Vibration Test Equipment -- A Condition Monitoring Tool
Condition monitoring involves examining a parameter of condition of equipment or machinery as a predictive maintenance measure. Machines with defects evidently have more risk of failure than those free of defects. Condition monitoring ensures on-time scheduling of maintenance and other such measures to avoid failure of machinery.
Vibrations in some cases such as the motion of a tuning fork and the drone of a loudspeaker are desirable since they play a vital role in the working of the equipment. However, in most other cases, vibration harms the equipment by wasting energy and creating unwanted sound. Such vibration is usually caused by imbalance in rotating parts and uneven friction.
Vibration testing equipment is a commonly used tool to carry out exhaustive condition monitoring exercises. The dawn of Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) mathematical method made available portable spectrum analysis equipment to measure machinery vibration. Mechanical conditions of a machine can now be analyzed even while it is in operation. Traditionally, information from vibration sensors is recorded and analyzed through portable vibration testing systems.
Such systems enable engineers to survey existing vibrations and predict future ones as well as their impact, thus helping in the development of mitigation measures. For large industrial set-ups and expensive equipment, this acts as a cost-effective condition monitoring measure.
Condition monitoring systems with a strong emphasis on vibration testing have become a benchmark in identification and prevention of failures, especially for rotating equipment. Effective vibration analysis for such equipment involves installation of vibration testers and comparison of data with baseline values to assess the defects, if any.
Equipment such as cooling tower fans, which find application in several industries to remove heat from other material is prone to wear-and-tear due to vibrations and thus requires regular condition monitoring. The continuous use of its fan, blade, gear, motor and bearing cause vibrations and irregular monitoring of this equipment can be catastrophic. Vibration testing equipment can measure the expected gear mesh frequency, blade passage, bearing defect frequencies, fan balance and motor alignment.
The ever-growing maintenance costs compel industries to sustain the health of their equipments. The introduction of new-age vibration analysis equipment and portable vibration testers allow engineers to monitor vital parameters of the equipment and troubleshoot before breakdown. Implementation of robust vibration testing equipment is necessary to derive at a quality vibration analysis and condition monitoring exercise. Now, vibration analyzers also come with an online monitoring unit, which provides real-time information for multiple machines in a plant. These advancements in condition monitoring processes save both time and money.