Predictive Maintenance / Asset Management System / Vibration Analysis / Ultrasound

Go-go gadget mobile condition monitoring

Sheila Kennedy says portable tools simplify wide-ranging monitoring and maintenance challenges.

By Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, contributing editor

Maintenance and reliability pros seeking to work smarter and go farther have numerous portable condition monitoring options that aim to support them in that endeavor.

Vibration monitoring

For companies starting to look at vibration measurements on their assets, Hansford Sensors’ HS-620 Vibration Meter Kit offers an entry-level option, says Chris Hansford, managing director at the company. The compact and portable meter kit, designed to be implemented quickly and with little capital outlay, enables on-site vibration monitoring of any asset and includes an automatic alarm check for bearing condition.

“For less than $1,000, a plant can establish routes and have someone log overall vibration levels on a periodic basis. Trending of this data is easily managed by the maintenance team without needing to have specialist training required by more expensive and more sophisticated vibration data collectors,” adds Hansford.

New PeakVue Plus technology from Emerson “brings prescriptive analytics to the field,” according to the company. It enhances Emerson’s AMS 2140 Machinery Health Analyzer, a vibration analyzer and data collector, by providing in-field guidance on how to respond to maintenance issues on rotating equipment – particularly rolling-element bearing machines. As a lubrication issue or bearing defect progresses, intuitive color bars move from green to red, indicating that bearing lubrication or replacement will be required soon to avoid an unplanned outage.

Innovative imaging

The ability to “see” invisible methane leaks is a boon to health and safety management. The GF77 Gas Find IR uncooled thermal camera from FLIR is designed to detect and visualize methane (CH4) and other industrial gases. The handheld, spectrally filtered, uncooled optical gas imager is ergonomically designed around FLIR’s T-Series product line and available at a lower price point than cooled gas inspection thermal cameras.

“Field inspections are simplified with GF77’s touchscreen LCD, patented High Sensitivity Mode (HSM), and an eyepiece for ease of use in direct sunlight,” comments Craig O’Neill, director of strategic business development at FLIR Systems.

The new ii900 Sonic Industrial Imager from Fluke is a handheld acoustic camera that allows users to quickly and visually pinpoint compressed air, gas, and vacuum system leaks, even in noisy production environments. It was designed in partnership with Sorama, specialists in noise control and sound-analysis solutions.

Elemental analysis

Manufacturers and installers of critical components must ensure that they have the correct alloy grades regardless of the material source, and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a critical tool used in the positive material identification (PMI) process, says Ted Shields, portable products manager at Olympus.

The Vanta handheld XRF analyzer from Olympus supports a robust PMI program, Shields says. Its advanced signal processing delivers rapid, accurate, repeatable results, while the optional camera with bar-code scanning capabilities facilitates linking sample tracking with XRF results, explains Shields. Optional wireless connectivity lets users access the Olympus Scientific Cloud for secure data storage, obtain remote access to results, and take advantage of other cloud-enabled features.

Ultrasonic insights

Portable ultrasonic testing instruments continue to expand and improve. For example, the SONAPHONE III from SONOTEC US, a digital ultrasound testing device with airborne and structure-borne sound sensors, supports a range of leak detection, condition monitoring, inspection, and testing applications.

The SONAPHONE III’s broadband sensor can listen to frequencies between 20 to 100kHz simultaneously. “This significant increase in information allows for better decision-making in maintenance applications by increasing the accuracy of the measurements,” remarks Chris Portelli, managing director of Americas at SONOTEC US. “Data such as the leak rate of a compressed air leak can be attained and acted upon with increased confidence.”

UE Systems has been developing ultrasonic inspection instruments for more than four decades. The company’s classic Ultraprobe line of portable analog and digital route inspection instruments is now complemented by remote access sensors and a 4Cast bearing condition monitoring system with smart alerts. Tony Mowry, program manager at UE Systems, observes that focusing on “customization, simplicity, and consistency through ease of implementation” helps the company ensure quality ultrasound data capture while meeting evolving market demands.