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PDM ENGINEERING
VIBRATION TROUBLE-SHOOTING FIELD GUIDE

EasyReference
Guide for the
Field Technician

ALIGNMENT & BALANCING BY SAM PICKENS

VIBRATION ANALYSIS
TROUBLESHOOTER’S GUIDE

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© 2005, 2006, 2007

2006. That was back in the days of HP-9000 (300) used as controllers for real time analyzers.What is vibration? There are three basic types. Shown is a typical modern day vibration acquisition system. velocity and displacement. This really makes time wave form data from machinery vibrations meaningful and somewhat easy to interrupt. There are several good ones on the market. 2007 . It has certainly changed since I bought one of the first ADRE systems in 1981. Three basic parameters. Three basic types of transducers for machinery vibration study. 2 © 2005. acceleration. velocity and displacement. Linear. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) is modern technology applying Jean Baptiste Fourier’s (1768-1830 AD) formula into electronic format displaying time wave form data into frequency spectra. We can then apply 200-year-old math to decipher the meaning of the data represented on the instrument. Bending and Torsion. acceleration. So we need to be able to observe these phenomena in an easily understood way via data acquisition instrumentation.

BEARING COMPONENT: BPFI (Ball Pass Frequency Inner Race) BPFO (outer race frequency) BSF (Ball Spin Frequency) FTF (Fundamental Train Frequency) cage problem Here’s the so-called classic bearing equation = shaft speed in RPM = contact angle Pd = Pitch diameter Bd = Ball diameter BPOR = N/2 Bd/Pd (1 – Bd/Pd cos) 3 BPIR = N/2 (1 + © 2005. In the 1970’s we were basically carrying a portable instrument and collecting vibration data via a velocity transducer and recording that data onto a chart with pen in hand. FUNDAMENTAL: This is running speed or 1X. 2007 Bd /Pd cos) . One should visualize this as a bell. If overall level vibrations above a certain magnitude were encountered. be careful. itself being the fundamental or 1X component]. The bell is the center of concentric circles – circles or harmonics are numbered from the center. then we would pick out the predominate frequencies and log them as well. A long process but one that proved its worth. the first harmonic (primarily an acoustical term) is also referred to as two times RPM (2X). 2006. Ray Dodd is held in esteem as the guy that fathered the modern day predictive maintenance (PdM) programs. that would be the 2X component. The bell is the center and the first circle encountered is the first harmonic.Mr. [The bell. Also component fundamental is sometimes used. FIRST HARMONIC: Some confuse this with the symbols 2X and 1X. the bearing’s ball pass frequency fundamental is expressed as component fundamental to distinguish it from harmonics in a ball pass problem within the spectra. referred to as the machine’s fundamental or fundamental component. But in machinery terms. This writing is to serve as a help and guide to assist in diagnostics of vibration problems. i. Always make sure it is defined if used for anything other than running speed. So.e. First we’ll make sure that certain terms are defined to avoid confusion.

laser. A velocity transducer is sometimes useful for balancing. Velocity. Bearing cap data are now taken almost exclusively in acceleration. There are contact type and non-contact type. Mass determines resonance so the sensor’s mass should be so that the frequencies of interest are below its natural frequency. Which is best? That may be impossible to determine. all non-contacting as this is only a field reference book. not absolute. The non-contact sensor (eddy current probe) provides rotor dynamics and good down to DC. I will and do present digitized data in all three parameters for some. apart from that I won’t use a velocity transducer and don’t integrate an acceleration spectrum into velocity or double integrate to a displacement spectrum. So. I do not believe in producing a velocity spectrum because it is so limited as compared to an acceleration spectrum. The contact type are cheaper and easier as a rule but are affected by the machines dampening effect caused by bearing type and mass. Velocity (IPS) is a good language to translate into words and is a common language as it is irrespective of frequency. Those integrations are only relative. I’ve used that approach since 1980 exclusively. MEASUREMENT PARAMETERS: Acceleration. Large turbo machinery – both. 2006. Displacement and Acoustics (dB). 2007 . We are not getting into all systems. you can iterate an amplitude and one can understand its magnitude or severity.Field balancing using a tach for a trigger device to sync at once per rev. 5 © 2005.

800 and 1600 lines of resolution. but not really sure if all are versed in its meaning. A picture is worth a thousand words.005 and automatic scaling.Overall or Overall level (OA): A term I use often. You can’t analyze what you can’t see. I have successfully implemented such programs.44 g/f V=1. So. You’ll tear into a machine and realize that you have gotten maximum life: no need to pull the magnifying glass out and look for scratches.56 g/f 2 g=0. Integration is relative. It is the sixth band in my PdM software. 2007 . I’ve seen people do that – it stands out that it’s an excuse for inability or a poor program.016 2Vf g=0. Why waste your time with a velocity spectrum when it isn’t even a true integration from acceleration to velocity. Time waveform data are broken down into frequency spectra. and use acceleration spectra for diagnostics: 3600 RPM to 5 kHz. Overall level (OA) is the square root of the sum of the squares. 400. Normally an analyzer has 200. 2006. Or in a 200 line analyzer it would be line 201. Imagine a spreadsheet of 400 columns. Work in acceleration and get used to it. not absolute. Discipline yourself and you’ll find over time your PdM program will evolve into planned scheduled maintenance and you’ll get maximum life from the machine and eliminate overtime.013 f2D g=0. Likewise.0511f D g=2.57 g/f2  NOTE: D= inches pk to pk or meters pk to pk V= inches per second (IPS) meters per second f= frequency in Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second (RPM/60) g= 386. But in the analysis stage when gathering acceleration data use acceleration for analysis. & displacement ENGLISH METRIC V=(Pi)fD V=(Pi)fD V=61. each of the 400 windows has amplitude: that amplitude for each window is squared. It took some transition period to get from displacement to velocity. therefore velocity is the language to speak in for clarity and ease of understanding. it’s the right thing to do now and the way of doing in the future. Relationships of sinusoidal velocity. The height is normally 1 Volt with a resolution of 0.4968 g/f2 D=18. Both displacement and acceleration are respective of frequency.64 Vf D=0. acceleration.3183 V/f D=0. Machines fitted with anti-friction bearings should always be monitored in acceleration.1 IPS2 6 © 2005.3183 V/f D=0. if I’m using a velocity transducer or an eddy current probe I monitor IPS and mils respectively – never integrating the spectra only displaying digitized data in all three parameters. as that’s normal for most PdM programs.

707 X peak value = 1.637 X pk value = 2. But.57 X avg value = 0. 7 © 2005.0 X pk value -------_________________ avg rms P-P Microphones (acoustics) are not usually associated with machines except for OSHA sound level measurements. if you have a machine high and away (remote) and don’t have transducers mounted.11 X avg value = 1. This will sometimes produces good results and always is better than no approach or program at all. then a highly directional microphone can assist for frequency analysis. 2007 .414 X rms value = 1.Constants for true sine waves only rms value rms value peak value peak value average value pk to pk value = 0. 2006.

We won’t be getting into media that has so many variables and dampening factors and background noise etc.Sound isn’t our topic although sound is vibration and vibration is sound. 2007 . 2006. here’s a chart nonetheless. But. 8 © 2005.

2007 . Phase gathering triggering devices either photo tachs. I also acquire bearing cap data. (for example) I will go into a control room and acquire data directly from the panel by plugging in to an existing system such as a Bentley Nevada 3300. An outside consultant may choose to use known transducers such as his or her own accelerometers for bearing cap data. one must know that the transducer is in calibration. this gives me rotor dynamics.In a PdM program we normally are concerned with bearing cap data and sometimes with permanently installed transducers. They may be phased matched having phase measuring capabilities down 30 RPM within 2%. NOTE: A normally good machinery analyses instrument system will cover 20 kHz to 0 Hz or DC and have transducers covering 0. Set transducers side by side to confirm amplitude/phase integrity as a field check. High quality tachometer may be necessary when phase readings aren’t stable using conventional phase gathering instruments. However.05 Hz to 20 kHz. Normally. But. 9 © 2005. 2006. eddy current probes or strobes. laser.

Bearing problems and faulty machine parts will manifest themselves into running speed vibration at some percentage as the machine deteriorates. By monitoring coast down one may record via instrument tape recorder.. Misalignment (gross) will totally manifest itself in 1X and you’ll play havoc attempting to balance that problem. resonance. and different positions with phase data. eccentrics) internal run-outs. These are imbalance. All too often I see technicians balance and amplitude at running speed will become acceptable and it’ll be called good. external mechanical run-outs (coupling hub. different data points. information that can identify resonance. Imbalance in vertical machines is usually highest transverse to the flow or in the most flexible direction. Never just balance a machine to an acceptable vibration level and walk off with out some analysis to determine machine condition. etc. 2007 . However. 2006. Bottom mounted machines usually reveal higher 1X vibration in the horizontal direction. Analyze the spectra. balance the number of planes necessary to achieve smooth machine operation. This enables you to monitor power off cascading to a complete stop. that balance job didn’t magically cure the machine component that also has a fault. pulley. That percentage may be very small but a bearing flaw (for example) will produce drag and contribute some magnitude into running speed though its source may not be determined. or internal capture in a real time analyzer. Correct faults then balance. then whip is the problem and requires third plane balance or further testing. bent shaft. electrical. machine part. Once imbalance has been determined to be the fault. The third plane is the center of the roll. Often the vibration disappears upon power off if electrical in nature.yes.OUT OF BALANCE CONDITION: Imbalance occurs at running speed and produces a clean sharp spike at 1X. Phase measurements (see photos below) are very useful in determining misalignment and bent shaft but one of the easiest methods of detective work is to simply shut down the machine when you can and if practical. 10 © 2005. On paper machine dryer cans where you balance two planes and still have excessive amplitude: does the phase match . When field balancing one may want to use eddy current probes or existing transducers. Running speed vibration is very often misunderstood and gives many technicians problems. 1X vibration problems. Use a good analyzer with capturing capabilities or a tape recorder when you can.no 2X or 3X and relatively smooth the rest of the base band. Most large turbo-machinery will have a permanent monitoring system installed that you can plug into in a control room or local panel. I’ve seen technicians attempt to balance rotors with high 1X and almost nothing else .

2. Resonance possibility in slower machines. Electrical. Resonance. alignment. This phenomenon occurs with coupling problem. 1. gears or pulleys. 11 © 2005. 3. etc. Reciprocating forces. Second Harmonic Misalignment (3X) (shaft to shaft) 1. Eccentric journals. Machine part. Loose bearing or part. Misalignment. high in the axial direction. 4. Strobe for phase and/or motion study. Excessive clearance NOTE: Single volute pumps usually 3 or 5 vanes. Pumps should have 12% cut water clearance so cavitation can be avoided. physical measurements can be taken. Photo tach for once per sync or trigger. Double volute pumps have even number of vanes. Electrical Mechanical Looseness 1. coupling run outs. air gap 3. 2.Once the machine is shut down. Reciprocating forces. Non-clog pumps normally have two vane impellers. A problem can be simple too. Machine part Fourth 4X Fifth 5X Coupling Problem Machine Part 1. Excessive axial clearance. such as shaft run outs. 2007 . 2006. 2. On electric motors you may find a chipped blade on its fan. Resonance 3. Misalignment or Bent Shaft. 4. 5. VIBRATION GUIDELINE CHART Frequency Running Speed ( 1X ) Two Times or First Harmonic (2X) Probable Cause Imbalance Other Possible Causes 1. but can also be bearing looseness 2. Internal misalignment 4. Vane pass in pump 2. 3.

Ball Spin . Defective machine parts Electrical * Line Sync Frequency (120 Hz) Rotor Problem Upper freq. Insulation Breakdown 1. Lubrication 2.rub (0. 12 © 2005.01 IPS) 2. Traceable to the NIST is a requirement. In a sleeve bearing .BPIR 2. Oil Whip 3. Vane passing 2.good for analysis when a fault is detected: A must for third party consulting. Rotor resonance 2. Drive Belts 4. Fan speed x # blades 3. 2007 . Unequal air gap 4. Resonance Drive Belts 3. Unbalanced phases 5. Outer race . Eccentric rotor 3. look for side bands of Aerodynamic Hydraulic speed 2. (60 Hz) Upper Harmonic defective shaft Frequencies Other Possible Causes Gears 1.BPOR 3. Rotor Bar Problem 2.0039 Hz or better with a dynamic range of 120 dB . Machine part Bearing Defects Lubrication 1. impeller x # vanes 4. FTF Fundamental Train Frequency Line Freq. 2006. Torque pulses 1.VIBRATION GUIDELINE CHART Frequency Sixth 6X Sub-rotative 43% typical can occur @ 39%-48% Half Running Speed 1/2X Probable Cause Machine Part Oil Whirl Rub 1. not harmonic 1. Inner race . Cavitation. Gear wear.BSF 4. Rotor slippage on shaft (usually found with 4X) 1. Cage .FTF Synchronous 2 pole motors operate @ 60 Hz (3600 RPM): A good real time analyzer may have a resolution of 0.

Of course a good maintenance program will have alignment records. Use good field proven techniques and procedures to gather alignment data and/or correct alignment. don’t form an opinion before you’ve gathered sufficient data. It happens too often.OK. Angular misalignment is usually found at 2X in the axial direction. gross radial misalignment will manifest itself in 1X and not even show 2X or 3X. And those alignment records should be truthful and exact so they can be used for an analysis tool. 2006. When searching for an unknown source. However. Bentley Nevada Fixture Laser alignment instrument. I’ve seen people try fruitlessly to balance a misaligned machine. it is usually associated with a 2X component along with 3X in the axial direction. Dual Beam 13 © 2005. If physical measurements must be taken one may do so if the situation permits. 2007 . Using phase as a tool measure both ends and across the coupling. how do we check and solve for these problems? Let’s go to misalignment.

Visit http://www. dirt Evaluate if a temporary spacer is need or useful for this alignment process. These are field proven and work. Long Spacer Coupling and Rim & Face. 2006. dial indicators. lockout and tag. note Inspect coupling and check for run outs Coupling halves must if possible rotate together for dynamic alignment Evaluate method of alignment to be used Which is best suited for this job 14 © 2005.Of course this one with the big picture is my personal kit (shims are extra): PdMK-2. roughness.pdm-engineering. 2007 . Rack out fuses and chain valves when necessary Ensure driven machine has no stress from piping or soft foot and that the anchor bolts are tight Inspect the feet and base of the machine to be aligned for burrs. They will enable you to align in the shortest period of time.com The procedures below are for all types of alignment. The types of alignment are: Indicator Reverse. The methods for these types are: Laser (single and dual beam). parallels and micrometers. ALIGNMENT PROCEDURES SAFETY.

correct as necessary Rough align within 1/16 inch Record alignment readings Are they valid? Mathematically correct and repeat?s thrust a consideration? Calculate shim and lateral shift change Via computer? Print and file. Calculator? Record.mechanical looseness is a prime factor when this type of vibration occurs. Make changes and verify & PLOT If spacer was used. Approach the machine like a crime scene. 2006. I’ve uncover the source of vibration using this technique. remove it at this time PLOT THE FINAL ALIGNMENT DATA UNLOCK AND REMOVE TAGS.is there a difference .measure both sides. It sometimes pays to acquire data at the foot or split of a bearing cap. you can duplicate most vibration situations or create experiments for further study.Is axial thrusting a factor Collect SAG data and record Install brackets on machines and record machine dimensions Check for soft foot. but also take cap readings.measure? Can you feel or hear a beat? Use a stopwatch. 15 © 2005. Measurement techniques are important as well as applying common sense. plot and file. Notice everything. Eddy current probes give rotor dynamics. Reciprocating forces. It is radial in nature and usually predominate in the vertical direction. Peck on a sole plate. 2007 . Bentley Nevada markets a good lab kit complete with eddy current probes and oil whirl attachment. count the beats over a five minute period. does the foundation appear correct and properly isolated? Are there cracks on the Floor. stand on each side of the crack . is there thud? Are there splits in the case or bearing housings . are you analyzing a compressor? If you are fortunate enough to have a good vibration lab. NOTIFY OPERATIONS PLACE RECORD AND PLOTS IN MAINTENANCE FILE 2X running speed .

very good to separate frequency components. Sleeve bearings: rubs. let’s consider half running speed. Low pass filters can let you blow up low frequency signals. Phase axially: measure every ninety degrees. perform ring testing . Can you alter speed or other factors? A coast down provides good information. you never want to see a rub.2 Hz delta freq and so on.a riding up and slipping back on the journal. In reality. resonance is usually a consideration. This works well especially with an analyzer having a 90 dB range or better.05 IPS is trouble. Also real time zooming is a good tool. low pass filters. side bands around 60 Hz such as around 1. when it becomes violent it is called whip. This can give a resolution of 0. clearance is an important function. One problem can excite another. A rub in a sleeve bearing will show up at ½ and may be very severe at 0. What is a machine’s mass.this will give you natural frequency. Oil viscosity is an important factor and one must consider the type of oil system.0156 Hz or better. lubrication and looseness are main concerns. Another consideration in taking low frequency measurements. In low frequency problems. dampening factor? A rub at 0. Sixty Hertz from running speed. Oil whirl is . While the unit is down. While we’re in low frequency stuff. radically. Is there a difference from machine to base? What about phase end to end. excessive clearance. 16 © 2005. They’re available in a variety of ranges.Cap readings make up machine and rotor movements.03 IPS (inches per second). misalignment. Since these bearings ride on a film of oil and the hydraulic pressure provides certain lift. Excessive clearance will cause harmonic content. 2007 . 2006. Also look for sub-harmonics.

But. Anti-friction bearings: use both time waveform and frequency spectra. Back in 1980 velocity was the new kid on the block for most. However. page 2. There’s more than just the Hanning window too. a sharp spike will broaden: study spectral shape and use shape as a diagnostic tool. There’s more than shown. Windowing as in different base bands is also a tool. Explore! Technical Associates of Charlotte have a good section on A-F bearings. you can’t argue with success. You may have never seen this in print before. There was also a transition period between displacement and velocity. Just like the misalignment condition manifesting itself exclusive in 1X.We have oil bath. Physically setup that condition in a machine and let it prove itself. 17 © 2005. Again. acceleration is the right thing to do: integrating to velocity is not absolute only relative. A good analyzer is a very valuable too. I once encountered an oil whirl in a machine with five tilting pad bearings. machine parts and looseness are main contributors but. mist lubed. I made this statement in 1983 about acceleration. 2006. make sure the 4X isn’t being produced from another source. within ten years everyone will work in acceleration. There is no pure integration and you can’t analyze what you can’t see. Who works in mils today for a PdM program? Remember. Just any ole black box won’t do. When this occurs. 2007 . The fifth and sixth harmonic (5X & 6X). R-0792-3. Overall analysis is also useful but always with the frequency spectra. If a sleeve bearing is loose in it’s housing it can produce a 4X component. always consider a phase study. ring oiled. Velocity will only be used as the universal language and rightly so. On 3600 RPM machines use a base band of 5 kHz. I think you’ll be glad you switched. if you’re using velocity successfully and almost only worked in velocity: give acceleration a try. Banding analysis and overall level diagnostics work well. These bearings transmit forces more readily than sleeve bearings and the stiffest direction usually reveals a higher magnitude of vibration. Lubrication usually isn’t a big problem anymore. never limit anything when troubleshooting. Defective anti-friction bearings are a product of mechanical deterioration. etc. I’d rather fight than switch back. oil circulation. but this comes from practical experience. the 6X can be generated by a loose rotor and is usually accompanied by 4X. For purposes of resolution I normally view 2 kHz as my primary base band.

quantity per time interval. type. it isn’t good at all on low frequency machines. so don’t hold me to exact numbers although the scenario is close. A bearings natural frequency will be excited in the absence of lubrication. A word of warning. Check schedules. 14 grams per two weeks).. Classify machines as to speed and environment to determine frequency of lubrication. mass & dampening must be taken into account. PdM makes them cost efficient. Again. Example: 5 g’s 0-P over 5 kHz @ 3600 RPM usually will fail within a month.e. Alignment makes them run longer. the same machine situation @ 1800 RPM may take two months to fail plus or minus a little. This is a broad statement. bearing defects having a magnitude of 4-7 g’s 0-P over 5 kHz are nearing failure.shaft currents. 28 grams per month. Lubrication makes the wheels go around. Continuous monitoring systems provide good trending information much better than a monthly or quarterly route program. 2007 . If magnitudes of vibration are observed near the end of the spectra (high frequency region). Another factor of detrimental high frequency vibrations related to A-F bearings . Monthly or quarterly monitoring programs require a good chief analysis. Lastly. etc. This can be measured (shaft currents) with a good DMM.e. use 5 kHz base band on 3600 & 1800 RPM machines in conjunction with your normal observance frequencies. But. then you may want to look at the next higher base band on your analyzer. never rely on it for a tool. Trending is valuable on continuous monitoring programs but has short comings on anything less. i. And. paper machine dryer cans. spike energy is not a good evaluation parameter. if the program is old enough. Got a lube program? Your grease guns should be labeled – one shot equals so many grams! Each grease lubed bearing should be given and exact quantity over a given time interval (i. Please. maybe a little more. 2006. lubrication or lack of it. maybe a little less. this is an illustration. You can also have a buildup of static current that discharges through the bearing. 18 © 2005. With the absence of machine defects. In PdM program mode use trending.This has been the common analytical approach since the late 70’s. On high RPM machines note the harmonics of bearing fundamentals.

How is the fundamental affected? Use phase. 2007 . In troubleshooting always draw on all natural resources available to you. They opted to distort the case. Also. At 18. Upon shut down I inspected and measured clearances.0 g’s 0-P @ gear mesh. costly machine? Maybe it’s time to call the outside consultant. 2006. It was left there and monitored regularly. who? Again. these are guidelines to help you troubleshoot and solve your problem. The defective gear will be modulated or side-banded by the defective gear’s shaft speed. you gotta: get your feet wet. when a good PdM program is in place one can know when the lube is lacking. With this in mind. But. Gear mesh frequency in most cases is in trouble at or around 10. I don’t consider any to be categorizes as simple. But. Therefore. Gearboxes: These can be very complicated.0 g’s. I believe that’s a good philosophy in most all aspects of everything you do. A voith coupling (high H. Always use time waveform as an analytical tool.P. look for half gear mesh. I recommended to continue operation as distorting the case to correct internal misalignment would only cause an increase in vibration level. But. Sometimes you are put in a position of doing diagnostics above your head. It’s a characteristic of that box. I like to calculate that time/time interval as accurately as possible. If you gotta. There was originally internal misalignment. it had already worn a pattern. not alignment or balancing or PdM. Some of these things are only obtained from experience or being around someone with experience. Vibration increased.P. I have papers I’ve written on grease lubed bearings and quantities per given time interval. Know when it’s time to call in help.Lubrication is your single most important program. calculations and estimations can be ‘backed off’ slightly and fined tuned over time through frequency analysis. I again recommended no action as it would now wear a new pattern and reduce in magnitude. I was call on a very high H.0 g’s (high frequency). a critical. If I have a good PdM program it will fine tune those numbers. Also.) may give you a bit of diagnostic problem as they can have an amplitude/frequency display in an axial position that appears excessive. This is unusual but not odd. It sometimes becomes necessary to stress a gearbox to achieve internal alignment. I have developed these standards with and through others: 19 © 2005.0 g’ it was inspected and then put back in service to 20. unit operating at 12. look for a small `side spike’ on the side of defect peak in time waveform if a gear is cracked or chipped. Correct gearbox set up is essential.

It shouldn’t insult him if you ask for a resume’ and sample report as well as references. 20 © 2005. formerly The National Bureau of Standards. 2006. now. Is it warranty work. 2007 . National Institute of Standards and Technology. then the work must be traceable to the NIST.The chief analyst must have at least ten years experience as an analyst with five years spent as an outside consultant.