1S8: Digitalisation of vibration based Condition Monitoring

Alain Naets, General Manager, PRUFTECHNIK NV


Asset monitoring with vibration analysis is experiencing an accelerated development due to several catalytic factors. Installations are increasingly interconnected by industry standard TCP/IP based networks. Transmission speeds for wireless data is increasing. Digital storage and bandwidth becomes cheaper. Intuitive and mobile tablets and smartphones connect technicians to their plants through apps. New techniques such as data mining, deep learning and analytics enable us to plough through enormous amounts of data and extract patterns and relations that were invisible in the past.

This session illustrates with practical examples how these new technologies will empower technicians and engineers to efficiently assess the health of rotating equipment and how they will boost the effectiveness of the vibration analyst.

Remote access; let the data travel
Powerful automation techniques in combination with modern network capabilities allows us to monitor several production units from one central location. Furthermore, automation and digitalisation releases the analysts from unproductive and repetitive tasks. The result? More time for what really matters: analysing machinery issues and formulating solutions to eliminate the root causes of problems.

The end of closed system architectures
A connected infrastructure taps into more data sources than the vibration readings alone. We need all relevant parameters to normalize readings and a correct contextual alarm interpretation. Here we enter the field of IIoT connecting all ‘things’. We access relevant information without having to generate all of it. The power of digitalisation and the usage of new pattern recognition techniques will only work with open system architectures. Processed vibration data must be accessible by analytics and data mining engines. Dashboards and cloud based software must interact with data from different sources.

As the industrial internet of things is developing, machines will communicate with each other without human intervention. This does not mean that technicians will become obsolete. By using human skills that are difficult to automate and combine these with analytic engines and processing features of advanced soft- and hardware systems, we will harvest the full power of condition monitoring as never before while making the analyst’s job more efficient and meaningful.


Alain Naets started his career in condition monitoring and vibration analysis in 1993 and holds a master’s degree in industrial electro mechanic engineering from Groep-T (now KU Leuven University) in Belgium. In 1995, together with a colleague, he established PRUFTECHNIK NV, the Belgian/Dutch subsidiary of PRÜFTECHNIK AG, a leading German manufacturer of condition monitoring and industrial laser alignment systems. Between 1999 and 2003 Alain was in charge of the development of Condition Monitoring activities within the international PRÜFTECHNIK AG network. He gave product and technology trainings for PRÜFTECHNIK personnel worldwide. Since 2003 he is general manager of PRUFTECHNIK NV in Antwerpen and Rotterdam. Since then he has been leading the implementation of large on- and offline condition monitoring projects in the industry, marine and offshore segments. He is a Mobius institute certified ISO Category IV vibration analyst since 2014. That year he also established the Marine and Offshore competence centre for the PRÜFTECHNIK Group and he is a member of the Mobius Institute Board of Certification who issues the accreditations for the ISO 18436-2, Categories 1 to 4 certificates. He is the author of papers and articles about condition monitoring, vibration analysis and recently digitalisation and remote diagnostics within the condition monitoring sector. He teaches ISO accredited Mobius courses (level 1, 2 and 3) and acts as a visiting lecturer at the universities of Ghent and Leuven. Alain is involved in the development process of new generations of condition monitoring systems and software within the PRÜFTECHNIK Group.