‘Data-grabbing’ conditioning monitoring tactics may hamper operational efficiency improvement work
10 May 2016
An over-reliance on condition monitoring data could be hampering maintenance teams in their task of improving plant operational efficiency, according to ERIKS UK.
Recent innovations have enabled maintenance engineers and facilities managers to measure and monitor the performance of their plant more than has been possible in the past. However, industry risks making vital mistakes if first-hand diagnostic work is phased out in favour of extensive data analysis, according to David Manning-Ohren, an expert in condition monitoring at ERIKS UK. “Our ability to capture vital data has really advanced the potential of condition monitoring in recent years, yet we now find ourselves in a position where we are almost overloaded with it. Given the increase in available information, some in the industry may be guilty of data-grabbing, and trying to let computers undertake the diagnostics rather than a trained engineers.
“If you don’t have the diagnostic capabilities of an engineer equipped with extensive thermodynamic, vibration analysis or flow technology knowledge, then the data you have gathered will be redundant. For example, an inverter can add on noise to a motor that could easily be misconstrued as a bearing defect. Until you understand vibration signatures and evaluate these with respect to electrical noise versus mechanical noise, you wouldn’t necessarily know the difference between the two.
“Ultimately, the devil’s in the detail not the data when it comes to condition monitoring,” concludes Mr Manning-Ohren. “While the level of data we can gather as part of the condition monitoring process will pave the way for much greater insight into improving overall process performance, without an expert on hand to undertake the diagnostic and follow-up remedial work, the data itself is redundant.”
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