The dumbing-down of vibration analysis may be described best as "the exploitation of human weakness." The following examples are not all inclusive, but they may help in understanding the problem:
Vibration analysis is the science of breaking down vibration into the various constituents to identify all problems in the machine. Constituents of vibration are the time signal; frequency spectrum; each frequency: harmonic, sub harmonic, side band; along with the phase relationship and amplitude of each. Some applied technology must be used.
For example, the FFT produces some frequencies that cannot be generated by the machine. This causes the amplitude in the frequency domain to be understated.
Engineers and technicians that have been trained in vibration analysis can, and have, developed rules to follow for accurately diagnosing machinery problems. When all problems are accurately diagnosed and the cause identified, priorities can be assigned. Then the worst problems can be repaired on a scheduled outage and the cause eliminated. Your machines then could operate until the next outage without a failure.
The next logical step is to develop rule-based expert diagnostic software that can, and does, diagnose problems 24/7 without human assistance. This also has been accomplished. The proven results of this type of vibration analysis program are increased run time, profits, and employee efficiency. Improved product quality and reduced down time also have been achieved.
The following recommendations may be helpful in achieving the above benefits:
1. Review the vibration course content before sending people to it. If the content does not include instructions on how to diagnose problems, the course should be avoided.
2. The importance of analyst certification should be downplayed until there is a consensus on what the data means.
3. If training on how to operate equipment/software is needed, the manufacturer may be the best source.
4. Evaluate the equipment you are using. If it is outdated, replace it.
5. Avoid being "locked in" to one manufacturer because there may not be a single company in the world that knows everything there is to know about vibration analysis.6. Do not place so much emphasis on history data because with today's hardware, software, and technology, problems can be accurately diagnosed without history data. MT