Accelerate and automate vibration monitoring and analysis

Jan. 12, 2022
Sheila Kennedy says new sensor, software, and service offerings improve predictive maintenance initiatives and outcomes.

Abnormal vibration patterns and incipient faults are increasingly easy to detect and correct before equipment failure occurs. Ongoing advancements in industrial internet of things (IIoT) sensors, intelligent analytics, and strategic services are providing new opportunities to accelerate and automate vibration monitoring and analysis.

Technology Toolbox

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

A growing trend in condition monitoring is the attempt to automate alarm generation, saving precious time for the vibration specialist to focus on diagnosing problems rather than collecting data, suggests Ed Spence, managing director of The Machine Instrumentation Group, an engineering consultancy. Artificial intelligence (AI) approaches may be based on libraries of components with rule-based decision making, or the application of machine learning (ML) with data-driven approaches as opposed to signal processing.

A variety of IIoT market participants boast a data engineering approach to condition monitoring. “Vendors or end users without a team of data engineers can still apply these approaches by tapping the expertise of predictive analytics software suppliers dedicated to asset health,” adds Spence.

Advanced vibration sensors

Increasingly sophisticated sensor technology is meeting market needs. The Vibration Mote Model 3 (VM3) from Petasense combines triaxial vibration, temperature, and running speed into one sensor and addresses the challenges of monitoring rotating machines with variable operating behaviors, such as variable speed, batch, or spared assets. A wired version of the VM3 is the VSX.

“With built-in edge computing, the VM3 continuously monitors a machine’s operating state to capture measurements at the ideal time, enabling users to trend machine health in ways never before possible,” says Petasense CEO Dan Bradley. “We recently rolled out a unique peer-to-peer capability that allows VM3s to communicate with each other and take synchronized readings across multiple sensors on a machine train.”

Two new vibration sensors from Fluke are designed to monitor a broad range of critical and semi-critical machines. “The Fluke 3563 Vibration Analysis Sensor collects bursts of high-resolution data that anyone with basic training can use to catch the most common machine faults. Our Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor is an extremely scalable, batteryless solution that screens for a basic good/bad picture of machine health,” observes John Bernet, Fluke Reliability mechanical application and product specialist.

Both sensors feed into a single software dashboard so that maintenance teams can view all their machines from one condition monitoring command center, he adds. This LIVE-Asset Portal software application offers real-time, at-a-glance knowledge of asset health with visualized measurements.

RealityCheck AD is a hardware and software solution from Reality AI that supports industrial anomaly detection with ML and non-visual sensing. It enables “rapid deployment of vibration and sound-based anomaly detection for equipment monitoring and QA/testing in factory applications – right out of the box,” notes Stuart Feffer, CEO of Reality Analytics, Inc (Reality AI). Explosion-proof and corrosive-environment options are available.

But the “real power” of RealityCheck AD comes over time as customers use the software to create even more sophisticated analytics, including predicting the remaining useful life of components, monitoring the productivity of equipment, and anticipating maintenance issues before they happen, Feffer explains.

Complete monitoring solutions

Another trend is packaging vibration sensors with monitoring services. For instance, condition monitoring-as-a-service is offered by Nikola Labs. The end-to-end, rapidly deployable solution includes connecting Vero triaxial vibration + temperature sensors that feed AssetWatch cloud software for dedicated 24/7 machine health tracking, analysis, and correction recommendations by Nikola Labs experts – with no capital expenditure.

“Our all-inclusive service provides our maintenance-free and lifetime-guaranteed vibration and temp monitoring hardware, visualization software driven by our machine learning engine, a professionally installed cellular network for data transmission, and a dedicated condition monitoring engineer to analyze our customers’ full spectrum vibration data and send prescriptive machine health alerts,” explains Brian Ratliff, COO of Nikola Labs.

The VibeRoute self-service vibration analysis system from VibeCloud Reliability Solutions is an Android-based vibration measurement solution. The VibeRoute Starter Kit includes a smartphone, which is Wi-Fi, BLE, and NCS enabled and pre-installed with the VibeRoute collection app, as well as an Axis 10K frequency wireless sensor, a magnetic base for the sensor, and expert analysis service.

The customer’s maintenance or reliability team is trained to use the app to take vibration readings and upload them for analysis by Level III and Level IV certified vibration analysts at VibeCloud Reliability Solutions. Anomalies and impending failures are identified in time for the customer’s team to schedule maintenance and avoid failure. 

This story originally appeared in the January 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author: 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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