Is It Mechanical or Electrical?

Analyzing vibration data can be a difficult job. Using VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) motors can make it even more difficult. Pattern recognition is a huge part of this process. However, diagnosing between electrical and mechanical vibration patterns can be challenging.   Is it a Mechanical or Electrical Problem? First, a straightforward way to distinguish between…

Read More

Closing the Loop in Reliability

The Journey of Reliability A machine is identified by the vibration analyst and recommendations are made for repair, the planner orders the parts, management gets together and determines when the repairs are made, and the maintenance team carries out the plan to replace the defective component. Success! We averted disaster once again! … And the…

Read More

Keep It Simple: Common Vibration Problems to Master

Over the years when training “new” vibration analysts, I stress for them to keep it simple. Many analysts believe that you must review time waveform data to analyze all machinery problems. This is not true. However, some problems are impossible to diagnose without it.   Common Machinery Problems in Industry A majority of plant machinery…

Read More

Resonance in Equipment Reliability

Resonance, critical speed, and natural frequency are all very similar terms and refer to the same phenomenon. An increase in equipment vibration, not relating directly to a specific component, is oftentimes caused by one of the many component natural frequencies that are present on every system or object that exists in the known universe. It…

Read More

Good Vibration Data vs Bad Vibration Data

Good and bad data from an industrial machine.

It is important in vibration analysis to know whether the vibration data you are looking at is actually “good data”. Below is a review of the causes and symptoms of junk data, as well as some tips to improve data quality overall in the future.   Reasons for Bad Data A poor electrical connection is…

Read More

Performing Shaft Alignment on a Caterpillar!

Maintenance worker looks at 1000 hp Caterpillar engine attached to a pump in an industrial setting.

Aligning motors to pumps, fans, compressors, etc., it’s what we do. But occasionally we get to assist a customer perform some real “millwright” work! Case in point – a 1000HP Caterpillar engine, driving a backup floodwater pump for a large municipality in the southeast US. This pump is critical to prevent flood water from mixing…

Read More

The Basics of Fans – Know Your Machines

A large metal fan is connected to a gearbox in an industrial environment.

Fans are a very common component in industry, they are used to move air from one place to another.  Fans are used in dust collection, supplying air to boilers, provide ventilation to factories, are used in the manufacturing process and more. Even your HVAC system at home has a fan/blower in it to move the…

Read More

The 5 Questions No Maintenance Supervisor Should Ask

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? What can we do to prevent…

Read More


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…

Read More

Vibration Analysis Routes – Setup Considerations

A long row of centrifugal pumps are lined up in an industrial setting, such as what you would see when building a vibration analysis route.

There are numerous items to be considered when performing an initial inspection while setting up vibration analysis routes. All things from safety considerations to machine information, smells, and sounds need to be observed and documented.   Safety The first and most important thing to consider when inspecting for a route is safety. Here are some…

Read More

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…

Read More

Composite Pump Base?

We have written numerous blogs on pump bases, they still at times contribute to precision shaft alignment challenges. A recent class at a wastewater treatment plant, was having difficulty controlling soft foot on several different pump skids with composite bases. Previous blogs have described how a bad base can contribute to soft foot. In this…

Read More

Taking Care of your Spares

Rotating equipment, either in storage, or down for long periods of time, should be rotated on a regular basis. This prevents two things: rust forming in the bearings, gears, etc., due to lubricant settling into the reservoir. false brinelling, which is micro-spalling of the bearing raceways due to impacting. This occurs when vibration is present…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More