Historically, reliability was realized through Preventative Maintenance (PM). It was routine to replace components on a time schedule based on best practices at the time. This included bearings, seals and lubrication. However, it was realized that these compenents could be perfectly fine and did not need replacement. Predictive Maintenance (PdM) soon replaced PM schedules. With PdM came an even increasing need for diagnostic tools. Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), of which PdM is one of the tools, relies heavily on diagnostic information. Vibration monitoring continues to be one of these tools.
It is now quite common for critical equipment to use cotinuous vibration monitoring. As with any technology, continuous vibration monitoring equipment has also dramatically improved with the increasing need for diagnostic equipment. The problem is that older technology continues to be used for critical equipment within a plant. This provides and excellent opportunity to improve your RCM program. As equipment becomes more expensive (and more critical) it is of paramount importance to use the best diagnostic equipment available.
Traditional vibration monitoring, like shock pulse and spike energy, only focusses on frequencies less than 1000 Hz. This is because analog equipment cannot adequately detect vibrations above this frequency. Above this frequency, however, is where your best predictability of failure resides. Some manufacturers have attempted to measure in this range by using enveloping or demodulation, but they have not produced useful results. It is a digital detection method and supporting digital processing method that do.
At over 50,000 measurement per second, PeakVue technology provides such a solution. By measuring vibration about 1000 Hz and producing a curve in terms of gravity (Gs), you can realize vibration problems long before analog equipment can. Metal-to-metal contact in bearings and gears can now be detected, even in the slowest equipment, like mixer drives. It will also detect pump cavitation and loss of lubrication, which helps you diagnose other problems in the process. This technology is also available with WirelessHART protocol. Utilizing this technology with a continuous vibration monitor, it can help you realize an excellent RCM program.
In closing my suggestion is that PeakVue continuous vibration monitoring be used on critical equipment. Less critical equipment, or equipment where spares are available, can continue to use analog equipment. Routine portable vibration analysis can continued to be used on the balance of your equipment. You now have a strategy for a great RCM program.
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