Vibration Measurements on Slow Speed Machinery
J.C. Robinson, R.G. Canada
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