Factory monitoring: How it works

by Jones David

Each system varies from time to time certain physical quantities which, if monitored methodically, can act as indicators of malfunction. The correct maintenance activities, today, come from a compromise: on the one hand, it is necessary to prevent sudden damage to components and equipment, which can cause unwanted systems to stop, on the other hand, it is necessary, for obvious economic reasons, to exploit the most the expected age of the component itself.

Today, finding the optimal solution between these two needs is possible, because the market provides a large number of tools, including CMMS, which are able to take “symptoms” of component failures that will occur, making it possible to intervene programmatically for their replacement.

A system, in fact, sends real signals, such as noise, vibration, the development of excessive heat, absorption of abnormal power, changes in speed and rpm, etc., which, if correctly read and interpreted, can provide an overview of the general operating conditions of the plant. In other words, information is very useful for planning maintenance activities and maintaining performance, productivity, and therefore factory profits over time.

Know how to listen

Among the main symptoms that reveal mechanical system functions is of course noise. Broken bearings, fatigue bushings, and lubrication problems, or even excessive effort on rotating organs, only to give a few examples, generate vibrational generation, even in the spectrum that can be seen by the human ear. Knowing how to “listen” to a car is a good way to prevent failure and damage. To do this, a sound indicator is available. These tools are currently electronic and digital and can isolate the noise investigated from the background noise of the surrounding environment.

Special algorithms allow an analysis of sound waves, with tools such as Fourier analysis, to understand, through the description of sound wave functions, source types, and the origin and therefore predict the type of related error. In the field of vibration then there is a vibrometer, capable of providing data on measured vibrations, including the velocity and acceleration of vibrations and other data that are useful for determining the type and source of vibration.

Measure the speed

Apart from vibration and noise, mechanical systems have many other parameters that can be investigated. For example, the number of turns per minute of a rotating organ, which can be determined by a strobe. The stroboscope produces very short flashes of light at high intensity and frequency, observes the rotating object and thus determines its rotational speed. Also for speed measurement, both rotational and instantaneous, tachometers, increasingly digital, can also be used.

Get anywhere

Sometimes, for the inspection of machines, it is necessary to be able to see even when it is not possible to arrive physically unless the engine itself is disassembled. In the context of corrective maintenance activities, it may also be necessary to check pipes and lines, to detect the presence of dirt or blockages that can affect plant operations. For this situation, there are endoscopes, instruments which, thanks to the use of optical fibers, can reach, with flexible tubes, if not, points that are not affordable and give the operator a view, through images, situations.

In the electric field

Often, potential problems in industrial plants can be detected by measuring electrical parts: wattmeters, for measuring power, ammeters, for measuring current intensity, voltmeters for voltages and ohms to measure resistance can provide a proper diagnosis of excessive surge currents, power absorption abnormal, for example from the pump, the risk of short circuit and so on. At present, all these devices are digital and can be used easily and in any environment on the machine.

Plant maintenance covers many things. Only by using an integrated system, we can handle it.

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy