Introduction to Predictive Maintenance

Article | 19 Mar 2021


It has been shown many times over that the vibration signature of an operating machine provides far more information about the inner workings of the machine than any other type of non-destructive test. A bearing that has a small developing defect will cause a telltale change in the machine vibration, as will an imbalance condition, a misalignment, or any of a myriad of other faults. Vibration analysis, properly applied, allows the technician to detect small developing mechanical defects long before they become a threat to the integrity of the machine, and thus provides the necessary lead-time to schedule maintenance to suit the needs of the plant management. In this way, plant management has control over the machines, rather than the other way around.

Vibration measurement and analysis is the cornerstone of Predictive Maintenance, which stands in sharp contrast to the historical “run-to-failure” type of maintenance practice. Numerous studies, such as those conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), have shown that on average, the cost to industry for maintenance will be reduced by more than 50% if a predictive maintenance program is used instead of run-to-failure.

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