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January 6, 2022

Implementing a Hybrid Model to Monitor Machinery Vibration

By Stan Riddle

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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 (which can be either wired or wireless) to provide either intermittent, or constant monitoring. 

Data from these solutions can be monitored manually by an analyst, fed into control room systems, an automated analysis software, or a hybrid model of the three. 

How to choose the best solution

All of these options beg the question “which solution is best for me?” To answer this question, consider some points: 

  • Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. 
  • What is the payoff versus the cost? 
  • Must you choose only one? (No)

Why is a hybrid model beneficial?

I offer this explanation with a real-life example of a customer of ours.

In the 1980’s, this company began a vibration analysis program, using in-house maintenance and engineering personnel who were sent to vibration analysis training. A few years later, they installed permanent vibration monitoring equipment on their most critical assets. This meant they had permanent surveillance on critical machines and periodic monitoring on less critical equipment. In the early 2000’s, they decided to contract out vibration analysis (due to retirements) and brought in an outside company who based a trained vibration analyst on-site five days per week. 

But as vibration analysis technologies continued to innovate, they now have:

  • Embedded sensors, which send alerts (via text message) when overall vibration exceeds alarm levels;
  • A portable vibration analyzer (Acoem SMC) for mechanics to use on their own to analyze machines which are reported to maintenance;
  • A part-time (on site) vibration analyst contractor, who collects monthly vibration data on critical machines using a traditional vibration analyzer and software; and
  • Permanent vibration monitoring fed into their control room operators, on their most critical machines. 

Is this overkill? Consider the following and you decide…

  • Maintenance overtime hours have been reduced significantly.
  • Their downtime due to machine breakdowns has been reduced to near zero.  
  • “Maintenance rework” (going back to make a second repair, because the first did not fix the problem) was reduced to zero. 
  • Plant productivity has increased markedly. 
  • Maintenance personnel injuries have been reduced. Some of this may be attributable to finding and repairing equipment problems before catastrophic damage occurs.

This company made a significant investment in improving their equipment maintenance and continued to adapt their strategy as their needs and technology changed. Over time, the costs have been more than offset by improvements in efficiency, repair costs, and reduced wrench time.

Ready to learn more about how to implement a hybrid vibration monitoring model at your plant today? Contact us to learn more.

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