Electric motors are the heart of your plant. If they stop working, an entire line could, well, die. Just like diagnostic testing in the medical field can increase life expectancy, reliability testing in industry can extend the life of your plant equipment.
The parallels between medical diagnostic testing and industrial predictive services are numerous. Just as medical testing diagnoses illness and disease at early stages of development and allows for appropriate proactive action, industrial predictive technologies, as part of a reliability program, extend the life of plant equipment.
- Temperature measurements
While elevated body temperature is a sign of infection, elevated bearing temperature is a strong indicator of damage to bearings or poor lubrication.
- Ultrasonic testing
In medicine, ultrasound tests are used to look for abnormalities in pregnancy or to find tumors. In industry, ultrasound can detect any number of problems including air leaks, roller bearing damage and corona discharge in electrical circuits.
- EKG and Vibration analysis
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a painless test to monitor your heart. Vibration analysis determines the mechanical condition of various components of rotating machinery. Among other problems, it can detect imbalance, looseness, and misalignment.
- Blood testing and Oil testing
Blood testing is used to detect a broad spectrum of medical conditions, and can determine the “quality” of the blood. In industry, oil testing can check for the “quality” of the lubricant and look for foreign substances.
- Electromyogram (EMG) and Modal analysis
An electromyogram measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction. The delay between a nerve impulse and muscle contraction is measured.
Modal analysis cross-channel vibration tests measure the phase delay between an input force and the resultant vibration motion.
There are a wide variety of other tests in the medical and industrial fields that share a commonality. For more detailed examples that will help predictive maintenance “practitioners” increase the reliability and extend the useful life of plant equipment, please download the free eBook, Reliability Maintenance is Good Medicine.
About the author:
Tom Spettel is a Sr. Engineer at HECO, Inc. He is an ANSI/ISO Certified, Category IV Vibration Analyst. Tom’s background includes serving as an US Army Medical Specialist. He then worked in a chemical plant/refinery supervising inspections on large steam turbines, compressors, and pumps. Later, he became a vibration analyst, where he saw the similarities to the medical field.