Improving Reliability via Remote Vibration Analysis Expertise

If you look through the annual reports of major process manufacturers and producers you don’t have to look very hard to find the word “reliability”. For example, on page 3 of the 2014 ExxonMobil annual report, Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson wrote:

Operational Excellence Ensuring the safety and reliability of our operations is fundamental to our business success and a critical challenge that ExxonMobil takes on every day.

Emerson's Jacob Swafford


I share this since Emerson’s Jacob Swafford pointed to a recent article on remote vibration analysis. It’s one thing to instrument rotating equipment with vibration sensors but another to be able to analyze and make decisions in time to avoid unplanned outages impacting the overall reliability of the operations.

Emerson's Michael Pendilla


The article, Remote Vibration Analysis: An Asset Condition Monitoring Solution is by Emerson’s Mike Pendilla. It describes a Remote Vibration Analysis service to perform this analysis and offer round-the-clock guidance to improve overall reliability. The service has been available since 2000, but has expanded globally.

The Emerson team includes ISO 18436-2:2014 Category III certified analysts located in the Middle East, North America and the Global Service Center in the Asia Pacific region. For those using the service, access to the Machine History Viewer is provided. It gives a quick dashboard view of overall plant reliability, identifies problem equipment, and highlights common defects.

The Vibration Monitoring Process

The Vibration Monitoring Process

As part of the service, monthly analysis reports are provided. Some examples of where the remote vibration analysis service has helped to improve overall reliability include:

  • Identified an outer race bearing defect caused by electrical fluting on newly installed motors. Motors were replaced under warranty, thereby saving the customer an estimated $80,000 USD.
  • Diagnosed an imbalance on vertical motor identified pump impeller clogged, which was repaired and prevented failure.
  • Called a bearing defect on a motor, which was repaired and prevented failure.
  • Identified imbalance on a motor. Inspection found a bent shaft in the motor, and the motor was replaced.
  • Achieved over 250% return on investment at a chemical plant through remote analysis by scheduling items to be repaired, thereby reducing unscheduled maintenance and lost production time.
  • Increased reliability and achieved an 80% scheduled maintenance rate at a power plant by using remote analysis to identify equipment to be repaired during scheduled outages. Unscheduled maintenance between outages has been reduced over the past 3 years.

You can connect with Jacob or request more information to find out more about the service and Emerson global remote vibration analyst team. You can also connect and interact with other reliability experts in the Reliability & Maintenance group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

One comment so far

  1. Vibration monitoring is important, yet most plants do it only for their largest compressors, turbine, and pumps. These large capital equipment are instrumented with large machinery health monitoring systems. However, the vast majority of rotating equipent in the plant have no automatic monitoring. For all these equipment the plant typically relies on manual data collection and analysis on a periodic basis. As a result, early signs of developing problems are often missed because measurements are not taken often enough and the expert analyst may be behind in the work. Simpler wireless vibration transmitters can help here. It is now possible to put wireless vibration transmitters on the balance of the rotating equipment in the plant. This includes for instance small and medium size pumps and compressors, blowers, the fans inside cooling towers and air cooled heat exchangers etc. See further explanation in this article: Instrumental to Success
    http://www.ceasiamag.com/article/instrumental-to-success/11137

    It should also be noted that vibration is just part of the story. By also measuring pressures, temperatures, and fluid levels etc. the maintenance and reliability teams can more information for a more complete picture of what is going on. For instance, with pump suction and discharge pressures in conjunction with vibration, expert condition monitoring software is able to identify if cavitation is taking place in the pump. All of these additional measurements are easy to deploy because they are also wireless transmitters using the same plant-wide WirelessHART instrument network infrastructure as the wireless vibration transmitters.

    Here are two more relevant articles:

    Beyond the Control Room
    http://www.ceasiamag.com/article/beyond-the-control-room/10658

    Second Layer of Automation
    http://www.ceasiamag.com/article/second-layer-of-automation/10354

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