Machinery Lubrication


Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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M a i n t e n a n c e a n d R e l i a b i l i t y C ondition monitoring should never be limited to a single technology or method. Instead, it should combine and integrate an optimum selection of purposeful tools and tasks. Condition monitoring can be largely technology based but can also be observation or inspection based. Most machines share condition moni- toring and inspection needs with many other types of equipment. This is because they have components and operating conditions in common, i.e., motors, bearings, seals, lubricants, couplings, etc. At the same time, their operating conditions and applications may demand unique inspection require- ments. These influence failure modes and machine criticality. As discussed in previous columns, inspec- tion should be viewed with the same serious intent as other condition monitoring prac- tices. In my opinion, a world-class inspection program should produce more "saves" than all other condition monitoring activities combined. It's not an alternative to technology- based condition monitoring but rather a strategic and powerful companion. The technologies of infrared thermog- raphy, analytical ferrography, vibration, motor current and acoustic emission are generally used to detect active faults and abnormal wear. Conversely, a well-conceived inspection program should largely focus on root causes and incipient (very early stage) failure conditions. Detection of advanced wear and impending failure is secondary. Remedy to Condition Monitoring Blindness Consider this: How could any of the mentioned condition monitoring technolo- gies detect the sudden onset of the following? • Defective seal and oil leakage • Filter in bypass • Coolant leak • Air-entrained oil • Oil oxidation • Varnish • Impaired lubricant supply (partial starvation) • Bottom sediment and water (BS&W) • Defective breather or vent condition Even if the technologies could detect these reportable conditions, this ability is constrained by the condition moni- toring schedule. For instance, consider a condition monitoring program that is on a monthly schedule and conducted the first day of each month. If the onset of a reportable abnormal condition occurs the following day, it goes unde - tected by technology-based condition monitoring until the next month (up to 30 days later). You could say that inspection provides the eyes and ears for every- thing that condition monitoring can't detect and is a default detection scheme during the intervening days when no technology-based condition monitoring occurs. In other words, inspection fills in critical gaps where there is detection blindness of the technologies and schedule blindness for the time periods between use. Higher inspection frequency and more intense examination skills (by the inspector) significantly increase condition monitoring's ability to detect root causes and symptoms of various states of failure. Build a Condition Monitoring Team Condition monitoring should be a team effort. As with most teams, each member contributes unique and needed skills to enhance the collective capabilities of the team. One member cannot or should not do the tasks of others. In American foot - ball, you can't turn a linebacker into a quarterback. While the team members are different, they are all working toward a common goal. Managing a condition monitoring program is a team-building activity. You have your "A" players and your "B" players. Some are generalists, and some are special - ists. You have leaders, and you have followers. All the classical elements are there. The condition monitoring team includes people (inspectors, analysts, etc.), technologies (vibration, portable particle counters, infrared cameras, etc.) and external service providers (an oil analysis lab, for instance). AS I SEE IT Jim Fi t ch | Nori a Corpor at ioN the Effectiveness of CONDITION MONITORING MEASURE How to 2 | July - August 2017 |

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