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Vibration Measurements on Slow Speed Machinery

Vibration Measurements on Slow Speed Machinery

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Published by: Mohd Asiren Mohd Sharif on May 31, 2010
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Application Paper
Vibration Measurements on Slow Speed Machinery
J.C. Robinson, R.G. Canada
Data Collector/Analyzer
 A methodology for vibration analysis from an accelerometer on slow speed machinery (<600 RPM) is described inthis paper. The sensor, cable, and data analysis methodology used to achieve the required dynamic range of 120dB is presented. Representative results illustrating some of the problems which can be encountered using ananalysis system with inadequate dynamic range are presented. The conclusions are that meaningful vibrationanalysis can be carried out on slow speed machinery running as low as 10 RPM with as little as 10 mils p-pvibration using a low noise accelerometer of 500 mV/g sensitivity, proper cable, and state-of-the-art portable datacollector/analyzer with sufficient dynamic range.
 There is no universally-accepted criteria for timing the speeds below which machines are classified as slow speedmachinery; however, we will adopt a break point of 600 RPM as being the speed which separates slow speed fromintermediate speed. The value of 600 RPM is chosen because it is approximately the speed wherein alert levelsrelative to vibration in the velocity domain must be reduced with decreasing speed of the machine. A commonlyaccepted methodology is to establish alert levels which decrease linearly with decreasing speed (or constant in thedisplacement domain). When speeds get below 20 RPM or so, it is not at all clear on how to set alert levels onoverall vibration, but the emphasis becomes more focused on components, such as monitoring bearings.Accordingly, one may think of machinery running below the 20 RPM range as a separate classification (examplesare very slow or ultra low speed machinery). In this paper, we will consider slow speed machinery as residing inthe 15 to 20 RPM range up to 600 RPM.The sensitivity required for measurement will be based on displacement. The sensor used will be anaccelerometer whose output (relative to constant displacement) is proportional to the square of frequency, e.g. arequired sensitivity of 5 mils from a machine at 20 RPM would provide an acceleration level of 1/100th of that froma machine at 200 RPM for the same 5 mil sensitivity level. Obviously, for any particular accelerometer, therecomes a speed at which the signal developed by the vibration cannot reliably be separated from non vibrationexcitation such as electrical noise generated within the measurement system.A measurement system developed for slow speed machinery should (among other requirements) be able todifferentiate between machinery induced vibration signals and extraneous signals (primarily electrical noise,transients, etc.). If should be minimally responsive to temperature transients and maintain a wide dynamic range.A system developed by CSI (called SST - Slow Speed Technology) is presented in the next section. The thirdsection will include some representative results. Conclusions are presented in the final section.
2.0 SST Methodology
 2.1 Introduction.When monitoring vibrations on slow speed machinery using an accelerometer, the signal levels at the turningspeed are generally low. Frequently, the low level signal is buried in a composite signal made up of the low levelsignal and significantly larger higher frequency components. The problems for the monitoring system becomesone of extracting the low lever signal (requires a wide dynamic range) from the composite signal and thendifferentiating the vibration signal of interest from the other low level signals generated from electrical noise
sources, temperature transients, etc. The measurement system consists of the sensor, cabling, data collector, andanalysis methodology. Each of these will be discussed briefly.2.2 Sensor and Cabling.The fundamental limitations on the measurement system are defined by the sensor and cabling. The signal-to-noise ratio is established within the sensing element and the conversion of the sensing element output (charge) tovoltage. The sensing element must be as high sensitivity (ceramic preferable to quartz) as practical. Theconversion to voltage must be efficient at very low frequency (in the 0.1 Hz range) which implies a chargeconverter versus a voltage follower. The sensor should have minimal response to temperature transients whichleads to a shear mode being preferable to a compression mode. The sensor should be rugged, economical, andapplicable to a wide range of industrial environments. These constraints lead to sensitivities in the 0.5 to 1.0 V/grange and a sensor resonant frequency greater than 10 Khz.The cable connecting the sensor to the data collector should a) minimize any electrical noise pickup and b)minimize any dynamic forces applied to the sensor, e.g., a coiled cable hanging from the sensor can easily get intoa low frequency oscillation mode which is a low frequency dynamic force applied to the sensor. Since the datacollector will generally be close to the sensor, ground loops are not considered to be a problem. Therefore thechoice on the cable is either a coaxial cable or twisted pair shielded with shield attached to signal return at bothends (shield grounded at both ends reduce the effect of RF contributing to sensor input to the data collector. Acommon source of RF is the SCR firing around DC motors, variable speed induction motors, etc.)2.3 Data CollectorAn accelerometer has a dynamic range in the 100 to 120 dB range. The data collector should accommodate thisrange. The data collector will ultimately convert the analog signal to a digital signal for processing. To process thesignal with full dynamic range would require a 20 to 22 bit A/D converter which is not practical. For intermediatespeed machinery, the full 100 to 120 dB dynamic range is seldom required and hence a more practical A/Dconverter (12 to 16 bit) is acceptable. However, low speed machinery is frequently driving equipment which emitslarge amplitude high frequency signals which get intermixed with the low amplitude, low frequency signals ofinterest. In these cases, the high frequency signals must be removed or attenuated prior to autoranging. If the highfrequency signals are not attenuated, bit stutter on the A/D converter will be the controlling noise source (randombit stutter is very similar to a pseudo random noise source). A convenient methodology to attenuate high frequencycomponents and amplify the low frequency components is to employ an analog integrator. Practical analogintegrators will distort the lower frequency components; however the distortion is deterministic and hence, theeffect can be corrected for analytically.The desirable properties of the data collector are:1. Electrical noise floor on the input stage less than that within the sensor so that the data collectoris not limiting the measurement.2. Dynamic range of 100 to 120 dB. The simplest way to achieve this is to employ analogintegration with gain at the input stage (convert from accelerometer output "g" units to "ips" units)and employ a 16 bit A/D converter.3. Correct output for signal distortion introduced by the analog integrator.2.4 Analysis MethodologyThe signal from the accelerometer is converted into the velocity domain via an analog integrator. The lowerfrequency components are attenuated (relative to the velocity domain) due to high pass filtering necessary for theintegrator. The electrical noise floor for the sensor along with uncertainties are known from a statistical basis forthe accelerometer. The integration process is a deterministic operation which permits the statistical noise floor inthe "g" domain to be transformed to the "velocity" domain. With the known noise floor and uncertainty, a statisticalthreshold (95% confidence level is chosen) is established from which a decision is made regarding a specificcomponent being vibration-induced (its magnitude exceeds the threshold). Those elements which are judged to bevibration-induced are corrected for attenuation introduced by the integration process.The electrical noise floor for an accelerometer is a quantity which can be specified for the accelerometer at areference temperature. When a temperature transient is present, the magnitude of the noise floor will increase(much less for shear mode sensors than for compression mode sensors). Since the surface for many machineswill be at an elevated temperature, the temperature transient effect will be present in many situations whengathering data with a portable device (the time required to permit the sensor to reach thermal equilibrium may besubstantial). Accordingly the magnitude of the noise floor is set dynamically for each measurement within the SSTmethodology. This permits modest temperature transients to be accommodated as well as the accommodation ofa broader range of sensor s(accelerometers) to be utilized.
3.0 Representative Results
 3.1 IntroductionSelected results are presented in this section to1) demonstrate dynamic range problems associated with measurements on slow speedmachinery,2) present results from a low speed rotor with displacement in the range of interest,3) and present results from a small gear box which has a mixture of low level low frequencyvibration with higher level higher frequency vibrations.The intent within this section is to demonstrate the SST technology.3.2 Dynamic RangeThe dynamic range within a data collector is accomplished by analog amplification of the incoming signal and thenconverting into the digital domain by an 12 to 16 bit A/D converter. Prior to digitizing, the signal is passed througha low pass (anti-aliasing) filter. The anti-aliasing filter is post analog gain stage and pre A/D converter. The signalfrom the sensor monitoring low speed machinery will have a wide frequency range and the higher frequencycomponents will generally be significantly larger (in g level) than the low frequency components. For example,assume a machine turning at 20 RPM has a 5 mil p-p vibration component (this is 20 g's RMS) at the turningspeed. Assume further this component is embedded in a higher frequency 0.5 g RMS component (could easily bea factor of 10 to 20 times larger). The dynamic range for this example is 88 dB. The analog gain pre A/D converterwill be controlled by the 0.5g component. The 0.5g component typically will be "out-of-range" to the analysisbandwidth, e.g. the analysis bandwidth may be 10 Hz (600 RPM) and the 0.5 g component at 100 Hz. The anti-aliasing filter will attenuate the 100 Hz component, but the dynamic range will be controlled by the initial gain stageand A/D converter. For the example cited, the full range of the A/D converter may be equivalent to 1g. Assuming a12 bit A/D converter, the absolute resolution will be 250 g's which is well above the required 20 g's for the 5 mil p-psignal from the machine turning at 20 RPM.The A/D converter will have "bit stutter" of one to two bits. Bit stutter acts very much like a pseudo-random binarynoise source which generates an approximately white noise floor. An example is presented in Figure 1a and 1b.For this example, the input was sinusoidal at 200 Hz and an RMS value of 7 volts. The analysis bandwidth was10hz. The RMS value of the 10 Hz bandwidth is 0.0128 V RMS. The experiment was repeated with the sinusoidreduced from 7 volts RMS to 2 mV RMS (still 200 Hz). The RMS value of the 10 Hz bandwidth dropped to 14 V.The obvious conclusion from the example given is that a) a higher bit resolution A/D is required and/or b) theanalog signal from the accelerometer must be preprocessed to attenuate the higher frequency signal componentsrelative to the low level low frequency components. The practical limit on the A/D converter is 16 to 18 bits whichprovides about 24 to 30 dB improvement in dynamic range relative to the 12 bit A/D converter. The attenuation ofhigher frequency components can be accomplished with an analog integrator which applies gain at low frequencyand attenuates high frequency. For the example consider (machine turning at 20 RPM with 5 mils p-p vibrationand large component at 200 Hz), an ideal analog integrator would provide an improvement of about 55 dB (a gainof 45 dB at 20 RPM and an attenuation of 10 dB at 200 Hz). Practical integrators will not provide the full 55 dBimprovement, but 25-35 dB is realizable. Therefore, a combination of a 16 bit A/D converter with small bit stutterand an analog integratorwill provide the needed dynamic range (120 dB) for slow speed (> 15 to 20 RPM) industrial machine monitoring.3.3 Results from Low Speed RotorA variable low speed rotor kit with an adjustable cam (used for displacement) was assembled to provide referencedisplacement in the 15 to 150 RPM range. A displacement of 9 to 9.5 mils p-p (measured with a dial indicator) wasset to generate the data presented in Figure 2 through 4. The sensor used was a 500 mV/g shear mode low noiseaccelerometer. The analysis set up was 4-block, nonoverlapping average, an analysis bandwidth of 10 Hz, and400-line spectra.The results presented in Figure 2 employed the SST methodology, i.e., the following three steps were taken whichmake up the SST methodology.1. The raw signal from the accelerometer was integrated and then transferred to the spectraldomain.2. Spectral data was averaged and a threshold was established based on a statistical 95%confidence level floor.

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