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Improve Your Strategy With Condition Monitoring.

Improve Your Strategy With Condition Monitoring.

Identification of a failure mode does not necessarily mean that an immediate maintenance action is needed. Just when maintenance action must be taken is the toughest part of managing a CBM programme! Your reputation may depend on it!! The best course is to involve as many informed people in the decision making process.

Immediately after a machine has been repaired it should be subject to condition monitoring testing. This will potentially identify assembly or installation faults that may lead to early failure (infant mortality) or affirm the quality of improvement achieved through the application of improved work practices or maintenance standards. (Read More)

The most commonly used techniques of condition monitoring are;

  • Vibration Measurement and Analysis
  • Oil Condition and Wear Debris Analysis
  • Thermography
  • NDT, especially thickness testing
  • Performance trending, e.g. flow rate measurement

The developing focus is upon integrated condition monitoring giving better forecasts of remaining life. Of these, vibration is the most widely used and lends itself to detection of a wide range of faults.

Oil analysis is a particularly powerful technique for the monitoring of gearboxes and also reciprocating machinery.

The benefits of Thermography in surveys of electrical switchboards has long been recognized. It is now being used more widely for rotating equipment misalignment and wrong tolerance-and-fit problems. Operations personnel can use thermography to identify pipe blockages and sediment build-up in tanks where higher temperature fluids are involved.

Condition Monitoring in the Real World

There is a wide acceptance of Condition Monitoring, but there are a number of limiting factors, most coming from a historical context of the application being seen as the answer to all of maintenance’s needs;

  • CM is often used as a ‘stand alone’ maintenance concept
  • Frequently CM is simply used for Failure Prediction, little else is asked for or expected
  • Too often CM has been driven from the bottom upward
  • CM alone does not provide for reliability
  • CM does not prevent failure – it detects and predicts it.

A very valuable, but often under utilised, source of plant condition information is the data that is available through the process control instrumentation. Increasingly this data is being accessed for maintenance purposes. Operators can be trained to monitor this data in order to draw attention to meaningful changes in equipment operation.

This issue aims to deliver some of the latest tools and techniques that are available to today’s maintenance professional.

Michael Dominguez, Publisher.