How condition monitoring is transforming

Nov. 4, 2021
Sheila Kennedy says the latest transportable tools bring speed and simplicity where it’s needed most.

Overseeing machine health, reliability, safety, and energy consumption is easier with the right condition monitoring tools. Modern technologies and innovative designs are enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of asset surveys, inspections, measurements, and analysis. With improved, portable tools, not only can those who perform these vital functions achieve new levels of performance, but so can the equipment they monitor.

Intuitive surveying and inspections

Augmenting airborne ultrasound inspection with acoustic imaging helps to visualize condition monitoring findings. The SonaVu Ultrasonic Imager from SDT Ultrasound Solutions is a handheld, multi-frequency, ultrasonic acoustic imaging camera designed to detect conditions such as air, gas or steam leaks, fugitive emission leaks, and partial discharge.

“SonaVu captures two of the best senses we humans have, which is seeing and hearing, into one device, allowing a user to see where the leaks are coming from as well as having the ability to hear the source,” says Alex Nino, applications engineer at Ludeca, the U.S. distributor. He contends it makes the ability for any technician to accomplish their tasks of leak detection, tightness testing, and electrical fault detection much easier and more efficient than conventional methods.

The new handheld FLIR MR265 Moisture Meter and Thermal Imager with MSX (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging Enhancement) from Teledyne FLIR is a combination thermal camera, visual camera, and laser pointer with both pin and pinless moisture measurement capabilities. It helps to quickly identify and confirm issues such as water leaks, air leaks, temperature anomalies, and electrical problems with one tool.

About the Author: Sheila Kennedy

While a Thermal Imager with MSX can display temperature and spot potential moisture, it doesn’t have the capability to validate the moisture levels. But with the MR265, which includes integrated MSX thermal imaging, one can quickly locate moisture issues and perform moisture readings to validate the moisture content, observes Rob Milner, global business development manager for condition monitoring at Teledyne FLIR.

Improved rotating machinery oversight

High-speed vibration data collection for rotating machinery is provided by the VibScanner 2 from Pruftechnik. It visually guides users through the measurement route as they collect high-quality, consistent data, which can be transferred to OMNITREND Center software for analysis. The new VibScanner 2 EX extends the capability to hazardous environments.

“We built the VibScanner 2 as a fast and easy portable vibration monitor that collects machine health data at the push of a button,” says Fluke Reliability Product Manager Charly Achter. “It has both single and triaxle sensor options, and with only a few minutes of training, anyone can collect precision condition monitoring data so the vibration specialists can concentrate on analysis.”

Testing of motor shafts or other devices where damaging discharges may be present is simplified with the BPK-Probe, a patented shaft voltage detection device from Helwig Carbon Products. The easy-to-use field instrument helps users identify the risk of premature bearing failure in an electric motor. Pass/Fail results and the risk are displayed in 20 seconds or less.

“This test is a critical step in deciding whether a motor requires shaft grounding,” explains Brian Stone, application engineer at Helwig Carbon Products. The unique technology is “perfect” for any field service or plant maintenance personnel who care for motors run by variable speed drives, as these are particularly susceptible to damaging shaft currents, he adds.

The new AMT Pro from Artesis is a portable condition monitoring kit for motor-driven equipment that can provide a comprehensive machine assessment in seven minutes. Its automatically generated condition assessment report indicates existing electrical, mechanical, and operational faults; time-to-failure information; recommended corrective actions; and the effects of faults on energy efficiency.

The AMT Pro “not only checks the motor health but also the driven equipment by measuring the voltage and current and comparing it to the database of millions of motor signatures. There is nothing like it in the market,” says Deron Jozokos, president and senior applications engineer at Shoreline Industrial Products, an Artesis distributor.

PROTOR-Mobile, developed jointly by Prosig and sister company Beran Instruments, is a portable, multi-channel vibration condition monitoring system for rotating machinery that weighs less than 7 kg and offers both real-time and remote diagnostic capabilities. It can operate stand-alone without an external PC or be networked for remote access through 4G and Wi-Fi connections. Condition information can be viewed in real time from remote or via the device’s local status display. Historic stored data is accessible with PlantProtech Vision diagnostic software.

This story originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

Technology Toolbox

This article is part of our monthly Technology Toolbox column. Read more from Sheila Kennedy.

About the Author

Sheila Kennedy | CMRP

Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at [email protected] or

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