The preventative maintenance process is often time consuming, as every machine and component on it has to be checked for damage, wearing and debris. Because of the procedures that must be performed, you can only shave so much time off the inspection process without putting the machine’s safety and reliability in danger. Or at least that was the case, until technology came to the preventive maintenance process.
Some of these new sensors, detections devices, and other technology allow inspectors to delve inside of the machinery for an intimate look at key components. The results of the tests not only tell operators the status of the machines, they also supply information on the machines that was once supplied by estimations and standard calculations. Here are a few new things on the market for preventative maintenance departments.
One way to gauge the health of the machine is to measure the vibrations. An increase or decrease in vibrations can signal loose components, lubrication issues, and problems with machine’s motor, belts, gears, or ball bearings. However, an extended measurement is needed in order to be accurate. That’s where the vibration sensors come in.
These sensors are mounted onto the machinery, where they can measure the vibrations. The sensors are calibrated to signal when the machine’s measurements enter a danger zone. There are three different types of vibration sensors, displacement, velocity, and acceleration sensors. Your choice depends on the machine and its function. For example, velocity sensors are best for rotating machines, while displacement sensors are best left to measure the shaft movements within a machine.
Particles detectors are used to signal when certain particles are present, and in what quantities. Airborne sensors are calibrated to identify each particle and signal when certain types of particles appear. Others count the particles, saving the count to memory and signaling when the count reaches a preset level.
These sensors are most important in creating drugs, manufacturing and packaging food, as well as any other product that requires a sterile or “clean room” environment for manufacture and packaging. Knowing just how many and what type of particles made it past the filters and vacuums is paramount in keeping foods and drugs free of contamination. They can also determine just how much longer your filtration system has before the next cleaning or replacement is needed.
Leaks in compressed air portions of the machinery are often undetected until some kind of odor, audible or visual sign becomes apparent. Pressure sensors signal when the pressure drops or increases for any reason. Ultrasound detection sensors are used to find the exact location of a leak. A handheld device is aimed at the machinery and signals when a leak is detected.
These detection devices streamline the preventive maintenance inspections. They can also help in detecting contaminates, and help investigations into breakdowns and other crises. Some of these are new spins on old ideas, but they are all welcome options for the modern maintenance department.
Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and installation of factory automation systems worldwide.