Failure of business assets, systems and tools are common and occurs from time to time. By keeping an eye on certain physical quantities, we will be able to find the malfunctions as soon as they occur and do the correct maintenance activities. We need to prevent sudden damage to the resources and we should also be able to exploit the maximum life of the resources themselves. A compromise between these two is required to find out the optimum maintenance.
This optimum maintenance level can be found very easily these days as the market provides a lot of tools like CMMS, which will analyze symptoms of component failures. Such systems make it possible to intercede programmatically for their replacement. Information is hence, very important for planning maintenance activities and below, we have drawn a general idea of how to make use of this information.
Here, you need to literally listen to the noise made by your machinery and tools as noise is always a good indicator of malfunction. Broken bearings, lubrication problems, among others, are good examples of malfunctions that generate noise which can be detected by the human ear. To detect noise, sound indicators are available which can isolate noise investigated from the background noise of the environment.
Special algorithms also allow you to analyze sound waves with special tools like Fourier analysis through the description of sound waves, their source, etc and can predict errors. Vibrometer provides data on measurement of vibrations to identify problems. They can measure the velocity and acceleration of the vibrations and use those data to compute errors.
Vibrations and noise are not the only parameters that can be used to find out failures. You can investigate other factors like the number of turns per rotating organ which can be determined by a strobe. The stroboscope is an instrument which produces very short flashes of light at high intensity and frequency to observe a rotating instrument and thus will determine its rotational speed. You can also use tachometers for measuring rotational as well as instantaneous speed.
You need to be able to examine all the nook and crannies of your machines to be able to see where the problem has occurred. Sometimes, you may have to disassemble the entire machine for that. If you are using the corrective maintenance approach, you may have to examine pipes and lines for dirt and blocks which can also affect the machines. For these kinds of examinations, you can use endoscopes which can reach very remote points and give the operator a view through images and videos.
Most of the times, potential problems in industrial plants can be detected by measuring electrical parameters like power, current intensity, voltages, resistance, etc. You can use wattmeters, ammeters, and voltmeters respectively for measuring them. They can help detect current surges, abnormal power absorption, risk of a short circuit, etc. All of these devices are digital and are fairly straightforward to use.
Factory monitoring covers a lot of things, a few of which have been discussed in this article. By making sure that we have an integrated system which keeps an eye on almost everything possible, we can implement an optimal maintenance strategy which will be very beneficial.