Frederick 's BLOG


Vibration Analysis - Prevent Unplanned Downtime

Machinery vibration is often dismissed under the assumption nothing can be done to correct it. When noise and/or vibration appears, it typically indicates an underlying root cause leading to deviation from ideal operating conditions. In this blog post, we’ll provide a few of many recommendations on avoiding unplanned downtime, or in more severe cases, catastrophic failure using vibration analysis.

Modern-day vibration analysis is commonly practiced in two ways: 1) Mounting a stationary online system and permanent accelerometers that collect data continuously and synchronously, or 2) Periodic, route-based measurements are collected with a portable hand-held analyzer. Stationary systems can be programmed to send alerts when potential performance issues are detected, ideal for identifying and measuring transient events. Vibration data from a portable hand-held analyzer can be studied periodically to monitor the mechanical health of your assets, ideal for repetitive vibrations that get worse over time. These condition monitoring systems can detect a plethora of mechanical (and even electrical) defects such as misalignment, excessive gear mesh, unbalance, bearing defects, broken/cracked rotor bars, eccentric rotors, to name a few.

Vibration analysis is a powerful tool and must be treated as an investment in the health and reliability of your machinery, considering the cost of hardware, system installation, training of personnel, and personnel data interpretation. This approach is achievable and can be rather successful, as has been demonstrated in the past. However, should you wish to forgo the complexities and cost of incorporating an in-house program, there are reputable mechanical diagnostic firms with years of experience analyzing and translating machinery vibration data that can be brought in to assist. 

For example, an industrial customer in the Florida Keys is enrolled in a custom, quarterly condition monitoring program to trend vibration data over time. This program allows AME to identify mechanical (and electrical) issues before potential failure. AME travels to the Florida Keys every three months and collects vibration data on 21 machine trains (44 machines) in one day. Upon return, the analyst prepares an Executive Summary with stoplight level simplicity of Red for Alarms, Yellow for Warnings, and Green for machinery in Good condition. Should a machine fall within the Red or Yellow category, a resultant statement and recommendation are provided based on the data.

During a recent trip, a vertical pump exhibited high vibrations in the motor. This was caused by a worn journal bearing, whose excessive clearances allow the motor to oscillate eccentrically. There were also diesel-driven pumps demonstrating potential structural/foundation issues, we are currently pursuing a Motion Amplification Survey to determine the root cause (Stay Tuned!).

Through the practice of vibration analysis, several mechanical and electrical failures can be detected, a majority of which long before they happen. Machinery asset lifecycles will be improved, allowing you to get the most out of your investment. Machinery running at optimal conditions saves companies significant amounts of money by minimizing labor and material costs for repairs as well as minimizing lost production. 

Contact Advanced Mechanical Enterprises/AME to learn how one of our customers saved more than $7,000.00+ annually using vibration analysis.

Advanced Mechanical Enterprises/AME is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We have technicians and engineers ready to mobilize worldwide.

Increase Your Machinery's Reliability