Valley Queen has shifted its focus to maximizing equipment uptime and eliminating unscheduled downtime with its expansion now complete. “We’re implementing continuous monitoring capabilities on all of our production equipment,” says Pulling. “If equipment goes down, production is halted. And if we have cheese in the vats being made at that time, it’s a big issue.”
He started by installing a series of Fluke 3561 FC Vibration Sensors on the large blower used to move cheese from the production room to the packaging room. These sensors are wireless condition monitoring devices for tracking machine vibrations and surface temperatures. They work hand in hand with eMaint Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software to help Valley Queen implement advanced maintenance management techniques. “The integration into eMaint was a huge factor in our purchase of the vibration sensors,” Pulling says.
So far, Pulling has also installed 3561 FC sensors on auger bearings, an electric motor, and pillow block bearings that connect to the blower’s centrifugal fan.
“We have installed three sets of sensors on high-RPM equipment that has not had any failures,” he explains. “But when the sensors show vibrations trending upwards, we know we need to schedule service soon.”
Pulling has identified other assets where the 3561 FC sensors would work well, including the ammonia compressors used for plant cooling.
“Eventually, we’re going to add these devices to those as well,” he continues. “As you can imagine, our cooling system is extremely critical. If that goes down, the whole plant goes down, and production comes to a halt.”