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Online Condition Monitoring systems track machine vibration and other relevant machine condition parameters around the clock so you can trend and analyze data. Entire plant sections or only critical machines can be monitored with online systems to optimize plant availability. The Fluke Reliability solutions from Pruftechnik and Fluke below alert you to abnormal readings requiring action and help you extend asset life.

Three-Phase Power Monitoring FAQ

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What is an Example of Condition Monitoring?

Condition monitoring uses sensors and hand-held devices to measure the “vital signs” of your equipment, or key indicators of equipment performance and health. For example, condition monitoring can be used to measure your machinery’s power usage, temperature, vibration frequency, and more. They alert you to machine faults early, so that you can make repairs and avoid unplanned downtime.

One of the most common forms of condition monitoring is vibration monitoring. This is because a change in vibration patterns is often one of the first indicators of equipment failure. In fact, vibration monitors can identify defects in your rotating machinery months before the faults turn into a serious problem.

However, there are many different types of condition monitoring tools in addition to vibration monitoring that can help you get ahead of maintenance problems. Power monitors, for example, are valuable condition monitoring tools for tracking the health of your electric devices. Power monitors measure changes in assets’ energy consumption. They also measure fluctuations in current, voltage, and frequency. Changes in these areas can point to safety issues that your maintenance teams need to address quickly. They can also indicate significant wear and tear on parts, meaning that you need to replace or repair a component.

Meanwhile, temperature monitors can alert you to unexpected changes in equipment temperature so you can quickly identify and resolve issues like equipment overheating.

What is Vibration Monitoring?

Vibration monitoring devices measure the amplitude, frequency, or intensity of the vibrations emitted by any rotating piece of machinery, including motors, fans, pumps, and more.

Every piece of rotating equipment has its own vibration signature. A machine’s baseline, healthy vibration patterns can be determined by taking a reading of the equipment when it is in optimal running condition.

Once the normal baseline is determined, maintenance teams can use either handheld vibration meters or vibration monitoring sensors affixed to key points on the machine to measure the machine’s vibrations over time. If the vibration pattern changes, it’s probably because there is a fault in the machine. Vibration monitoring can pick up on even minor defects in your machinery, giving your maintenance teams plenty of time to make repairs before the problem worsens.

Vibration monitoring sensors can measure vibrations continuously and alert you to any changes in the machine’s condition in real-time. Wireless sensors can send that data straight to your smartphone or tablet. You can also use data analytics software to analyze your vibration data over time and make smart predictions about your machine’s health, performance, and future maintenance requirements.

How is Vibration Measured?

Technicians measure vibrations near the machine’s bearings. That’s because the bearings are often the first location where rotating machines show signs of defects or damage. If your technicians are using a hand-held vibration meter, they will take vibration readings on a regular, scheduled basis.

If you’re using a vibration sensor, the sensor will monitor vibration continuously, giving you the opportunity to identify issues in between scheduled maintenance visits. Depending on the model, you can also stream your data to a data analytics program so that you can analyze your vibration data in real time.

There are many different types of vibration sensors, but the most commonly used sensor is an accelerometer. Today’s vast majority of vibration sensors are accelerometers, which measure acceleration of forces acting on an object and produce electrical signals proportional to forces that they are measuring.

Learn more about the different types of vibration sensors.

What Machine Faults Can be Caught with Vibration Monitoring?

Vibration monitoring can point to variety of issues, including early bearing wear, shaft misalignment, loose parts, and more. Abnormal vibration patterns can also indicate components that were installed incorrectly. Changes in your machine’s vibration patterns can also indicate problems with the gear box or the coupling. They can also be a sign of hairline cracks in your machinery.

Vibration sensors can catch even tiny changes in vibrations that are too subtle for humans to perceive by touch or sight. Modern sensors are also small enough to be placed in hard-to-reach locations, so that you can measure vibrations from different machine parts that are difficult to access with a handheld device. With sensors monitoring multiple areas of the machine, you can easily identify where the problem is occurring and quickly diagnose the issue. Once you know where the source of the trouble is, your technicians can go in and repair the problem before it becomes serious.

Why is Condition Monitoring Important?

Condition monitoring is a key component of any predictive maintenance strategy. Condition monitoring helps reduce unplanned downtime by enabling you catch problems before they lead to failure. This further reduces maintenance costs and increases machine availability and productivity.

In the past, condition monitoring was expensive and was primarily used on large-scale equipment like HVACs. Today, however, the technology is affordable even the leanest budgets. With the costs saved by reduced maintenance and increased uptime, condition monitoring quickly pays for itself.

Condition monitoring is also turning into a necessity. Most operations have more complex equipment than in the past, all while facing increased competition and higher customer expectations. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to avoid any breakdowns that reduce productivity, or worse, delay production and erode customer confidence and loyalty. In contrast, operations with a robust condition monitoring program can not only get ahead of these issues, but also stay ahead of the competition.