From Reactive to Proactive: Revolutionizing Maintenance with Machine Condition Monitoring

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Predictive and proactive maintenance strategies are some of the most effective techniques embraced by various industries to avoid potential machine downtime. Manufacturers need to have the right equipment to monitor their machine’s health and have a strategic plan for their maintenance.

In today’s competitive world, all enterprises must have real-time machine condition monitoring to ensure tracking of their equipment’s health and make informed decisions about maintenance.

In this article, let’s explore what machine condition monitoring is, how it helps manufacturers, and how to build a predictive maintenance program based on the monitoring.

What is Machine Condition Monitoring?

Condition monitoring is the capability to evaluate any machine’s health constantly. Monitoring a machine’s condition can include factors like its efficiency, wear and tear on parts, and others. It is crucial to track the conditions of the machine because the loss in efficiency might indicate an underlying condition. Tracking wear and tear of components will help in evaluating the performance indicators of the machine like the output of defective parts, usage, and maintenance statistics.

Many manufacturers today rely on traditional maintenance strategies. They have a reactive or calendar-based approach for their equipment maintenance. One of the crucial reasons for this maintenance approach is the lack of real-time data to make informed decisions about their equipment’s operational health.

Hence, the only option they have for their equipment maintenance is to wait for the schedule or till it stops working. However, these are not efficient solutions as they might lead to a huge machine downtime or higher maintenance costs. Proactive machine condition monitoring is an effective solution that manufacturers can adopt to optimize their equipment’s health.

What are the Advantages of Proactive Machine Condition Monitoring?

Many manufacturers that proactively track their equipment’s health have a positive impact on their operations. The following are the benefits of tracking the machine’s health:

  • It is an essential step to keep all the workforce and resources collectively safe at the manufacturing unit.
  • Manufacturers can significantly reduce the unplanned downtime resulting from an unexpected machine failure. Servicing various equipment and addressing all the machine issues at the same time will help eliminate the risks of unplanned downtime.
  • Proactive machine condition monitoring will also aid in reducing the unnecessary costs associated with unserviced equipment with higher wear and tear.

Tracking the machine’s health proactively is a tried and tested procedure to maintain a variety of industrial tools effectively. Manufacturers are exploring opportunities to improve their maintenance strategies to optimize their operations.

The best machine condition monitoring system can do wonders for manufacturers from a financial, operational, and safety perspective. An all-inclusive condition monitoring equipment is highly reliable and has been proven beneficial for various manufacturing industries. Enterprises that adopt preventative maintenance strategies have low risk and high rewards.

Strategies to Develop a Proactive Machine Condition Monitoring Program

Let’s now look at how can you monitor your machine’s conditions and build a predictive machine maintenance program:

  • Install the hardware

The initial step is to install monitoring sensors on the following serviceable machines:

  • Rotating machinery including the turbines, compressors, pumps, motors, and fans.
  • Stationary assets such as boilers and heat exchangers.
  • Other machines that need monitoring.

Manufacturers need to work closely with vendor installation teams to modify sensors as per the machine’s requirements to ensure the seamless installation of the condition monitoring equipment.

Different machines need different techniques. Not every machine will be designed in the same way, hence enterprises will need a wide range of machine condition monitoring systems to make informed decisions.

  • Measure and Evaluate the data

Post installation of the monitoring tools, the sensors start measuring the following machine elements immediately:

Once installed, sensors can immediately begin to measure the following machine elements:

  1. Vibrations

It is essential to track indications of dynamic and static motion of the rotor or machine case. Measuring the machine’s vibrations can offer valuable insights into the durability of the parts with changing vibrations, which is the initial sign of upcoming failure.

  1. Ball bearing wear

There is a tremendous amount of wear and tear that happens to a ball bearing; especially when the machines are starting up and shutting down. Tracking the ball bearing wear and tear will help you to become aware of the right timing to replace a ball bearing. It is one of the most efficient ways to prevent unplanned downtime and expensive maintenance.

  1. Load

An increase in the load highlights the machine blade’s dulling, forcing it to work harder to ensure accuracy.

  1. Acceleration

Once the acceleration speed of the machine’s axis starts reducing or starts showing other abnormalities it could be a potential sign of a breakdown.

  1. Temperature

A machine that overheats is not functioning efficiently. It can even lead to fire or expose the machine to other risks. Similarly, if a machine is not heating the way it was designed to can also indicate a problem. Resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) and Thermocouples evaluate the temperature of the machine’s radial and thrust bearings, stator windings, lube oil, and steam temperatures.

  • Tracking the Machine’s Performance

The machine condition monitoring system passes the data to a centralized software for further evaluation and analysis. The skilled maintenance professionals are notified if any abnormalities in the machine are detected. These technicians use the data provided to take necessary corrective measures to avoid potential downtime of the machine.

Conclusion:

Machine condition monitoring systems assist manufacturers in preventing catastrophic machine breakdowns. These downtimes are costly, have a negative impact on production, raise human safety concerns, and have environmental impacts. It is essential to avoid such costly disasters that can have a negative impact on the business operations. Manufacturers need to embrace the latest technologies like smart machines and remote sensor monitoring in their technology stack to track their machine’s performance and take corrective steps based on the data collected. It is crucial to have real-time machine monitoring systems in place to make informed decisions about predictive and preventive maintenance.

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