Ultrasound: Another Predictive Maintenance Tool

ultrasound-predictive-maintenence

Early predictions of machine illness are essential to reducing energy waste and eliminating downtime while increasing production output as well as asset availability.

Laser alignment is an extremely useful maintenance tool, typically used to align shafts from plant machinery, bores, turbines and piping. Companies use laser alignment to prolong the lives of their machinery, become more efficient and save money in the long-run by fixing problems before they start. Early predictions of machine illness are essential to reducing energy waste and eliminating downtime while increasing production output as well as asset availability. Establishing an effective predictive maintenance program that utilizes powerful and accurate technologies will enable maximum profitability through the ability to see and hear areas of concern we never could before. Predictive maintenance practices demand precise timely results which grant an enormous advantage over standard predictive maintenance practices. Ultrasound does exactly that, with capabilities that include detection of positive and negative pressure leaks and identification of failed steam traps, among many other capabilities.

…In order to protect the investments put into these mobile assets, preventative and predictive maintenance tools are necessary and should be performed on a regular basis.

What about the variable assets?

Most of the time, when we think about predictive maintenance tools such as laser alignment or ultrasound or even infared technologies, we think about how these tools are being used on the fixed assets such as: power plants, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, mines, cement production, quarries, industrial farms, commercial fleets, and oceanic vessels. What we neglect to consider is how much the construction industry relies on heavy vehicles, loaders, off road vehicles, and seagoing ships. Even though each of these types of machinery can range in size and function, they all have something in common: an internal combustion engine to provide the power to move the vehicle and power the hydraulics. In order to protect the investments put into these mobile assets, preventative and predictive maintenance tools are necessary and should be performed on a regular basis. Most fleet managers rely on oil analysis for predictive maintenance, while other PdM technologies such as ultrasound, vibration, and infared are rarely considered. According to Uptime magazine, there are several important applications that can be served with ultrasound technology, but are not currently understood. There are potential uses for ultrasound involving diesel engines, hydraulic cylinders, air-operated brake systems, air suspension systems, and cabins of all types of moving vehicles from airplane cockpits to tractors.

What can ultrasound do for the mechanical contracting industry?

We need to acknowledge the fact that most PdM technologies are symbiotic, meaning that they should be used in combination with other technologies in order to provide a complete picture, whereas if they are used alone, can lead to some vital data being overlooked.

Basically stated, ultrasonic equipment can detect potential problems that can lead to shut down of a process or factory. They can also detect sources of energy waste and issues that negatively impact product quality. Many early stage problems produce ultrasonic signals that are transmitted from the source as a pressure wave. Ultrasonic tools detect these waves and translate them into an audible signal that can be heard by the inspector while measuring the ultrasound signal so that it can be compared and trended to determine gradual deterioration.

When properly deployed, ultrasound can immediately detect a bearing failure due to over-greasing or a misalignment in the machinery. At the same time ultrasound can analyze the tightness in cabins and cockpits for all types of machinery or even locate very-harmful silica in a diesel engine.

For more information on ACQUIP, please contact us at +1855 ACQUIP1 or email us at info@acquip.com

By Ariel Stein

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