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Recent Vibration Analysis & Continuous Monitoring Advances



Information is everywhere in today’s world. It is the way individuals and companies alike make decisions. Insurance companies have a device you can plug into your car to gather information to tell them about your driving habits. They gather the information about you to make a rate determination on what they should charge you for your premium. Facebook, Twitter, the internet in general gives you so much social information, breaking news, etc. all this information is readily accessible and even alerts you when it happens. The “internet of things” or IOT is very active - Why should maintenance and reliability be any different?

The truth is that maintenance and reliability is changing and predictive maintenance, more specifically vibration, is leading the way. Vibration analysis for the last 30+ years has been one the most respected of the predictive technologies. Traditional vibration analysis includes a routine survey of critical rotating equipment on a regular basis. Some do it monthly, some bi-monthly, quarterly, or a variety of other timeframes. It only make sense that as one of the more respected and trusted technologies that vibration is one of the main technologies where there have been significant recent advances.

ITTGoulds_I-Alert_2_Cube.jpgLet’s be clear, the technology in regards to vibration analysis is not changing, the way we access the information is changing due to sensor, radio (for wireless), and battery technology advances. Where you used to have a large battery powered “data collector” you know have applications that connect to tablets, iPads, and your smartphones. Some work on the same basis as the routine data collection methods but others work as continuous monitoring devices that watch the machine while you are not there. An example of one of these devices is the ITT iAlert2 Equipment Health Monitor which uses a MEMS (micro-chip) accelerometer, lithium ion battery, and Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone or tablet. It collects data while you are not there and reports it back to you when you can be. The devices goes as far to even automatically collect FFT and time waveform data when it hits an alarm level for two consecutive readings – no matter if you are there or not! I view this as a hybrid of continuous monitoring and the routine data collection and analysis: an extra set of eyes for you in-between routine surveys and easily useable in hard to reach applications. The three technologies of accelerometer advances, battery advances, and longer-range Bluetooth all are what makes a device such as this able to do what it does.

itt-prosmart-video-still.jpgThen you have full-fledged continuous monitoring systems like the ITT ProSmart Wireless Condition Monitor or many other wired/wireless systems. Where you do not even have to go to the machine to collect data or get alerts. Alerts are emailed or texted to you when an anomaly occurs no matter if it’s the middle of the night or middle of the day. You then can fully analyze a machine right from your computer, anywhere in the world. It’s like having a data collector on the machine 24/7 telling you when there is an issue. Collecting, analyzing, and talking to the machine, right from your home or office.

There are so many devices and technologies available for use and purchase. Yet we find where people do not even realize that these devices exist. On top of that price points on these technologies are becoming lower and lower making them affordable for every industrial facility. They exists, they are real, and they are affordable. They give you information that you can then use to make decisions on the plant floor that will help to keep your operation running. Isn’t that what it’s all about?


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Justin Hatfield

HECO - All Systems Go



About the author:

 Justin Hatfield  is Vice President of Operations of HECO. He is responsible for Electric Motor & Drive Sales, Electric Motor & Generator Repairs, Spare Solutions, and Predictive Services. Justin was instrumental in developing HECO MAPPS(Motor And Powertrain Performance Systems)(Motor And Powertrain Performance Systems) which focuses on “why” you have a motor problem instead of simply “What” product or service should be recommended. HECO is an EASA Accredited Service Center.

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