Risk Assessment: Selecting the Best Technology for Vibration Monitoring

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It is recommended to perform review of all the plant equipment before selecting the technology to monitor vibration and detect faults. There are issues that should be considered when selecting technology such as:

• Equipment reliability requirement

• The importance of the measurement process

• Physical accessibility and location of the machine 

• HazardsAll of these items are related to financial issues. If the time and effort required to monitor a machine cannot be justified, It is advised not to monitor the machine. 

Let’s consider machine’s reliability along with ways to detect the faults and prevent catastrophic failure. Here is a list of questions that have to be answered.

• Is the machine critical to the overall production?

• What is the impact of failure? 

• Will there be losses due to downtime and secondary damage?

• What are the associated costs of parts and labor? 

• What are the production downtime costs and capital costs involved? 

• Is there a spare unit? All these risks must be considered against the chance of finding the fault, the costs involved with monitoring equipment, and the costs of the technologies required – including the personnel training needed to be successful. 

A risk analysis is an important parameter that should be performed. The analysis will help decide whether the machine will be monitored, and also how often and with which technologies. It will also help later on when a fault is detected and when a repair needs to be scheduled. 

The risk may change during the year, for example: cooling plant is high demand during summer season and power generation during winter season. The monitoring frequency and repair plan may need to change accordingly.

We should also consider the technologies required to improve to the current measurements and detect future problems. Other technologies should be included such as oil analysis, water particle analysis, etc., if needed.