Case Study: Predictive Maintenance by performance analysis of plant: the lost art?

Ray Beebe, Sessional Lecture, Federation University


Much is written and said about the condition monitoring methods of vibration analysis, oil analysis, NDT methods, and electrical plant tests, but thermal performance analysis gets very little airplay in comparison. This is the analysis and monitoring of the physical performance of both rotating and non-rotating plant items as an indicator of their condition.  Performance analysis also often enables the optimum time to be found to schedule maintenance to restore lost performance.  Based on many years of experience in fossil fired steam power generation, this presentation demonstrates the application of performance analysis by describing how to obtain data and case studies on air compressors, steam turbines,   mechanical control system components, boilers and heat exchangers. (Pumps deserve their own session).
1.   How to measure temperature,  pressure and flow using expedients.
2.   How to use condition monitoring by performance analysis on a range of machines.
3.   Interest, enthusiasm and confidence to try in your own plant.


Ray had 28 years in power generation in Australia and the UK, on plant investigations and condition monitoring development and application for pumps, steam turbines, heat exchangers, boilers and associated plant. His first book MACHINE CONDITION MONITORING (ISBN 0 646 25088 4) was written during that time. In 1992, Ray joined Monash University at its Gippsland Campus (part of Federation University since 2014). He was a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the postgraduate distance learning programs in maintenance management and reliability engineering from 1996 until retiring in 2010. He continued teaching the condition monitoring subject up to 2016, and continues as adviser for some postgraduate projects. Ray has a passion for sharing what he learnt and has written over 80 papers for conferences with many in journals world-wide. His second book, PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE OF PUMPS USING CONDITION MONITORING , (ISBN 1865174085), published by Elsevier, gained Ray the George Julius Medal of Engineers Australia for the best publication in mechanical engineering in 2004. His third book, published by, is STEAM TURBINE PERFORMANCE AND CONDITION MONITORING (ISBN 978-0-9853619-8-3). Ray’s consulting activity has served over 35 customers in Australia and overseas. Ray is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia; a Chartered Professional Engineer (retired) and a Lifetime Member of Asset Management Council.