3S2: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 … The Mysteries of Channel Count

Ron Newman, Sales & Technical Support, PRUFTECHNIK Canada


The technology of route-based vibration data collection / acquisition has made giant steps in the last several decades.  Looking back just to the early ‘80’s most users were still using a simple overall vibration meter and clipboard!  Measurement data was then transferred to spreadsheets for archiving and trending!  Fast forward to 2017, now multi-channel signal analyzers allow the user to collect vast amounts of data simultaneously … is this data fully understood, or is it needed, or more to the point, is it contributing in a meaningful way to the question of machine condition?  Far too often the justification for multi-channel data acquisition is speed, and certainly faster data acquisition time in the field leaves more time for other activities – post-processing, diagnosis, etc. – but faster isn’t always better, and the old axiom “if one channel is good, two must be better, three, four, ad infinitum” isn’t always valid.  Good vibration analysts have an intuitive understanding of machinery vibration, but huge amounts of data is often difficult to correlate, and often counterproductive, i.e., having the opposite of the desired effect.
Courtesy Wikipedia:
Counterproductive is anything that is more of an “obstacle” than a help in the achieving of a productive project or an objective

The presentation “take-aways” will include;

  1. Expand upon and explain the technology and history of single channel data acquisition
  2. Progress to dual channel measurement and the importance of “frequency response”
  3. Highlight the current trend to multi-channel applications
  4. And finally, provide participants with the fundamentals, and a basic selection guideline, i.e., a roadmap based in specific requirements.


Ron is a MIBoC (Mobius Institute Board of Certification) CAT III Vibration Analyst, accredited BSc, and has been involved in machinery vibration and acoustics for 35+ years. Beginning with IRD Mechanalysis (now Rockwell) in 1977, he spent 4+ years providing sales and consulting field services to Ontario industries. After a short time with Schenck-Trebel, where he gained an intimate knowledge of dynamic balancing applications, Ron spent 23 years with Bruel & Kjaer, a world leader in sound and vibration measurement. Throughout his career he has provided formal training seminars and workshops, and served as a part-time instructor of sound and vibration at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Currently, through a partnership between PRÜFTECHNIK and MOBIUS, Ron acts as senior Mobius instructor for ISO CAT I, CAT II and CAT III vibration analysis courses in Canada. He is an invited conference speaker, and has presented and/or published, webinars, workshops, and magazine articles on a variety of “condition monitoring” subjects such as Dynamic Balancing, Rolling Element Bearing Analysis, Machinery Resonance, and Proactive Maintenance.