For a condition monitoring analyst, it’s just the facts
Don’t contribute to unnecessary maintenance costs
A condition monitoring analyst encounters many challenges. One of the primary ones is to determine when to report a defect finding. Should it be reported now or should reporting wait until the severity of the defect increases? How near is the problem that has been found to actual failure? Each of these questions is difficult to answer.
A good analyst can use the condition monitoring data that has been collected to determine the severity of the problem found. However, it is impossible to determine the time or day the identified component will actually fail.
What happens if the replacement component (bearing, etc.) requires a very long lead time to obtain? What happens if a crane has to be scheduled to remove the equipment for repair? What happens if contractors have to be scheduled to support the repair effort? What if an outage is scheduled soon and the analyst waits until afterwards to report the problem?
These types of things may not be within the knowledge or control of the analyst. However, the way a condition monitoring analyst responds can greatly influence the ability of a facility to take action so that equipment health can be maintained and maintenance costs controlled.
What should the analyst do? It is always best to report any equipment defect as soon as it has been identified. Uptime, reliability, safety, etc. should not be put at risk to obtain a little extra life out of the failing component (bearing, etc.) that has been identified as having a problem.
The goal of any condition monitoring analyst should be to identify impending defects and provide as much time to correct them as possible. This allows proper planning and scheduling to be completed. This allows a facility the opportunity to keep equipment in the most reliable state, maintain uptime, maintain and increase capacity and avoid unnecessary cost.
If you are a condition monitoring analyst do not wait to report your findings. Do not contribute to the unnecessary maintenance costs that your skills and technology are supposed to help avoid. Generate a machine condition report, send an email, create a work order request, make a telephone call, or take those actions that are required to properly report the defect or impending failure. Make sure that you use the necessary communication method or a combination of methods to alert as quickly as possible those responsible for completing the required repairs. Once this is completed your responsibilities are not over. Monitor the equipment health and the status of your request for action on the equipment. Make sure that the equipment condition is not becoming worse and do not allow the health condition of the equipment to be forgotten or action to be delayed to the point of equipment failure. This may require follow-up communication with those responsible for completing the necessary repairs. You may have to become a pest to make sure that action is taken!
Additionally, make sure that the work order requires a follow-up evaluation from the appropriate condition monitoring technologies after the repair has been completed. This will allow verification that the repair was completed correctly and no additional equipment issues or defects have been introduced as a result of the repair actions taken.
These steps will help to make sure that the equipment is ready to perform its intended function. A machine that is properly monitored by the appropriate condition monitoring technologies, correctly evaluated and maintained leads to an efficiently producing, more reliable machine. This in turn ensures more reliable production, better quality, operating more safely and reduced cost to maintain and operate. It may be surprising how the actions of a dedicated condition monitoring analyst can contribute in a positive way toward the reliability and financial goals of the facility and company that employs him or her.
Trent Phillips is the Condition Monitoring Manager for LUDECA, INC., leading provider of shaft alignment, vibration analysis and balancing equipment. He can be reached at 305-591-8935 or Trent.Phillips(at)ludeca.com or www.ludeca.com