Why we should carry out regular vibration assessments on machinery

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Assessing the amount of vibration a piece of machinery is creating is a good way to evaluate the overall condition of the equipment.  It can also help identify a potential problem before it is too late and leads to irreversible machinery failure.

If the likes of Sferax linear bearings, Orpex couplings or Kumera clutches and gearboxes and other essential internal components are vibrating excessively, it can cause damage internally and lead to machinery failing to operate at its best and ultimately equipment failure.

It is therefore within every company or individual’s interest to regularly monitor the vibration of the machinery they use.

Common causes of vibration

As we wrote in a blog in 2014, machinery vibration – also known as ‘chatter’ – is created by movement between components. This movement results in waves being created on the surface.

The movement between the parts can be caused by an imbalance of components. Imbalanced weight travelling round the axis can lead to manufacturing defects and/or maintenance issues. As Machinery Lubrication states:

“Imbalance can severely reduce bearing life as well as cause undue machine vibration.”

The misalignment of industrial components such as pumps, gearboxes and motors can also result in vibration. Misalignment is typically created through the machinery being reassembled incorrectly following maintenance or because of thermal expansion.

Loose bearings

AMT linear bearings, Sferax linear bearings, and just about every other make and model of bearings you can care to imagine, can become loosely attached to mounts. This can result in excessive vibration occurring within the machine.

If left operating whilst not securely fastened to mounts, loose bearings can result in further vibration, which in turn can lead to wear, fatigue and even failure.

In a paper titled ‘Practical Methods for Vibration Control of Industrial Equipment, Andrew Costain and Michael Robichaud, of Bretech Engineering Ltd. In Canada, highlight the generally accepted methods for the vibration control of industrial machinery as being: Force Reduction, Tuning, Damping, Isolation and Mass Addition.

Force Reduction

Force Reduction of excitation inputs will help reduce the vibration response of the system created by the likes of misalignment or unbalance.

Tuning

Bretech advises that tuning the natural frequency of a component can help to eliminate or reduce amplification due to resonance.

Damping

Damping refers to the conversion of machinery vibration into heat.

Isolation

Isolation can be effective in vibration reduction as it rearranges the excitation forces.

Mass Addition

Mass Addition can reduce the effect of a consistent excitation force.

As vibration in industrial equipment can be both a sign and a source of potential problems that could hamper operational procedures, it is vitally important to carefully monitor the amount of vibration occurring within machinery.

If you have an industrial gearbox that requires repairing or need a specialist part, such as a variflex belt or a variable speed pulley, replacing in order to help reduce vibration and keep the equipment working at its optimum, get in touch with YB Components.