Operating industrial machinery doesn’t just simply end at the installation stage. In fact, once you actually own and operate them, you will come to realise that there is far more work involved.
No matter the type of machinery you own, you should understand that there is an extreme need to consistently monitor the state of your equipment every so often. From preventing unexpected breakdowns to maximising operational efficiency, getting a detailed analysis of your equipment’s health will help the machinery and business in the long run.
While there are many ways to do such a task, condition monitoring remains one of the most favoured methods among many industrial businesses.
Through this article, you will get a better understanding of what condition monitoring is and understand its uses and benefits for your business.
What Is It
Condition monitoring is basically a system or process which continuously monitors a machinery’ state and functioning parameters to help users grasp the current performance and health of the equipment. Essentially, it is to ensure the machinery is able to meet the demands of the operation.
How Does It Work
All in all, it really depends on the equipment as different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be assessed. Some equipment will vibrate at a particular frequency, so condition monitoring can be used to measure this vibration and take note of the trends and fluctuations of any changes in the operation of the machinery.
On the other hand, some equipment is to operate at a set level of lubrication. In this case, condition monitoring will have measurements of those levels ready to notify the crew of any problems. This is usually done through monitoring tools or dedicated sensors.
The analysis and information that is obtained once the process is completed will then be used to anticipate the equipment’s performance and any possibility of degradation – and to schedule maintenance, specifically, predictive maintenance.
If the worst comes to the worst while doing maintenance for your equipment, such as your generator, then it might be best to do generator overhauling to get a closer look. The engineer will be able to give you a clearer explanation of what’s going on with your equipment once a thorough examination is done.
Common Condition Monitoring Techniques
There are plenty of condition-based monitoring methods that are commonly used to evaluate the health of one’s equipment. Below are some of the common examples:
- Infrared: By assessing infrared radiation properties, IR cameras are able to detect high-temperature conditions in operating equipment to extract valuable conclusions.
- Oil analysis: Assesses the size and number of particles in a given sample to deduce asset wear.
- Vibration analysis: Vibration sensors are used to detect the vibration frequency of rotating equipment like motors and compressors. A rather high amount of vibration will indicate a potential failure in the equipment.
- Acoustic: For detecting liquid, gas or vacuum leaks.
- Electrical: Using a clamp on ammeters to record motor current readings.
- Ultrasonic: Able to detect deep subsurface defects like boat hull corrosion.
- Operational performance: Sensors which are used to measure different variables such as flow, temperature and pressure.
Now that you are aware of how condition monitoring works, you should understand why it is worthwhile for yourself to have it done on your equipment:
- Improves staff safety
- Builds intelligent analysis as time goes by
- Schedule maintenance whenever needed
- Boost operational efficiency
- Prevents catastrophic failure
- Catch small variations early on and make better predictions of potential faults
- Get a better understanding of your equipment
- Saves cost on downtime
Owning industrial machinery ultimately means that you have to check on the health and performance of your equipment at all times. Otherwise, if its an electric motor that you happen to own, then electric motor rewinds might be the next best thing to get your equipment fixed.