Vibration Monitoring Helps Manufacturers Keep Product Flowing

October 13, 2015

Food & Beverage manufacturers are constantly searching for ways to remove waste from their processes and keep their equipment availability high. It is a continuous battle between making product and giving the equipment to maintenance for routine PM’s. The challenge is they know if they do not provide routine maintenance and basic care, the equipment will not operate as long as they desire but taking the asset down reduces the throughput they are striving to achieve.

 

Predictive Maintenance (PdM) is a way to bridge the gap. Monitoring the condition of the asset during normal operations, allows for assessing the health of the equipment without removing it from service. PdM does not replace all time-based PM maintenance tasks but can minimize the number and frequency in which they occur.

 

Vibration monitoring is one of the primary PdM technologies that can provide valuable condition assessment while the equipment is in normal operations. Trending vibration data over time can show the signs of impending failure before causing major upset to the operation, an “early warning” system. An example of how vibration monitoring can help detect issues before they become catastrophic, is detailed below:

 

A major manufacturer of beverage cans has deployed vibration monitoring on their critical assets for many years. After a recent monthly vibration inspection, a significant increase of vibration was found on the on a main bearing of one of their stamping presses.

 

The increase led to a full, detailed vibration analysis of all the collected data and based on the analysis, it was determined the vibration was caused by friction or looseness associated with the main crank shaft.

 

Based on the recommendations supported by the analysis, the client performed a visual inspection and found the clutch disc had come apart. If this condition went undetected it would have caused significant damage to the press and lengthy downtime to the line it served.

 

 

A controlled shutdown and repair elevated a prolonged downtime event. According to the Maintenance Manager, if the press had failed unexpectedly, it would have resulted in an eleven-day overhaul reducing plant capacity by 50% at a cost of approximately $250,000. As the issue was discovered proactively, the discs were replaced, allowing for continued operations and planning for the next shutdown. With the drive disks coming apart, there was imminent danger of damaging the flywheel. Avoiding the metal to metal contact and potential damage to the flywheel, avoiding a $28,000 replacement cost of the wheel.