Q. What is the best way to prevent catastrophic equipment failures?
A. Regular predictive maintenance.
But the problem is, few companies do this well—or do it routinely enough to make an impact, says Chris Treat, the Business Group Director of Industrial Maintenance Technologies at IBT Industrial Solutions.
Reduces Unscheduled Downtime
“Predictive maintenance helps you avoid costly, unscheduled downtime by anticipating and troubleshooting equipment problems before they become catastrophic and cause downtime,” Treat said. “The problem is, many companies don’t make the time to do it, or don’t follow a regular schedule.”
Improves Productivity of Equipment
Treat recommends performing a thorough inspection of your plant every month or quarter. His team’s predictive maintenance package comes with a detailed analysis of machine dynamics and performance, to help optimize productivity and the equipment’s value over the long haul.
Using computerized test equipment, they perform a complete onsite inspection, including diagnostic services, repairing minor issues at the customer’s request. They analyze the condition of:
- Cooling towers
3 Most Common Failures Discovered by Predictive Maintenance
Treat said that misalignment and imbalance are the main culprits behind unexpected failures at a plant. They cause vibration and excess wear and tear on the equipment over the long-term.
“The goal is to protect the value of your equipment and maximize its output by identifying and correcting machinery problems before they cause further damage or expense,” he said.
According to Treat, the top 3 most common failures discovered by his team include:
- Bearings installed incorrectly
- Loose pieces of equipment, causing vibration
- Imbalance in fan rotors (or other rotating equipment, moving at high speeds)
“These issues start out minor, but ultimately cause failures that can be truly catastrophic and financially devastating,” Treat said.
Extends the Life of Equipment
In addition to doing a visual inspection, Treat also recommends routine testing of all key components using precision diagnostic equipment, as part of your monthly or quarterly predictive maintenance plan:
- Vibration analysis—analyzing vibration problems in rotating equipment
- Dynamic balancing—correcting out-of-balance situations in rotating equipment
- Precision laser alignment—realigning motors, pumps, couplings, sheaves, etc. in integrated components
“We then analyze the data for problems,” Treat said. “At the end, we process the data and produce a report to show plant managers where the trouble spots are, or where equipment could be optimized.”
Learn more about predictive maintenance services from IBT