Nowadays, no one needs to be convinced how important vibration diagnostics is in industrial plants.
Increasing competition and higher and higher demands on product quality, with downward pressure on the price, are causing many maintenance departments to decide to install accelerometers and conduct vibration diagnostics or purchase a vibration meter. Vibration diagnostics is the cheapest and most effective technique for keeping machines in good condition, extending maintenance intervals and increasing machine availability. If you’re afraid of making the wrong decisions when implementing vibration measurements in your plant, here are 12 tips on how to choose the optimal equipment.
12 tips on how to select optimal vibration diagnostic instruments:
1. Start with an uncomplicated vibration analyzer.
The easiest way to start vibration measurements is to buy an undemanding vibration meter or a simple analyzer. Overly complex functionality is difficult to learn at the initial stage and will quickly discourage you from making any measurements. A vibration meter should be simple enough to master basic vibration measurements in half an hour.
2. Choose a meter with a set of accessories and an accelerometer on a cable.
Leaving aside the cheapest products of questionable quality, for as little as several thousand zlotys you can equip yourself with a good-class vibration analyzer with a set of accessories, such as an accelerometer, a spiral cable for the accelerometer; a magnetic stand for the vibration sensor and a spike for measuring vibrations in hard-to-reach places or on non-magnetic machine parts. With the accelerometer built into the instrument, the readings depend on the force and angle of application. The only way to conduct vibrodiagnostics is with an accelerometer on a magnet, which gives a constant application force during vibration measurements.
Buying a vibration meter or vibration analyzer is an investment for years. The instrument must be of high quality and its purchase must pay for itself. Manufacturers of the best vibration meters on the market offer 3 or even 5 years warranty on their products, which proves the superior quality of their vibration analyzers.
5. What vibration measurement functions should my vibration meter have?
It is important that a vibration meter, or vibration analyzer, in addition to measuring basic parameters, such as the rms value of vibration velocity Vrms, according to ISO 10816, and vibration acceleration, should have the ability to generate at least a basic vibration spectrum, which will allow us to diagnose basic machine malfunctions. The best vibration analyzers can graphically hint, based on the analysis of the vibration spectrum, which malfunctions in the measured machine are dominant. It is worthwhile to use such hints when starting the adventure of vibration diagnostics.
6. Listen to the bearing.
Sometimes the observation of vibration values alone is insufficient. Especially for slow-speed machines, it is worth listening to the bearing. There are vibration analyzers with a built-in listening module and headset. When measuring vibration with an accelerometer, we additionally do some listening and quickly distinguish a defective bearing from a good one.
7. Measurement memory.
Another important feature is the vibrometer’s built-in memory. It is very inconvenient to take measurements and write down the results on a piece of paper in industrial conditions. The memory of measurements gives us a record of the vibration value and the date of measurement, which allows us to track the history of vibration changes of a particular machine during its operation.
8. Choose an analyzer with free software.
Ideally, if we receive with the vibration meter dedicated diagnostic software, which we install on the computer. Such software allows us to perform measurements in the so-called measurement path. This involves defining the appropriate vibration analysis, and then we walk with the analyzer according to the established route, taking vibration measurements of successive machines, applying the accelerometer and recording the collected vibration measurements in the meter. After ripping vibration data, we get trends of changes in the values of individual parameters in the diagnostic software, and we can perform vibration spectrum analysis.
9. Size matters.
Najlepiej aby analizator drgań był poręczny i niewielkich rozmiarów, podczas gdy przechodzimy wąskimi ścieżkami na hali produkcyjnej, a zwłaszcza gdy musimy trzymać się poręczy, chodząc z miernikiem drgań po schodach.
10. Battery in the vibration analyzer.
Portable instruments are powered by energy stored in batteries. Choose such a vibration analyzer that has a long operating time.
11. Built-in ISO 10816 (20816).
ISO 10816 is one of the basic standards for vibration measurements. The best vibration analyzers allow us to measure and immediately compare the measured vibration quantities with the warning and alarm thresholds defined in this standard. During the measurements, we are informed in real time with green, yellow and red colors in which range of vibration levels the machine is.
12. Use additional functions of the vibration analyzer.
Look for a vibration analyzer that has other additional functions besides vibration measurement that work well for vibration diagnostics. For example, a built-in stroboscope allows us to observe rotating machine parts while they are in motion, and by making rounds of vibration measurements we can check the condition of belts on occasion. The stroboscope will also be used to determine the rotational speed of the machine shaft, which is essential when conducting vibration diagnostics. If the analyzer still has a non-contact temperature measurement it is worth checking the temperature of the bearing housings on occasion, although the analysis of vibration signals gives us earlier and more precise diagnostic information.
We hope that our advice has helped you choose the optimum vibration analyzer complete with accelerometer and begin the adventure of vibration diagnostics, which will translate into savings in your plant, through better planning of repairs and increased machine availability.