Enhance predictive maintenance philosophy through effective vibration monitoring program

Narendra Murthy, Chief Executive Officer, Shobhan Vibration Consultancy


Vibration Analysis as a reliable tool for understanding health of rotating machines is a well known fact. However, a systematic implementation of vibration monitoring program can give much more information and enhance  predictive maintenance philosophy of any process plant or complex. In today’s competitive environment, the ultimate goal for any organization is to attain highest plant reliability at lowest possible cost. Using the guiding principles listed below, this presentation discusses improvements to vibration monitoring using practical examples.
Good engineering and vibration monitoring practice calls for coordination with  concerned departments to decide which machines are to be included in the vibration monitoring program and frequency of monitoring. This is a dynamic process requiring periodic feedback.  It is necessary to generate vibration reports which include maximum details about the machine, brief history of the problem encountered, discussion on the probable causes and finally corrective measure/s. Established standards for alert and danger levels of machines can be relied on in the beginning of machine’s life cycle. However, history of all machines should be used to establish more reliable vibration limits later on, which is essential to mitigate unwanted stoppage and maintenance of machines. Vibration engineer should carry out analysis based on certain data such as history, process issues etc. It is important to use an elimination process to provide precise corrective measures instead of several possible solutions. Additional tools such as phase and oil analysis will help narrow down the root cause.
It is a good practice to additionally release periodic reports in a standard format highlighting the overall status of machines in the complex under normal, alert or danger category. This report can be forwarded to the management to get an idea at a glance. Based on history, carry out ABC analysis to arrive at problematic machines and dominant failure modes which will enable maintenance department to efficiently plan and mitigate failures. Secondly, establishes PF intervals to assist production  department to optimally plan and hand over the machines for maintenance considering all factors. Carries out field balancing wherever possible to save time and money. Generate notification in CMMS system along with reports so that the job is carried out as recommended and history is available.

1. How to generate clear cut recommendation reports through process of elimination
2. How to apply logic in arriving at root cause of high vibrations
3. How to relate history with P-F curves and ABC analysis


B.Sc Engineering degree holder with more than 36 years experience in the field of predictive maintenance and vibration analysis. Worked in reputed petrochemical companies in India, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in Reliability and Condition Monitoring departments. Holding Category 3 vibration analyst certificate as well as CMRP.