As machines, or parts of machines rotate and move, vibration is preventing a level flow of energy. When that flow is interrupted, noise is created and then shaking occurs. This is usually due to when equipment is stressed or certain components are at the end of their use, such as gears, belts or bearings. The result is often failure.
Vibration sensors are a key part of any predictive maintenance strategy, with one study finding 90% of machinery benefits from condition monitoring, including vibration sensors. They sense a variety of different conditions including improper calibrations, incorrect fan speeds and excessive vibration – and when these abnormal patterns are identified, they can send an alert to your CMMS, which can then trigger a workflow such as sending out an engineer to inspect. They allow businesses to be notified of potential problems in production and manufacturing facilities early, helping to avoid future breakdowns.
Where are they used?
We’ve put together a series of use cases to help identify how vibration sensors benefit businesses and play a significant role in predictive maintenance programs.
Fans and Compressors
Playing a huge role in industrial equipment and manufacturing clean rooms, HVAC systems need working fans and compressors to run smoothly and efficiently. Vibration sensors can be used to monitor many different assets within the machinery, with notifications being sent to relevant members of the workforce when problems are detected.
Water Pump Monitoring
Faulty pumps can become a huge issue for water and wastewater industries, preventing their customers from gaining access to clean water. However, with vibration sensors, issues can be identified immediately. When placed on condensers and water pumps, they can monitor any excessive motion in bearings, motors or fans. Considering the significant financial implications of pump downtime, it’s easy to see why many businesses have opted for their use.
Vibration sensors are perfect for the wind turbine industry. Optimal rotor speeds are usually between 5 rpm and 30 rpm so sensors are used to easily measure and monitor frequencies of gear mesh and bearding defects. All technicians have to do is wait for the data to be reported on the CMMS and decide when to schedule repairs.
Motors, Belts, Gearboxes and Chillers
Any equipment which uses motors, belts, gearboxes or conveyor belts will benefit from using vibration sensors to monitor the system. For example, if a production line is held up in food manufacturing it can affect the whole supply chain. With data from vibration sensors being analysed continuously, it can be used to support predictive maintenance to avoid downtime in the future.
Most rotating equipment features contact bearings and such machinery depends on specific bearings working perfectly with shafts, nuts, housing and spacers to function correctly. Whilst bearing fatigue has been the go-to measure of failure previously, more recent studies suggest not even 3% of failures are down to this problem. More common faults are contaminated bearings, poor lubrication and misalignment, all of which are caused by vibration. Technology provides managers with these alerts in real-time.
Vibration Sensor Benefits
- Predictability: provide maintenance staff with adequate time to schedule in repairs and order required parts.
- Revenue: have fewer unexpected and serious issues to prevent stoppages and help the bottom line.
- Reliability: have fewer disastrous or unanticipated failures as problem areas are identified before failure.
- Additional maintenance intervals: extend the use time of equipment and schedule maintenance when it’s needed.
- Peace of mind: have confidence in budgeting, maintenance schedules and productivity estimates.
Vibration analysis is an important part of machinery maintenance and, as outlined above, you can see how effective it is for businesses. If you would like to improve your existing predictive maintenance strategy, vibration sensors are surely a worthy consideration. Learn more about the benefits they could provide your business when you sign up for your free trial and demo.