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Condition-Based Asset Care: A Three-Level Approach

ems dec 17 9Condition-Based Asset Care: A Three-Level Approach

The sophistication of your condition monitoring should match the criticality of your assets.

Condition-based and predictive maintenance strategies are now widely implemented - particularly by businesses with high-value assets in remote or difficult-to-access locations where routine maintenance visits are either logistically very costly or potentially hazardous to maintenance personnel. (Read More)  These approaches can take a variety of forms, however, and the level of sophistication deemed necessary for a particular application will be dictated by a host of factors, including the cost of implementation, the availability and skill levels of onsite maintenance staff, and the risks associated with the failure of the asset.

With these different needs and demands in mind, SKF has pooled its extensive knowledge of rotating machinery to develop a staged approach to condition-based maintenance. Depending on the criticality of each asset, uses can adopt a ‘basic’, ‘better’ or ‘best’ strategy. Whichever they choose, the solution should be affordable, easy to manage and expandable to meet future requirements.

‘Basic’ asset care

The simplest monitoring tools include portable, handheld devices or permanently installed sensors capable of measuring changes in vibration, especially on rotating shafts, or changes in operating temperatures in both mechanical and electrical systems. To help simplify machine maintenance and prevent costly failures, SKF can suppy a variety of basic handheld devices that maintenance technicians can use while carrying out a walk-through machine data collection routine. The latest of these is SKF QuickCollect which monitors both vibration and temperature, transmitting this data wirelessly to a mobile device, where an entry-level app called ‘SKF QuickCollect’ is used to provide machine diagnostics and analysis.

Where continuous vibration and temperature monitoring of non-critical machinery is desired, the permanently installed SKF Machine Condition Indicator is equipped with LEDs that illuminate when present thresholds have been exceeded to warn operators that further investigation is needed. Internal sensors measure velocity, enveloped acceleration (bearing or gear impulsive vibration) and machine surface temperature.

‘Better’ asset care

Operators work in close proximity to equipment, so they are usually the first to detect even the slightest changes in process conditions and machinery health. However, their observations often go unreported, or are not effectively acted upon, leading to machine failures, unplanned downtime and higher operating costs. A solution developed by SKF, called the Operator Driven Reliability (ODR) programme, enables this valuable source of data to be easily collected, analysed and acted upon.
SKF QuickCollect is a good example of this process in action. More experienced operators can make use of a second app for this platform called ‘SKF DataCollect’ an ISO maintenance and inspections standards compliant program which extends the diagnostic capabilities of SKF QuickCollect, allowing users to manage and monitor their maintenance tasks and inspection data, as well as giving them the ability to register for, and connect to, the SKF Cloud for access to SKF’s remote expert services.

Another advanced condition-based monitoring tool for the experienced user is the recently launched SKF Multilog On-line System IMx-8, a compact 8-channel version of its popular IMx machine health monitoring platform. This versatile, more compact system brings affordable machine health monitoring to a much wider industrial user base and even includes a useful ‘Event Capture’ feature that is of particular appeal to machine tool users requiring a cost-effective crash detection capability.

‘Best’ asset care

When handheld or periodic data collection instruments are deemed insufficient, the next step is to take your asset and machine health monitoring programme online. In these systems, data is gathered and transmitted via permanently installed sensors, which can either be hardwired to junction boxes or, as is becoming more commonplace, connected wirelessly. In each case, data is normally routed to a centralised computer system running an advanced management and data analysis tool such as SKF’s @ptitude Monitoring software suite.

The SKF Multilog On-line System IMx-M system, for example, can be used in conjunction with the SKF @ptitude software to provide a complete system for the initiation of machinery shutdown, early fault detection and diagnosis. In addition, this system can provide automated advice for correcting existing or impending conditions that might otherwise affect machine reliability, availability and performance.

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