How Online/Wireless Vibration Analysis is Helping Manufacturers in the Battle Against Covid 19

April 25 2021 0Comment

How Online/Wireless Vibration Analysis is Helping Manufacturers in the Battle Against Covid 19

An effective condition monitoring programme can reduce unplanned machine downtime, improve safety and increase machine performance, with a small investment often leading to significant savings.

Faults such as imbalance, misalignment and bearing wear can be identified through vibration analysis, enabling maintenance and repairs to be planned.

Most vibration monitoring programmes rely on a dedicated vibration engineer with a handheld data collector visiting each machine in turn to gather the data, which can be cost-effective initially but has several drawbacks.

There is no indication regarding the health of the machine between scheduled visits so opportunities to repair the machine could be missed. And assets where access is restricted due to safety reasons or by the movement of the machine cannot form part of the condition monitoring programme.

Moreover, in these uncertain times where social distancing has become a necessity, maintaining a route-based vibration analysis programme has become almost impossible.

Many companies are turning to wireless monitoring, as it provides alerts when there is a change in machinery vibration or temperature, without anyone having to put themselves at risk to collect the data.

Such monitoring systems are allowing maintenance managers to track the health of their machines from anywhere , with new data being received every 1 – 8 hours.

A typical wireless monitoring kit consists of a mounted data collector or gateway, which receives and processes the signals from several vibration and temperature sensors. Many manufacturers are now able to achieve a sensor transmission range of up to 300 metres meaning that many assets can be covered by a single gateway. 

The data is then transferred to a server or network via one of the many different connectivity options. WiFi or LAN can be used to integrate with a company’s existing IT system, whilst connection using a 4G option allows the data to be stored on a remote server.  This can be configured before delivery, making the system a plug and play, out of the box solution capable of  monitoring assets within  one hour of receiving the kit. This also means that the data can be accessed and analysed from anywhere.

There are single axis and tri-axial sensors available, with many collecting temperature and vibration values simultaneously. They are easy to install as they can be mounted using threaded studs, magnets or adhesive, with a two year battery life so they can be retrofitted to machinery of any age.

Many of the latest systems offer full analysis capability with spectra, waveforms and more advanced analysis techniques and trends.

 A fully customisable collection settings ensures that the correct data is being collected for each type of machine, and most now have the facility to set alarms which will trigger emails and text alerts to give the maximum warning of a change in machinery condition.

The benefits of installing a wireless system were recently seen at a large manufacturer and supplier of precast concrete solutions in the UK. The client mounted wireless sensors on four bullet skips, which feed fresh concrete throughout the factory in track system suspended in the factory roof.

The wireless system highlighted an increase in vibration due to structural looseness. A subsequent inspection identified a cracked gearbox mount which was replaced during the next planned maintenance period. It was estimated that if this had been allowed to fail it would have resulted in lost production costs of £120,000.

A wireless monitoring system can be fitted to almost any machinery type, although It makes sense to keep an eye on the assets where failure has the biggest cost or safety implications. So, what machines in your workplace would benefit from condition monitoring?

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