Technology is great for solving problems, especially for complex problems when it’s couple with expertise. But in many cases, the technology and the expertise is separated geographically. Thankfully communications technologies continue to advance to bridge the distance between expert and problem.In a Power Engineering article, Remote Vibration Monitoring Keeps Power Plants Running at Full Capacity, Emerson’s Deane Horn shares a story of how a North American power producer remotely monitored their rotating machinery to improve overall reliability and prevent disruption in service for their customers.
Deane noted the three components that made remote vibration monitoring possible:
…a monitor that provides continuous protection and prediction, software that provides predictive machinery health displays and analysis tools, and a network that feeds the website.
The specialist that uses these technologies:
…keeps track of the condition of the rotating machinery in three widely separated power generating stations without having a vibration specialist in each plant to monitor every developing situation.
Deane shares an example of coiler upset causing a turbine blade to crack:
…the equipment specialist will learn about it and keep that machine under close surveillance – no matter where he might be.
The article provides a communication architecture where CSI 6500 Machinery Health Monitors are wired into an AMS Suite: Machinery Health Manager predictive maintenance server. The architecture includes monitors that transmit their data wirelessly to the server software.
The data is presented in plots which provide:
For onsite maintenance personnel, a portable CSI 2140 Machinery Health Analyzer is used on less critical equipment not being monitored continuously. Data from the analyzer is uploaded to the predictive maintenance software for remote access.
…a comprehensive view of each monitored machine for accurate diagnoses when changes in a machine’s condition are discovered.
Web-based access allows the data to be viewed remotely via PC, smart phone or tablet. For this power producer, access was provided to major equipment suppliers and Emerson specialists to aid in rapid problem solving.
Deane described a scenario of how this works:
If vibration exceeds a pre-determined alarm, the signature and waveform data are immediately saved for analysis. When this happens, it triggers a yellow or red indication on the AMS Machinery Manager screen to signify specific points and parameters in alarm.
He shares a story of how one of the power producer’s internal experts identified a fault condition in a turbine blade. The vibration readings were trending higher and was on track to shut down the turbine generator in five days. He shared the plots with the turbine suppliers’ experts and they scheduled the parts and experts to arrive to perform maintenance over the weekend when demand for electricity was reduced. This early warning help avoid downtime and further damage to the equipment.
Read the article for other cases where remote monitoring improved reliability and overall safety. Deane closed the article:
The power company’s goal is to keep these plants up and running without risk to the machinery or personnel. At the same time, they strive to get the most out of the equipment. With online vibration monitoring, the company has the ability to achieve these goals.
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