How vibration monitoring saved one plant $250,000

Use vibration monitoring to turn a potential catastrophic failure into a scheduled, routine repair.

By Paul Studebaker

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Even the best-maintained equipment can surprise plant operators with an unexpected breakdown, but as engineers at Braskem's PP4 polypropylene unit in São Paulo, Brazil, recently confirmed, if an incipient fault is detected early enough and monitored carefully, a potential catastrophic failure can be turned into a scheduled, routine repair. This week, at the 2013 Emerson Global Users Exchange in Grapevine, Texas, Braskem vibration specialist Julio Magalhães and Emerson engineer Fabio Chrispim described such a situation on a critical reactor pump.

On August 21, 2012, the plant's CSI 4500 online monitoring system showed an alarm due to sudden and excessive vibration in one of the reactor pump bearings. The vibration was verified in the field with a CSI 2130 measuring device, confirming the immediate need for intervention.

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