Two Minute Tips  

The New Normal in Predictive Maintenance

Bob Martin | Field Applications Engineer, IMI Sensors

What does machine health monitoring look like in an era of the online workday, personnel shortages, and supply chain hang-ups? These recent trends have influenced practices in predictive maintenance—including how data is collected, shared, and analyzed. Read on for five condition monitoring solutions to avoid manufacturing delays and optimize workflow.

1- Stay ahead of potential failures

When machines go down unexpectedly, the time associated with troubleshooting, ordering replacement parts, and coordinating repair services can add up to major financial losses. When it doesn’t make sense to stockpile backups of every component that can fail, vibration monitoring can help offset shipping delays and manufacturing shortages when replacements are needed.

2- Increase monitoring frequency

Monitoring systems that take measurements daily are particularly useful in cutting the time between vibration irregularities and corrective action by providing a fuller picture of trends over time. But such a comprehensive monitoring schedule, while ideal in terms of tracking even the earliest warning signs of failure, can seem like overkill to maintenance professionals taking frequent measurements on healthy machines. Turning to IIOT solutions can not only eliminate shutdowns due to supply delays, but can also allow your maintenance team to focus on higher value tasks.

3- Calibrate and troubleshoot remotely

Cut travel costs associated with bringing outside analysts to your plant with DIY digital vibration monitoring devices. Recent advancements have made it possible to record measurements via smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and send data to offsite specialists for analysis. Solutions range from handheld accelerometers for troubleshooting to systems capable of generating sensor calibration certificates to satisfy quality requirements.

4- Go wireless

Wireless sensors can further eliminate delays associated with data collection by communicating point-to-point with a receiver, at a pre-determined frequency per day. The interconnectivity of such solutions expedite health checks and analysis, while providing monitoring professionals with complete sets of data points needed for higher-level decision making. To save on costs of converting to wireless, start small by prioritizing hard-to-reach or critical assets.

5- Rethink your maintenance program

Smart systems have come a long way in automating machine health analysis, but they still aren’t designed to replace the people who already know your operations best. On-site maintenance professionals offer the flexibility of human problem-solving and the knowledge of equipment that machine learning cannot account for. If you are interested in converting to IIOT solutions, consider shifting your training approach from measurement to analysis and repair.

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About the Author

Bob Martin Field Applications Engineer, IMI Sensors

Bob Martin is a field applications engineer for IMI Sensors. He is a CMRP and a Category Three Certified Vibration Analyst. Bob has been helping establish and support companies with their predictive maintenance programs for over 25 years. His experience with spectrum analysis extends back over 40 years beginning with his work in the US Navy as an anti-submarine warfare systems operator, flying as aircrew, on P-3 Orion patrol aircraft.