Vibration monitoring enables teams to predict when rotating equipment needs maintenance and, ultimately, to prevent equipment failure and unscheduled downtime.

Maintenance managers can use vibration monitoring on the most critical assets as well as often-ignored less critical assets.

However, before implementing vibration monitoring technology, you should have a strong understanding of how vibration monitoring works and also know the benefits of integrating vibration monitoring with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Vibration monitoring explained

At many companies today, their most critical assets have online condition monitoring systems that are triggered by sensors measuring the process feed, production rate, and operating parameters of temperature, vibration, and electrical load. Maintenance managers count on continuous vibration monitoring to ensure any bearing defects are detected and acted on before they progress to catastrophic damage.

A smart strategy for the other 90 percent or so of less critical assets is a tiered maintenance approach. Rather than ignore these assets, using vibration monitoring can help assure that a facility has the production capacity and support systems operating properly to avoid sudden, unforeseen production gaps.

Consider the potential fallout of maintenance teams ignoring less critical assets:

  • Many industrial processes require chilled water for cooling compressed air. If air compressors, a chilled water pump, or cooling tower pump fails, plant managers will need to shut down the entire process line.
  • In an industry such as metalworking, scrap conveyors under the floor are often ignored assets in the PM schedule. If a scrap conveyor falters and shuts down, an entire line must stop operation while it is repaired.
  • A similar scenario could occur with a worn overhead conveyor. But technicians often skip PM schedules for overhead conveyors in a warehouse or distribution facility due to the requirements for the technician to put on fall protection.
  • Chilled water pumps or tower water pumps supply cooling water to an extrusion process, and the loss of a water supply will scrap the batch. In some cases, this batch could have a value of more than $100,000.

Fluke 3561 FC Vibration Sensors empower maintenance teams to improve uptime by adding remote, live vibration monitoring to rotating equipment.

These sensors combined with Fluke Connect software capture triaxial vibration measurements of rotating equipment to notify users of changes before resulting in damaged equipment.

The Fluke Overall Vibration Severity (FOVS) scale provides color-coded graduation of triaxial forces, with vibration thresholds for 37 machine categories. Continuous monitoring generates an overall vibration level and alerts when a problem arises.

Vibration monitoring safety benefits

The Fluke 3561 FC Vibration Sensors also help increase technician safety. Technicians can remotely monitor rooftop air handling units or HVAC systems and can observe live measurements on a smartphone or desktop instead of climbing a ladder or walking across a roof.

Also, the sensors can provide early detection of mechanical faults due to misalignment, unbalance, looseness, and bearing wear, giving time to schedule an inspection and corrective repair instead of an emergency repair. A planned corrective repair can be up to three times as safe as an emergency corrective repair.

Vibration monitoring and CMMS integration

Integrating vibration monitoring with a CMMS provides a single view to help a maintenance manager prioritize his or her day.

The cloud-based eMaint CMMS encompasses functionality for managing work orders and work requests, preventive maintenance, purchasing and inventory control, planning and scheduling, asset history, cost tracking, condition monitoring, document storage, and robust reporting.

The Fluke 3561 FC Vibration Sensors store data in the cloud about every two minutes and the eMaint CMMS pulls this and other data from the Fluke Connect database by synchronizing the Asset ID.

Maintenance managers must manage their time. The CMMS helps by offering an overall view of the facility with all the vibration sensors in green or red status. In this single view, managers can assess their priorities for the day.

Maintenance teams save time and improve data accuracy by reducing route-based data collections. Visualization of this data in the eMaint asset record empowers the team’s decision-making because all the information team members need is in one place.

The CMMS generates a work order with asset and vibration-level information once the level rises above a defined threshold. Decision-making is automated by designating the level at which time action must be taken.

Every day, maintenance and reliability teams evaluate asset health. Even with planned maintenance, unscheduled downtime events can occur and draw the group into a reactive mode.

But access to real-time and historical vibration data in an eMaint CMMS extends asset life, improves the team’s decision-making, and saves time and money by having a single repository for all asset information.