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Vertical Motor Case History

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Ali M. Al-Shurafa Vibration Specialist Email: Saudi Arabia Vertical Motor Resonance A Case History Where No Correction Was Actually Needed Sometimes applying an extra test on a machine could save a lot of time, money and headache. This vibration case history is a lesson for avoiding jumping to conclusions without making enough analysis to the problems. Background and History: A vertical cooling water pump motor was sent to shop for a due routine PM. It did not experience abnormal behavior when it was running in the field. After bearing replacement and cleaning, the motor was assembled and put on the test rig to check the electrical parameters, temperature and vibration. The test could not be completed because of excessive vibration. The vibration was high enough to be recognized even without a vibration meter. Mechanics attempted to find loose components or bolts but they had no success. Vibration data were collected and showed the following:
Motor Top In-line (MTI) 0.14 Motor Bottom In-line (MBI) 0.05 Motor Top Across (MTA) 0.50 Motor Bottom Across (MBA) 0.09 Motor Top Axial (MTAx) 0.07 Motor Bottom Axial (MBAx) 0.12

Note: All vibration readings are in ips rms. The dominant component in all the readings was 1X. The spectra are given below, Figure1 and 2. A recommendation was given to check the balance quality of the motor rotor. Subsequently, the motor was disassembled and laid on the balancing machine. The balance quality grade found was within G2.5 which is quite acceptable to this type of rotor and speed (HP= 450, Vol= 4.16 kV, rpm= 595). To avoid any possibility of unbalance, the rotor was further balanced to G1.0. Again on the test rig, the motor was put after the assembly. Vibration levels remained within 0.40 ips. The conclusion was clear; unbalance was not the vibration cause and the entire exercise of balancing was not needed. From history shop personnel reported no similar problem occurred in the past though the motors of the sister pumps were treated the same way. Analysis: Using two channel analyzer, casing orbit of the top bearing vibration was taken and showed an elliptical orbit whose major axis is close to MTA. This is interpreted as a directional vibration which is a result of two possibilities: directional force or directional structure properties.

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Vertical Motor Case History

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Impact tests were conducted in both directions and verified the second possibility. Below are the results:
Location and Direction MTI MTA Shop Structure Natural Frequency (cpm) 700 611 % of running speed 117 % 102 %

It is clear from the above table that the natural frequencies are very close to the motor running speed and the vibration was amplified as a result of the resonance. Impact test spectrum is shown below in Figure 3 and 4. It was the first time for this particular motor to be tested on the rig. Moreover, it was noticed that even though the brother motors were tested on the same rig, they are of deferent mass and construction. This difference explains why resonance problems did not occur for them. The recommendation alternatives were totally changed. (They are arranged according to implementation preference): 1. Reinstall the motor on another motor stall in the shop (if available) for testing. 2. Mount the motor on the existing stall that was used in shop but with a 90 deg turn, i.e. swap directions of In-line and Across. 3. Carry out the test on the original stall used in the plant. The purpose of these recommendations is to change the structural mechanical characteristics (modal stiffness, mass and natural frequency). The equipment engineer decided to take the motor directly to the original motor stall in plant. Impact tests were conducted and resulted in different natural frequencies, as shown below.
Location and direction Units Motor Top Across (MTA) Motor Top In-line (MTI) cpm 700 611 Shop % of running speed 117 % 102 % cpm 714 683 Site % of running speed 119 % 114 %

The impact test was done on the top bearing with the pump uncoupled. As per good engineering practice, machines and structures should be designed to have a natural frequency outside the 80-120 % range of the running speed. In our case, structures on shop and site did not satisfy this design criteria. After pump coupling the natural frequencies increased a little. Pump was started and vibration data were collected. The table shows the following readings.
Motor Top In-line (MTI) 0.07 Motor Bottom In-line (MBI) 0.03 Motor Top Across (MTA) 0.08 Motor Bottom Across (MBA) 0.02 Motor Top Axial (MTAx) 0.02 Motor Bottom Axial (MBAx) 0.04

Vibration readings in the shop were 6 times those collected in the field because of resonance. A recommendation was given prepare another stall rig for motors of this design for shop testing in the future. Conclusions: 1. Resonance problems can take place even in shop. 2. Balancing alone might not solve resonance problems. 3. Orbit readings and impact test took about 20 minutes while disassembly and balancing and re-assembly took two working days (about 4%).
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Vertical Motor Case History

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4. Consider performing useful short tests before starting a long job.

0.20 ST 0 A - OFF ROUT E EQUIPME NT OFF ROUTE -ORP OFF ROUTE MEASURE MENT P OINT DAT A Route Spe ctrum 03 -Dec-0 2 11: 3 9: 00 OVE RALL= .142 8 V-DG RMS = .1 427 LOAD = 1 00.0 RP M = 60 0. (10 .00 Hz )

RMS Velocity in In/Sec




0 0 0.3 0.2 200 00 Fre quency in CP M Route Wa v eform 03 -Dec-0 2 11: 3 9: 00 RMS = .1 447 PK(+/-) = .2415/.2249 CREST F= 1.67 400 00 600 00

Velocity in In/Sec

0.1 0.0 -0.1 -0.2 -0.3 0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

Rev olution Number Label: OFFROUT E-A-MT I/

Figure 1
Route Spe ctrum 03 -Dec-0 2 11: 3 9: 13 OVE RALL= .497 1 V-DG RMS = .4 942 LOAD = 1 00.0 RP M = 60 0. (10 .00 Hz )



RMS Velocity in In/Sec

0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0 0.8 200 00 Fre quency in CP M 400 00

600 00

Velocity in In/Sec


Route Wa v eform 03 -Dec-0 2 11: 3 9: 13 RMS = .4 987 PK(+/-) = .7158/.7101 CREST F= 1.44


-0.8 0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

Rev olution Number Label: OFFROUT E-A-MT C/

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

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Vertical Motor Case History

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Author: Ali M. Al-Shurafa, M.Sc. Ali M. Al-Shurafa is a senior vibration and rotating equipment engineer. Currently Mr Ali is based in Juaymah NGL Plant, Saudi Aramco. He worked previously as a faculty member at the Jubail Industrial College and prior to that he served as a commissioning engineer for the Saudi Electricity Company. Al-Shurafa is heavily involved in rotating equipment troubleshooting and reliability improvements. Mr. Ali developed and conducted many academic and industrial short courses and workshops. Mr. Ali is a certified Vibration Specialist (ISO 18436 Cat III) since 2002. Email:

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