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‘A to V’ condition monitoring package covers all maintenance scenarios

01 April 2010

Companies that need to monitor the condition of both slow and fast rotating plant and machinery can now benefit from a combination of vibration and acoustic emission monitoring products, available from a single source in the UK.

‘A to V’ condition monitoring package covers all maintenance scenarios
‘A to V’ condition monitoring package covers all maintenance scenarios

Schaeffler (UK) has now extended its condition monitoring range of products and services to offer customers a complete ‘A to V’ of Acoustic emission and Vibration monitoring products.

Whilst most suppliers of condition monitoring equipment and services offer either vibration or acoustic emission monitoring, Schaeffler’s condition monitoring range now includes both systems. This means customers can select the most suitable condition monitoring solution from a comprehensive range of acoustic and vibration monitoring products and services – all from a single supplier. These products cater for every maintenance scenario and all types of rotating equipment, from high speed rotating components or machines, down to slower moving (0.25rpm) mechanical systems with fluctuating loads.

Schaeffler provides three main types of condition monitoring systems: handheld monitoring; fixed/online monitoring; and semi-portable, multi-channel acoustic emission monitoring.

On the handheld side, Schaeffler continues to provide its popular FAG Detector III range of handheld vibration monitoring devices, but is now offering a handheld acoustic emission monitoring device, the AE-Check. This device is ideal for monitoring the condition of slow rotating, variable speed and load machinery and components, including mixers, motors, pumps, fans, HVAC systems, bearings and helical gears.

As Dr Steve Lacey, Engineering Manager and Condition Monitoring Specialist at Schaeffler UK comments: "Whilst vibration monitoring is fine for high speed machinery, it is much less effective where components are rotating at less than 80rpm, operating under fluctuating load conditions, or only moving through a part revolution. Here, it is much more difficult to collect meaningful data using vibration monitoring."

Acoustic emission monitoring equipment has a high sensitivity to machine faults and filters out audible noise and low frequency background vibration. Acoustic emissions are the high frequency stress waves generated by the rapid release of strain energy that occurs within a material during crack growth, plastic deformation or phase transformation. Acoustic emission monitoring systems use surface-mounted transducers to detect these stress waves, which lie within the 25kHz to 1MHz frequency range.

The AE-Check is a route mode acoustic emission monitoring device that is easy to use and configure. The user can set up to six different routes through the factory, with up to 435 measuring points per route – ideal for patrol monitoring. The device comes with a standard acoustic sensor that simply connects to the handheld device.

Built-in PC-based software integrates seamlessly with the handheld, providing a comprehensive workflow, from the creation of a route to uploading the measurement data, displaying and reporting on the results. The integrated software also includes a ‘Super-Slo’ mode that enables the measurement of very slow rotating equipment, from 60rpm down to 0.25rpm. The ‘Standard’ mode monitors faster rotating equipment from thousands of rpm down to 35rpm.

For companies that require continuous 24/7 condition monitoring of high value critical machinery, Schaeffler offers its fixed, online FAG ProCheck system, a dual online system that enables maintenance teams to monitor both vibration and acoustic emissions from critical rotating components and machines. This unique dual combination caters for all types of rotating mechanical systems, slow or fast, detecting faults early and preventing costly machine breakdowns that interrupt production.

By combining the modular FAG ProCheck system with multiple smart acoustic sensors, users can now monitor vibration and trend acoustic emissions of variable speed rotating components and machines, especially where fluctuating loads are present. For example, FAG ProCheck can be used to monitor the condition of a slow moving complex gearbox using acoustic sensors, as well as to monitor the condition of faster rotating machinery such as motors, fans and pumps.

The third part of Schaeffler’s unique offering is AE-Pro, a new semi-portable acoustic emission monitoring system that in terms of cost and performance sits between the handheld range and the fixed/online systems. AE-Pro is therefore ideal for use on plant that doesn’t warrant a fixed system, but still requires more than instantaneous data collection.

AE-Pro is a portable multi-channel PC Notebook-driven data acquisition and signal analysis system that captures acoustic emission signals generated by machinery and other rotating components and systems.

As Dr Lacey states: "The AE-Pro is a very powerful semi-portable acoustic monitoring tool that enables our engineers to conduct one-off investigations on more complex pieces of critical plant or machinery. The functionality and performance are superior to a simple, handheld device because much more detailed analysis data can be provided on exactly where the damage is located. This gives maintenance engineers valuable information on how the problem may be addressed."

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