Another perspective on visualizing the same data—frequency analysis represents time data as a series of sinus waves. The Fast Fourier transform the mathematical method, helps to change the function of time to a function of frequency. Here, amplitude is along the y-axis and frequency is along the x-axis. 

Integrating Vibration Analysis into Maintenance Programs

As vibration analysis monitors the vibrations of machines, analyzing them helps engineers gain insights into the condition of the equipment and predict when it could fail. Capturing vibration data and incorporating mathematical techniques for analysis form the first stages. 

A completely useful and operational predictive maintenance program demands that these tasks be integrated into the system to effectively use this information. By combining vibration analysis with other condition monitoring services, you can set limits on how the equipment works, get readings from instruments and sensors, and see graphs of the results. 

Dashboards and reports let the maintenance engineers identify trends and make decisions according to the data. The combination also lets you easily visualize the asset data in different ways, like sitemaps or schematics. 

Implementing Vibration Analysis against Equipment Failures

Vibration monitoring not only detects and alerts the maintenance experts when something goes wrong, but it also takes an additional step. It offers diagnosis against machine failure mode and gives your team solutions to such issues. 

At Ocean, we understand that your investment in vibration analysis is worthwhile and can help you with the top vibration analysis services that ensure the durability of the machines you use for your industrial operations. 

Through the best vibration analysis services, our team reduces the chances of unexpected downtime and mitigates losses, along with eradicating any need for equipment replacement during that downtime. If you wish to know more about the vibration analysis services Ocean offers to your business, please talk to us.

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