Condition Monitoring in the 21st Century

Mike Ciosys

Mike Ciocys, Technical Service Manager, Pruftechnik

Mike Ciocys did a great job filling in for Dries Van Loon who was unavailable for our December regular meeting. Mike’s presentation explained how new technologies permit more effective monitoring of plant assets worldwide. About a dozen members attended the presentation, which was held in December 16 at Ives Equipment Inc. in King of Prussia.

Ciocys began by describing some history of the company, based in Germany. Essentially Pruftechnik provides technology for monitoring rotating equipment. Early services used precision laser alignment to supplant time-consuming manual techniques. This led to systems for analyzing vibration, imbalances, and oil levels to monitor the condition of plant equipment. Such systems are now available for online, portable, wireless, diagnostic, and remote monitoring. Lastly the company entered the field of non-destructive testing. All these monitoring systems can help prevent unexpected plant shutdowns that can prove to be hugely expensive.

Ciocys went on to explain how plant maintenance differs depending on the situation. For example, we tend to replace a light bulb only when it fails. As the consequential costs of failure increase, maintenance turns to more sophisticated techniques. These include preventive (time-based) systems, predictive monitoring, and proactive methods. Monitoring technologies include thermography, electrical, ultrasonic, oil analysis, alignment, and vibration.

“Effective condition monitoring can have substantial benefits,” says Ciocys. “For example, a 15% reduction in vibration can extend bearing life 72%,” he says. “In addition, 50% of damage to rotating equipment results from misalignment.” Some technologies that will contribute to smart factories in the 21st century are interconnections of machines via the internet, secure cloud storage and computing, and analytic data software.

The latter part of his presentation dealt with real world examples of advanced condition monitoring systems. These involved ship fleets, wind turbines, and online laser shaft alignment for fans, pumps, compressors, and alternators.

For a PDF of the Powerpoint discussion presented by Ciocys, click here.

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