Precision Shaft Alignment and Vibration Testing of Fire Pumps

Fire pumps are probably THE MOST CRITICAL machines in industrial and commercial buildings.  If they don’t work when they are supposed to, no other machine in the building matters. A fire pump needs to be reliable enough to run for a few hours.  After that, either the fire is out, or the building is gone. …

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The Maintenance Supervisor’s 5 Questions

I’ve never been a maintenance supervisor, but I have worked for several.  And when a machine has had problems, most maintenance supervisors have 5 questions: What’s wrong with it? How bad is it? How much longer can we run it? What do we have to do to fix it? (…and if they’re really good) What…

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Perspective

I don’t know about you, but in my nearly 45 years in industrial maintenance, there have been times when I felt stumped when trying to solve a problem. Sometimes you can just walk away and the solution comes to you while performing another task. Other times, a colleague or coworker may come along and have…

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Thoughts on a New Machine Setup

There are numerous items to be considered when performing an initial inspection for a vibration analysis route setup. All things from safety considerations to machine information, smells, and sounds need to be observed and documented. First and foremost is SAFETY!! Are there exposed shafts, sheaves, belts, or nip points? Does an oily or slippery floor…

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Utilizing Phase to Confirm Machine Faults

An illustrated chart depicts phase

It’s on all of the vibration fault charts, it’s taught in vibration classes, and it’s used for balancing – but how often is phase actually used by vibration analysts to confirm faults? Using phase analysis to prove faults detected during an inspection can really help to verify issues on your machines. Phase, particularly cross-channel phase…

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Understanding the ISO 10816-3 Vibration Severity Chart

The ISO-10816 Vibration Severity Chart hovers above industrial machinery.

The Smart Machine Checker (SMC), and the Falcon (vibration data collector/analyzer) use Accurex™ automatic diagnostic software to determine vibration problems on rotating equipment. Accurex™ performs a first order diagnostic based on ISO 10816-3 specifications (based on overall vibration levels in velocity, in inches per second/peak, or mm/sec/rms), and a second order diagnostic based on several…

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An Overview of Vibration Transducers

What are vibration transducers? Vibration transducers used for machinery evaluations are devices that measure displacement of a shaft or motion of a structure and convert this motion into electrical signals. There are three basic types of vibration transducers: Accelerometers  Velocity transducers  Non-contact Displacement transducers Features of vibration transducers Of these three types of transducers, both…

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Static, Couple, and Dynamic Unbalance

According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), unbalance is “that condition which exists in a rotor when the vibratory force or motion is imparted to bearings as a result of centrifugal forces”. In other words, unbalance is an unequal weight distribution of a rotor around its rotating centerline. The rotating centerline or rotational axis…

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Implementing a Hybrid Model to Monitor Machinery Vibration

Monitoring machinery vibration can use many tools and models, including a hybrid model. Some of the monitoring tools available today include: Portable vibration data collectors and analyzers.  Short-term surveillance vibration data collectors and analyzers (which can be installed temporarily). Embedded sensors mounted to equipment which can monitor vibration, temperatures, and other inputs. Permanently mounted accelerometers…

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A Handy Guide to Balancing Rotating Machinery

icon of a fan with a spot indicating a balancing weight.

Balancing rotating machinery is mostly math, with a bit of common sense and experience thrown in. The math is constant, so here are some tips to help with the common sense and experience part. Preparing to balance Inspect before you balance I once balanced a fan by pulling an air filter out of the fan…

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Using a Strobe Light to Verify RPM

Knowing the correct rotational speed is critical when performing machinery diagnostics. A strobe light can be an excellent tool for determining speed. Look for a unique mark such as a keyway, piece of tape, etc. to use as a reference. You will adjust the flash rate of the strobe light until you only see one…

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“Mic” Your Shims Before Alignment!

stack of shims

Have you ever added the number of shims your laser alignment tool or dial indicator tells you to during an alignment only to find your machine is still out of alignment? This is a frustrating but common occurrence. Was it a calculation error or did your alignment tool give you the wrong measurement? More than…

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What is Machine Misalignment Costing You?

We often hear from clients that machine misalignment is a costly and inconvenient problem. But, just how costly is it? It is far more expensive than most people realize, especially when you take today’s supply chain concerns into account. Between downtime, equipment damages, overtime for repairs, and supply chain interruptions, a fairly minor amount of misalignment…

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An Old Maintenance Mechanic’s Look at the Next Generation

This grainy photo was from my last day at a Weyerhaeuser mill in 1987.  I was a 26 year old millwright.  If you look closely, you’ll see an IBM computer in the storeroom.  We had another one we used for running Palomar Microlog vibration data collection.  We had a first generation laser alignment tool, but…

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4 Challenges Maintenance Teams Face

Our customers come from a wide range of industries, but they share many of the same pain points in their facilities. Over the years, we’ve consulted our customers to better understand these pain points and how our technology solutions can help to alleviate them. We found the following 4 issues resonated with the majority: Lack…

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