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Title: Considerations in Establishing a Vibration Based Predictive Maintenance Program for Machine Tools Source/Author: John Vigants Product: General Technology: Vibration Classification:
Considerations in Establishing a Vibration Based Predictive Maintenance Program For Machine Tools John Vigants, P.Eng. Computational Systems, Inc. Knoxville, TN ABSTRACT The considerations involved in establishing a vibration based Predictive Maintenance Program (PDM program) vary depending on the specific machinery applications involved. Most introductory level courses suffer from attempting to address too broad a range of industry, the specifics of any one being glossed over in the process. The goal of this paper is to share the experiences of the author in establishing and maintaining programs for machine tool applications. Program management, measurement, analysis, and reporting techniques, as well as safety issues will be among the areas considered. PROGRAM MANAGEMENT In the most general sense, program management is just that; managing your vibration program. Specifically though, what is being referred to are the tasks involved with determining the scope, methods, book-keeping, et cetera. Technical considerations aside, there is much to be decided in establishing a program. Goals The first task should always involve setting goals. What is one hoping to achieve? The answer to this question will of course vary depending on the nature of one's facility, criticality of equipment, existing maintenance culture, level of management support for the program that may be expected, et cetera. In the broad sense the response will always be 'to save money'. This may be rephrased in many ways (increased plant availability, improved product quality, increased throughput, reduced downtime, or reduction in the amount of unscheduled maintenance are examples), but ultimately reduces to an issue of saving money for the company. A specific targeted return on investment is usually the preferred method of justifying the capital outlay for equipment and training or purchased services. As it is often difficult to accurately estimate the savings which may be realized, this will be a rough calculation in most circumstances. In the author's experience, the return on investment for even a moderately successful program is excellent if an honest admission of the cost of 'run to failure' maintenance is allowed for comparison purposes. This is not to say that one should only set goals in the financial sense. It is important to decide to what extent the technology is to be used for controlling product quality as opposed to predicting machine failures. These goals will determine to a large extent exactly how one proceeds. The use of vibration analysis for assessing product quality on a routine basis is not yet widespread. Rather, once deficiencies in a product are detected, vibration analysis is often employed in determining the root cause of the problem. As PDM programs become more prevalent and the technologies more mature, the routine introduction of vibration analysis as a quality indicator is likely.
The single largest cost in most industrial sectors (the machining industry being no exception) is the cost of downtime. Although costs are reduced by repairing equipment before catastrophic failure occurs (replacing bearings versus a complete rebuild with new shafts, motor windings, et cetera), the cost of lost productivity is generally many times greater. In fact, for companies operating in a strong market, it may not be possible to recapture the market share represented by the lost throughput. It is common, in a medium to large facility, to measure the cost of downtime in tens of thousands of dollars per hour. One may conclude then, that the first and most obvious application of any PDM program must be to prevent unscheduled downtime. How is unscheduled downtime avoided by using vibration analysis? A three part answer, while not exhaustive, highlights the most significant advantages. 1. By verifying that new equipment meets a predetermined vibration specification, it is possible to reduce infant mortality greatly, while increasing the probable useful life of machinery. Many companies, as well as national and international associations, have, and constantly refine, acceptance criteria for a broad range of specific types of equipment. Not only are manufacturers' defects detectable, but improper installation is also avoided. 2. By verifying that rebuilt equipment also meets a predetermined vibration specification (often as stringent as that for new equipment), it is possible to avoid infant mortality further yet. 3. Perhaps most importantly, by giving regular periodic insights into machinery condition, vibration analysis gives advanced warning of developing problems. This allows advanced scheduling of both parts and human resources. Scope Assuming that it has been decided to use vibration analysis in order to reduce unscheduled downtime, the question becomes: Which equipment will be monitored? Typically the determination of the scope of equipment to be monitored is derived from two competing factors: criticality of machinery and available resources. If there were no limitation on resources, then there would definitely be a bias towards monitoring everything, and monitoring it often. The reality of limited resources forces one to be more realistic in assessing the criticality of each process. Whereas in certain industries and in certain situations there is redundancy built into the production process (i.e., one main and one backup for every process), this is seldom the case for machine tool transfer lines. The transfer line method of automation involves moving the work piece from station to station on some sort of a conveyor system, while at each station a specific machining operation (drilling, tapping, boring, milling, et cetera) is performed. A physical grouping of stations within the transfer line is usually termed an operation. The significance is that not only does a given station usually have no spare associated with it, but that failure of a single station causes its entire operation, and eventually the whole transfer line, to shut down. Given that the failure of a single station in a transfer line can, and usually does, shut down the entire line, it would appear that every station in the line is critical. This is true. In fact, the greater the level of automation, the more likely that a single failure will have far reaching consequences. Where then does one find economies? If everything is critical, and there are insufficient resources to monitor it all, where do we draw the line? This is an uncomfortable question that has no easy answer. In most instances it is the equipment with the greatest political visibility (the plant showpiece) which is monitored first and most often. Unfortunately, this may also be the line which receives the greatest amount of preventive (as opposed to predictive) maintenance. Older, more worn equipment is often overlooked at the onset of a program. This is unfortunate since these are also the machines that most often can benefit immediately from the application of vibration analysis. The ideal solution is to review the failure statistics and let the facts indicate the direction. If an elaborate maintenance task tracking system is not in place, one usually finds that the company's trades' people have an excellent insight into which machines consistently require maintenance. Let us assume that it is not possible, at least initially, to collect data on every machine in the facility. If the limiting factor is manpower, the amount of equipment that can be monitored may be estimated using the following rules of thumb: • Most support equipment (hydraulic pumps, fans, coolant pumps) are relatively simple machines that can be effectively monitored using ten measurement points each (more on setting up equipment later). As these units tend to be accessible and often run continuously, it should be possible for one person to collect data on at least fifty machines (500 points+) in a normal eight hour shift. This estimate may need to be revised downward if
numerous guards must be removed and then reinstalled. • Collecting data on transfer line stations tends to be much more time intensive. As data is generally taken with the tool(s) running at idle (not cutting) there are definite issues of access. The assistance of a machine operator or job setter is usually required. The safety gates surrounding all stations pose additional strategic challenges. If the transfer line runs all three shifts, seven days per week (not uncommon) it can be almost impossible to collect data without interfering with production. Issues of access aside, the average machine tool station requires upwards of twenty measurement points to adequately define it. With reasonable operator cooperation, it is usually possible for one person to collect data on as many as twenty machines (400 points+) in a normal eight hour shift. This estimate is quite coarse; machine configuration and complexity can vary a great deal. • Experience indicates that a reasonable interval for data collection is monthly. Extremely critical machinery may justify a shorter interval (and for some equipment a longer one). However, until sufficient data has been obtained to establish a trend on a given machine, it is not recommended that longer than one month be allowed to pass between collection periods. Considering the above, a realistic goal for machine tool applications is four to five hundred measurement points in an eight hour shift. Add to this an equal time for analysis, reporting, and database administration (plus a one time allotment for initial database setup also equal to the time required for data collection) and one arrives at a method to roughly estimate the number of points that can be monitored with a given resource base. Example 1 One trained person, devoted 50% of the time to the PDM program (i.e., 10 days per month; 5for data collection and 5for analysis, reporting, et cetera) should be able to maintain 2000 to 2500 data points, days Example 2 A typical transfer line may include 50 machining stations (1250 points) as well as 35 pumps, fans, et cetera (350 points), for a total of 1600 measurement points. This should take a trained person 7 or 8 shifts per month to maintain. Finally, take heart: The application of a successful PDM program will eventually generate the resources necessary to expand the program to include all machinery, simply by reducing the amount of hysterical maintenance that is required. In-House vs. Contracting A discussion of PDM program management would not be complete without touching on the issue of contracting the work out as opposed to performing it with in-house staff. While a complete discussion of these options represents a thesis unto itself, there are important issues to consider: Possibly the strongest argument in favor of performing the task in house is the eventual benefit of having a skilled vibration analyst on hand full time. Depending on the loading of in-house staff with other responsibilities, it may be possible to establish a program with minimal addition of resources. As the hardware, software, and analyst are available at all times, it may be easier to successfully schedule both routine data collection as well as additional special testing. Finally, there is a tangible benefit to the analyst having had experience with the specific machinery being monitored. However, the capital investment in training personnel to become skilled analysts is not insignificant. Personnel that are members of a collective bargaining unit are subject to the rules of that organization in areas of seniority, retirement, "bumping" rights, et cetera. Constantly involving new people in the program while losing experienced personnel can cause in-house programs to exceed the cost of contracting out the work, because of the expense of training many employees over a period of time. One must not overlook the capital costs for equipment and software either. With an outside contractor, however, staff changes do not involve any additional costs, and with a reputable firm one can expect a skilled analyst to be assigned to the job at all times. Ideally, one also benefits from the analysts' prior experience with similar machinery. It is not unreasonable to expect immediate benefits to result and, of course, there are no capital outlays for equipment. If it is decided to perform the program in-house, at the very least one should seek experienced help to get started. There is nothing worse than to see a program do poorly or fail just because it did not get started-off on the right foot! Too often energetic and hard working people become greatly demoralized when, after months of hard work, they discover that they have overlooked or misinterpreted a critical component of their PDM program. Book-keeping
Whether a program is performed in-house or contracted out, it is essential that adequate documentation is prepared and maintained It is recommended that a notebook is prepared which includes, but is not necessarily limited to, sections concerning: • Floor plans and maps. It is critical that personnel are able to find and identify the equipment which is to be monitored. These are also invaluable in establishing the routes that will be followed in gathering the data. Although it may seem obvious at the time to those setting up the program, it will be of great value in the future (i.e., when new personnel join the program). • Machine diagrams. A picture is worth a thousand words... • Machine information data sheets. When analyzing the data it is very helpful to have as much specific information about the machine at hand as is possible. • A schedule for obtaining route data. As mentioned earlier, the setting of goals is a prime component in the success of any endeavor, and will aid in making the task more manageable. • Contact information for resources that have provided or can provide pertinent information. Equipment manufacturers, parts suppliers, operator and supervisor names and extensions, et cetera. Again, while this information may be at the fingertips of one person, obtaining it from scratch could represent a major endeavor for another. • Outlines of procedures. This includes everything from how to collect data (transducer type, mounting technique) to the parameters being used in the spectrum analyzer, to methods and guidelines used to analyze and report on the data. As these items may change from time to time and from machine to machine, they must be documented. • Summary of case histories. When a problem is identified the report should be cataloged in such a manner that it may be benefited from again at a later date. It is foolish to reinvent the wheel for a systemic problem. In fact, it is often by observing patterns in previous findings that one identifies the true root cause of failures in certain machinery. • Cost analysis information. Admittedly, this can be difficult to deal with. Estimating the cost of what would have happened had the problem not been identified early using vibration analysis can be fraught with political considerations. Also, it is legitimately a very hard thing to determine. This may also be the most important documentation that can be maintained, because without it the program cannot be justified. For management to continue their support of both resources and capital, there must be a visible return on investment. MEASUREMENT At this point we have decided why we are embarking on a PDM program: to save money. We have decided how we will do this: by monitoring machinery with the goal of preventing catastrophic failures and increasing up-time. The machinery to be monitored has been chosen: that which we calculate has the potential for maximum return on investment, and which can be done with the actual resources available. The process of documentation has begun: there are maps, resource lists, even drawings and prints have been compiled. Next we must establish the technical aspects of the program. Database structure In order to facilitate later analysis and trending of the vibration data, it should be stored in a logical database format. The preferred methodology for doing so is the hierarchical database or common tree structure (see figure #1). In the process of deciding on and mapping out the machinery to monitored, certain logical divisions of equipment will probably have suggested themselves. In the machine tool industry, these major divisions are most often made at the transfer line level; consider defining a separate database for each transfer line. Then, within a given transfer line (database), the first level might be called the operation level. At this level, group together portions of the transfer line that either share physical proximity or perform logically related tasks. Often, the grouping of equipment into operations will already have been accomplished during the establishment of the transfer line control system. The machines within an operation are each called a station; an example of a station might be a single milling head or box spindle, or a complex, multi-spindle pod. Regardless of the complexity at the station level, the final level will be the individual measurement point level. These are the actual points at which data will be collected, the data which will allow determination of faults present in the equipment.
Points to monitor Common rules of thumb are that for every bearing, two radial measurements are taken, spaced by 90° and that ; for every shaft in the system one axial measurement is taken. The (simplified) reasoning for this is as follows: Axial measurements are necessary in the detection of misalignment, which is probably the most common fault that will be found. Although a single radial measurement may be adequate to detect imbalance or bearing faults, two radial measurements will allow for an assessment to be made of whether a resonance is being excited. Although this works very well for much of the support equipment found in a machine tool facility, there are additional considerations in choosing measurement point locations. While hydraulic pumps, fans, et cetera, typically have fairly reasonable access and are well defined by such measurement points, multi-stage and complex driven units must be accommodated by adding points D3H, D3V, D3A, D4H, D4V... (see figure #2).
It is worth pointing out that it is typical to name each measurement point with a three character alphanumeric label, and that it is usually wise to choose a systematic and easily understood method of nomenclature at the onset of a program. In the example in figure #2, for instance, all motor points are indicated by the first character in the point
name being an M. The second character indicates winch bearing in the given unit is being addressed (on this motor the bearing outboard relative to the coupling is called bearing #1 and the inboard bearing is called #2) and generally should be organized such that for any given character in the first position, the bearing numbers in the second position ascend along the drive line. If, for instance, one is dealing with a two stage hydraulic pump, the bearings in the first stage will be #1 and #2 while the bearings in the second stage will be #3 and //4. Finally, the third character in the point name indicates the orientation; either horizontal, vertical, or axial (refer to figure #3).
The important point is not that it is necessary to follow the methodology outlined above, out rather that a well thought out method is adopted and rigorously followed. Although this may facilitate program database management, the more important reason for this is that a systematic approach will make the task of introducing new personnel to the program less difficult. Machine tool programs do differ from other industry segments in that machining stations can be significantly more complex than simple pumps and fans. A single station may have dozens of tools clustered together in what is referred to as a pod. A pod is typically integral with a (complex) gearbox, the whole of which is driven by an electric motor. While the method outlined above definitely may be applied to complex machines, practical considerations will sometimes demand a somewhat less thorough grouping of measurement points. It may not be possible to locate a probe at every desired measurement point location; either there will not be adequate physical clearance, poor surface finish, et cetera, or safety concerns may prohibit taking the measurement. Complex gearbox/spindle units may have such a dense grouping of bearings and shafts that a modified (reduced) set of points may be more practical. In general, it is usually possible to collect all five points on the motor, a series of points on the gearbox, and a radial measurement on each spindle. Taking axial measurements on the spindles may be unsafe, and additional radial spindle measurement points may not afford sufficient additional information relative to existing points (particularly if the spindle bearings are imbedded in the gearbox). The solution is to establish a group of measurement points for each station that balances the need for adequate information to analyze machinery condition, a reasonable quantity of data to collect on a routine basis, and, above all, points which do not represent a safety hazard. Having decided where to take data, the focus must shift to determining how that data is to be collected. It is assumed that a single channel spectrum analyzer will be used; discussion of multi-channel techniques is beyond the scope of this paper, and simple overall vibration level measurements are inadequate for the machinery condition monitoring techniques being considered. Spectral wave form and trend data The preceding discussions have ignored the fundamental issue involved in a vibration based PDM program: vibration. Vibration involves the mechanical response to any form of excitation. In machine tool applications, the predominant excitation usually is caused by the turning of a shaft in the electric motor driving the tool(s). In an ideal system, the rotation of a shaft would not generate a forcing function. However, all real machines have imperfections, however slight, that cause energy to be transmitted through the machine. These faults may include,
but are not limited to: imbalance, misalignment, rolling element beating faults, electrical faults, et cetera. In addition, other equipment being operated in the vicinity may also transmit energy to the machine. The resulting vibration is measured using a transducer. This is a device which represents the energy of mechanical vibration as an electrical signal. The signal which is measured represents motion as a function of time, and is referred to as a time wave form (figure #4). This representation of the data, while perhaps not the most useful for machinery diagnostics, is the most easily understood. It is nothing more than a record of how that particular measurement point physically moved during a specific period of time.
Another way to show the same data is the frequency spectrum. To explain what a spectrum represents, it is best to describe how it is derived from the time wave form data. A rigorous explanation of this would require delving into the mathematics (which we wish to avoid!), but can be simplified to the following: Consider a simple, periodic signal, a sine wave. A sine wave may be thought of as a description of how something moves with time. As such it has two characteristics of interest; its amplitude (how much it moves) and its frequency (how fast it moves). These two characteristics describe the particular sine wave. If we construct a new set of axes, amplitude versus frequency, we can show these two pieces of information on that new plot (see figure #5). It is important to understand that this is not new information, just a different way of showing what was already known. A real signal will be composed of a great number of sine waves, each of which will have a unique frequency and a measurable amplitude. Each can be represented on the amplitude versus frequency plot as a peak. The more significant that component, the larger the peak. The higher the frequency, the further to the right, and so on.
The importance of this new method of viewing our data cannot be over-emphasized. Although the information is all present in the time wave form, a real signal will have too much information to make much sense of. How many distinct sine waves, for example, make up the complex time wave form in figure #17 By comparison, a spectrum is relatively straightforward to derive information from. The turning speed peak in figure #6 is, in fact, quite distinct.
It will be largely the analysis of such spectra from which machinery health will be determined. By recognizing the frequencies at which energy occurs, it will be possible to deduce what faults are present in a machine. The third method of viewing data involves trending. This is achieved by calculating the energy that is present in part of (or all of) the spectrum and plotting it against time (see figure #7).
This will often give the clearest indication of whether a machine is operating in a stable condition, or if it is heading for failure. Which data to save? Consideration of spectral, time wave form and trend data will, of course, constitute a large part of a vibration monitoring program. At the onset it will be necessary to make decisions that will later have great impact on the success of the program: which data to save? Opinions on this vary from everything to as little as possible. The reason for the second of these attitudes stems from an antiquated idea about the cost of saving data. When computer hard disk space was expensive, it made sense to always save the trend data (to see how things progressed from month to month) but to save the spectral
and wave form data only when an alarm was triggered. As disk space dropped in price, it became feasible to save both the trend and spectral data always, and the wave form only in cases of alarm. Currently, as hard disk space costs less than $1 per megabyte, it seems almost criminal not to save all of the data all of the time. The reason for this is that when a problem does occur, it is very helpful to be able to go back to the data from pervious months. It is true that there may be some data which is never used in analysis, but since it is no longer expensive to keep everything, it is preferable to at least have the option of reviewing previous wave form and spectral data in addition to the trend information. Units A lengthy discussion of the preferred units to use is not necessary. The current standards of using peak velocity (inches per second or ips, peak) for spectral data, and RMS (root mean square) acceleration (g's, RMS) are well founded. Presentation of spectral data in displacement will tend to exaggerate the low frequencies and attenuate high frequency energy. Spectral data in acceleration will display the high frequencies well while suppressing the lower frequencies. Velocity will, however, show a well balanced view of the entire spectrum. Figure #8 shows this relationship schematically. Do not misinterpret this to mean that changing units actually changes the data! While low frequency events may involve relatively large displacements, there is comparatively little acceleration because things are not changing direction frequently or rapidly. This is why it is not desirable to look at the low end of the spectrum in acceleration.
At high frequencies there may be a great deal of energy, and the structure may be moving quickly with rapid acceleration, but the actual amount of physical displacement is small. Which is why we avoid looking at the high frequency end of the spectrum in displacement. The compromise is velocity, which (luckily) works well for machine tools. The choice of acceleration for viewing wave form data is based on similar reasoning. Normally the spectrum is used in order to recognize the patterns that indicate specific faults. The wave form is generally used to assist in determining the severity of those faults; particularly those which involve impacting. Impacting is most often thought of in terms of the forces or accelerations involved, so it makes sense to carry out this step in acceleration. Deciding to use peak-peak for displacement, peak for velocity, and RMS for acceleration is based upon a consideration of what these units of measure intuitively indicate (see figure #9).
When considering how much something has moved (i.e., displaced), it is natural to be interested in the total amount that it moved rather that the distance moved in one direction only. Thus, the use of peak to peak for displacement. For velocity, however, it is important to know how fast the object moves. A peak to peak measurement would indicate the sum of the maximum speed in the positive sense and the maximum speed in the negative sense. Obviously, it is more instructive to consider the maximum speed, period. Finally, acceleration gives us a measure of the energy that is in the system. In considering how to measure this, imagine that two identical bearings each have faults. The first bearing has a single sharp crack in a race, and the other has a shallow spall that runs around a quarter of the circumference. The crack is likely to cause a large impact of short duration, while the spall will cause less impacting but for a longer duration. If a peak measurement were taken, the crack would appear far more significant than the spall, while an RMS measurement would consider the duration of the spall and show it to be the more significant fault. Since it will generally be true that the spall is more serious, RMS provides the preferable method with which to measure acceleration. Aside from the arguments presented above for adopting these measurements, it is the fact that they are the accepted standards for vibration measurement that truly compels their use. The ability to interact with other analysts, sharing data and ideas, is critical to developing the knowledge and skill required for success. Transducer selection Although in many introductory discussions of vibration analysis significant consideration is given to transducer selection, this is not truly necessary when it is machine tools that are being considered. In the vast majority of circumstances, an accelerometer is the transducer of choice. While it is true that some machine tool applications run at sufficiently slow turning speeds for displacement probes to present an attractive alternative from the point of view of low frequency resolution, their use is rare. Several factors cause the use of displacement transducers to be unattractive: • Cost. When compared to accelerometers, these units tend to be expensive. Particularly so since they must be permanently mounted. • Intrusiveness. It is not desirable to penetrate the machine tool housing to insert a probe, as must be done with these units. • Frequency range. There are very few machine tool applications for which the displacement probe will have a satisfactory response at high frequencies. Velocity probes share with displacement probes not only an undesirably high cost factor, but do not present an adequate improvement (when compared to accelerometers) in low frequency response to outweigh their susceptibility to temperature sensitivity, large size, and general lack of robustness. The contemporary accelerometer can have outstanding frequency range, accuracy, stability and are extremely durable. In addition, as their popularity has increased, their cost has diminished. Transducer mounting
The transducer mounting technique of choice is less clear. Three broad categories will encompass the most common methods employed for machine tool applications. • Hand-held probe with stinger. Although this option will produce the least accurate data, it is not expensive, the data is trendable, and there is no need to rely on the work-piece being magnetic. This method is not recommended for high speed machinery, as the contact resonance will cause data to be of questionable integrity from below 1000 Hz and up. • Magnetic mount. This is possibly the most common method; attaching the transducer using a magnet. The contact resonance occurs at high enough frequencies that data integrity is intact until approximately several thousand Hz. Unfortunately, for housings that are not composed of magnetic materials, this technique reduces to that of a poor stinger setup. Still, this technique is inexpensive and quick. • StudMount. When accuracy at very high frequencies is required, it is necessary to attach the transducer via a threaded stud. In a route collection scenario, where a single transducer roves from point to point, this becomes very time consuming practice. Mounting products are available, however, which allow the transducer to be attached using an extremely coarse thread, which speeds the process while providing excellent data. More often it is a safety concern or access limitation that prompts the use of permanently stud mounted transducers. Permanent mounting at each measurement point represents a significant cost, but is usually well justified, especially when it is safety that is at issue. Maximum Frequency (Fmax) Contemporary spectrum analyzers allow the collection of data from zero through very high frequencies (MHz). The nature of the faults which will be investigated on most rotating industrial equipment dictates that the frequency band of interest lies roughly within the audio frequency range. The reasons for this are best explained by describing several of the specific faults that may be anticipated. Faults such as imbalance, misalignment, and looseness appear in the spectrum at low (integer) multiples of shaft turning speed. If we consider that most equipment of interest will have a run speed of between 100 rpm and 5000 rpm, these low frequency faults will require a maximum measurement frequency of only several thousand hertz. Bearing and gear faults, however, tend to occur at higher frequencies. Beating race faults may occur at ten times shaft turning speed or higher, with harmonics that are of interest extending to forty of fifty times turning speed. Gear faults will occur at gear (shaft) turning speed multiplied by the number of teeth on the gear, also with several harmonics being of interest. Thus, even for the higher frequency beating and gear faults, it will not be necessary to exceed a measurement cutoff' frequency of two to three hundred times shaft turning speed; rarely higher than ten to twenty kilohertz. Thus it is safe to describe the frequency range of interest as being essentially contained within the audio band. There is not one single Fmax that will apply to every station, or indeed to all measurement points on a single station. It is necessary to consider the specific faults that are anticipated at a given point. In most machine tool applications the two situations that occur most frequently are: • Points for which the highest fault frequency that one may find will be a bearing race fault. For these points the recommended Fmax is 50 - 70 times shaft turning speed. • Points for which the highest fault frequency will be a gear fault. For these points the recommended Fmax should be determined so as to include several harmonics of the gearmesh frequency (GMF); generally 100 to 300 times shaft turning speed. Most support equipment (pumps, fans, et cetera) will fall into the first category. Whether these units are belt driven or direct coupled, the highest fault frequencies that usually sought are beating race faults (and their harmonics). As turning speeds are almost always between 800 and 3600 rpm on these units, an Fmax that is 70 times turning speed still allows for resolution of the low frequency faults of misalignment, imbalance, et cetera. Since precision spindles range in turning speed from relatively low speeds (several Hz) through very high speeds (hundreds of Hz), application of an Fmax defined as multiples of turning speed will span a very large range of frequencies. At the extremes of turning speed, problems arise: 1. For low speed spindles, an Fmax of even 100 x TS (turning speed) is still a relatively low frequency. Although beating fault frequencies and their first few harmonics will still fall within the frequency range being observed, there may be other faults (electrical, energy transmitted from other machines, et cetera) that will occur at frequencies above Fmax.
2. For high speed spindles, the Fmax required for early detection of bearing faults will result in the low frequency resolution being compromised (see the next section for further discussion of resolution). The bias in deciding the Fmax differs for precision spindles as compared to most other equipment. While misalignment and imbalance are often cited as being responsible for up to 90% of all vibration problems, this is not necessarily true of precision spindles. Rather, it tends to be more profitable to track the health of the bearings, which will generally demonstrate high frequency impacting early in the machine failure cycle. The reasons for this have to do with the care and accuracy employed in manufacturing these units, as well as the low vibration levels that are tolerable while operating. Precision balancing and assembly of all components are a given for such machinery, and if there were to be a problem at installation then product finish would likely to be found inadequate. This does not mean that there may not be problems at installation; but rather that once satisfactory operation is established, it is bearing faults that are of primary interest. As there may be other problems aside from bearing faults at the time of installation, it may be prudent to have a separate measurement point setup for spindle run-off, in addition to the set used for routine monitoring. For a significant percentage of spindles, the above considerations do not apply; the turning speed will be such that a single measurement will allow analysis of all faults of interest. Like support equipment, these are spindles that operate (roughly) in the 1000 to 4000 rpm region. For spindles which operate below 1000 rpm, satisfactory results are obtained by setting the Fmax higher than 5070 times turning speed. This will allow observation of important higher frequency information without overly sacrificing the low frequency range necessary to determining faults such as imbalance, misalignment, and belt problems. It is vital, however, to consider the low frequency consequences of setting too high an Fmax. A dramatic example of the effect of the Fmax is depicted in figure #10. Here, two measurements have been taken on the same point and at the same operating condition. One has an Fmax of 5000 Hz (although it is shown to only a few thousand Hz), while the other was taken to 70 x TS (turning speed was approximately 500 rpm, so Fmax is less than 600 Hz). For each measurement, the sampling frequency used in the meter will be at least 2 x Fmax (derived from Nyquist's theory that a sampling rate of less than 2 x Fmax will not produce a set of discrete values that is an adequate basis for reconstruction of the signal). Thus, the higher frequency measurement will have the faster sampling rate and provide a more accurate representation of the time wave form. At the bottom left of figure #10, the time wave form measured with the lower sampling rate indicates that the machine is experiencing impacting of less than 1 g (RMS). This would normally be associated with a piece of equipment that was operating reasonably well. However, the time wave form at the lower right clearly shows a swing of over 10 g's (RMS), which suggests seriously damaging levels of impacting in the machine.
Figure #10: The Effect Of Fmax Both measurements were taken at the same measurement point. Only Fmax has changed, but the wave form data is very different! It is disturbing that such different diagnoses result from the application of different Fmax settings. At first sight, it is tempting to advocate setting Fmax as high as possible on all measurement points. Before doing so, consider the difficulties which will result if there is inadequate resolution at low frequencies (see next section). The solution is generally to measure spectral data with an Fmax that represents a compromise between low and high frequencies. This can be augmented by taking an additional high resolution low frequency spectrum when belt, balance, or misalignment faults (to name but a few possible low frequency faults) are suspected. In order to ensure that high frequency impacting is not overlooked, consider either (or both) of the following options: • If the spectrum analyzer being used allows for the collection of a "sPecie" time wave form, then take advantage of this feature. The normal wave form which is collected using the sampling rate dictated by the spectral Fmax will be discarded, and a time wave form will be collected that is based on its own Fmax. By selecting a higher Fmax (say 5000 Hz), the resulting wave form data will show impacting more accurately. • The machinery analyzer may have the ability to calculate and store values representing the amount of energy in a number of specified frequency bands (sometimes called analysis parameter bands). These allow for the trending
of energy in narrow frequency bands (i.e., in the region surrounding turning speed). • This, in turn, allows the analyst to trend a specific portion of the spectral energy and to use that trend in determining machinery condition. It is suggested that one or more analysis parameter bands be set up to measure the energy from a low frequency out to very high frequencies (i.e., 2 Hz - 5000 Hz). Trending of this parameter will compensate to some degree for not having high frequency spectral data available. Lines of Resolution In theory, one should be able to set an arbitrarily high Fmax (within the capabilities of the spectrum analyzer being used) to catch the high frequency faults, while still observing the low frequency region of the spectrum. The problem with this really amounts to one of limited resolution. Figure #11 depicts the danger in having too high a maximum frequency with inadequate resolution. Notice that events occurring at less than 1000 rpm would not be discernible using this setup. This is extremely pertinent to machine tool spindle measurements, where the desire to have high frequency spectral data may limit the ability to detect faults which occur at low frequencies. Resolution is an issue which stems from the digital nature of modern spectrum analyzers. These units measure vibration via a transducer which converts the energy of vibration to an electrical signal. This electrical signal is processed in such a way that both a wave form and a spectrum may be stored as a sequence of discrete values representing the amplitude versus time or frequency, respectively. The number of values stored, while user selectable, is limited. The reason for this is basically twofold:
1. Due to hardware limitations, it is not feasible to store an infinite number of points. 2. The length of time required for each measurement is directly proportional to the number of points (and inversely proportional to the Fmax). This means that if the number of lines of resolution for a measurement is doubled, the time required to collect the data also doubles. The resolution that should be used, therefore, will be determined by balancing the three factors: required resolution, time, and space, as depicted in figurer #12.
Obviously, for purposes of facilitating analysis, the higher the resolution the better. As mentioned earlier, the storage space requirement becomes less and less of an issue as computer technology becomes more advanced and less expensive. With hard disk storage space currently costing less than $1 per megabyte, the cost of storage has become minor compared with the overall investment in a PDM program. The time required to collect the data, then, is likely to be the determining factor. Calculating the time requirement will be discussed later. Aside from the risk of losing low frequency resolution in the pursuit of high frequency spectral data, the largest obstacle that is likely to be encountered relates to the ability to resolve high frequency events. The low frequency resolution problem can, in any event, be resolved by collecting additional spectral data using a lower Fmax. High frequency events do not always lend themselves to this solution. A common example of the need for high resolution data involves the case wherein an electrical fault and a mechanical fault occur at similar frequencies. An AC induction motor which runs at a nominal rpm of 3600 will actually run somewhat slower (say 3590, or 59.83 Hz). Twice the turning speed occurs at 119.67 HZ which is very near to any two times line frequency peaks which may exist (at 120 Hz). The spread between such peaks will be only one third of a Hz. If the measurement were being taken with 800 lines of resolution to a frequency of 70 times turning speed (70 x 59.83 Hz -- 4188 Hz), the spectral resolution will be 4188+800 --- 5 Hz per line of resolution. The two distinct faults will not be observable as separate peaks! How to deal with such difficulties depends, to a large extent, on the equipment available. First of all, keep in mind that even though the resolution does not permit complete analysis of the problem, it is still useful data; it has allowed one to determine that a problem (of some sort) exists. For routine data collection this is usually adequate. Advanced techniques require more time and should only be applied when a problem has been identified. Additional Measurements When inadequate resolution becomes a problem, there are options available to the analyst in overcoming the limitations of the basic measurement. Although each of these techniques is really a topic unto itself, it is important to be aware that they are available. • Include phase information. If it suspected that there is more than one fault occurring at a given frequency, and if one of the faults does not occur at an integer multiple of shaft turning speed, then it may be possible to use Synchronous averaging to great advantage. This method of averaging will cause non-synchronous energy to be filtered from the spectrum. In the example given above, energy from the electrical fault would be eliminated in the resulting spectrum. Since this measurement requires phase information (a tach signal of a form that the spectrum
analyzer can deal with), this is not an option for routine collection - it would simply take too long to set up at each machine every month. • Monitor the spectrum in real time and turn the machine off. Any energy that is electrically induced will immediately drop out of the spectrum; mechanically induced energy will 'coast down' with the shaft turning speed. Some machinery analyzers will have the capability to store a chronology of this sequence as a waterfall or cascade plot. Of course, this assumes that one is able to freely stop and start the equipment. • Zoom in on the frequency range of interest. If the spectrum analyzer being used allows the lower cutoff frequency to be raised and all of the resolution concentrated on a narrow frequency band, closely spaced peaks from different faults may be separated. If the analyzer being used does not include true zoom capabilities, a similar result may be obtained using an optional demodulator. Number of Averages It was mentioned earlier that the factor which most often dictates the resolution of a measurement is the time required to collect the data. The time required for a measurement may be roughly calculated using the equation:
where; time = the time (in seconds) to collect a single average. L.O.R. = number of lines of resolution Fmax = the high frequency cut-off (in Hz) Example #3 In the spectrum displayed in figure #5, the Fmax is 300,000 rpm (5000 Hz) and the number of lines of resolution is 800. The time required for a single average will be approximately 800-5000 = O. 16 seconds
The time required to take multiple measurements (for purposes of averaging) will be less than the time for a single average multiplied by the number of measurements. This results from the ability of many analyzers to overlap the data samples being taken. Thus, the second average begins before the first has been completed, et cetera. Example #4 If, for a shaft turning speed of 1200 rpm, Fmax is set at 50 x TS, and 800 lines of resolution are used, then the time to collect 4 averages will be less than:
The time required for the measurement described in example//4 is not excessive. However, if the shaft were turning less quickly (not uncommon for many spindles, mill heads especially), then the time requirement can become significant (particularly if the number of lines of resolution is increased to 1600, and the number of averages to 6): Example #5 If for a shaft turning speed of 150 rpm, Fmax is set at 50 x TS, and 1600 lines of resolution are used, then the time to collect 6 averages will be less than:
Here we see that the measurement time becomes excessive (although a 2/3 data overlap will reduce this, once the time required for autoranging is considered this is probably a fairly realistic estimate). These examples are intended to highlight the importance of considering the factors which affect the measurement
point setup. There is not a single setup that will apply to all measurement points. The important thing, once again, is to establish a workable methodology and stick to it. A rule of thumb which produces reasonable results involves maintaining a resolution of better than 2 Hz per line of resolution while limiting the time per measurement point to a maximum of 5 - 10 seconds. The author has found that using 4 averages will generally provide the best compromise between stable spectral data and the time required to make the measurement. In example 4, above, the time requirement is less than 5 seconds, and the resolution is 1.25 Hz per line of resolution (Fmax ÷L.O.R.). This demonstrates a reasonable measurement setup. Analysis Parameters In discussing the issue of Fmax the idea of an analysis parameter band (AP band) was introduced. Since certain faults (or fault classes) occur in specific frequency ranges, it is useful to trend each range separately. If, for example, the bearing faults that are anticipated will fall in between 5 orders of shaft turning speed and 20 orders of turning speed, it will generally be profitable to designate a band which includes this range. Other faults will dictate additional bands. The value in having these bands lies in the ability of the analyst to trend the energy contained in individual portions of the spectrum, rather than the overall energy. In addition to the bands which comprise the stored spectrum, a band which measures the energy content for frequencies above Fmax may be very useful in the early detection of bearing and gear faults (refer back to discussion of Fmax) A complete set of AP bands, along with the chosen Fmax, number of lines of resolution, number of averages, et cetera, will form the basis for collecting data at a given measurement point. Rather than inputting this information separately for each point, the construct of an Analysis Parameter set (AP set) allows the analyst to easily apply a complete setup to any number of similar measure points. Thus, a single AP set may be used for all electric motor points (assuming the range of motor sizes/powers is not too great). Another may be used for all gearbox points. A third for all spindles points, et cetera. Generic Analysis Parameter sets (which accompany some spectrum analyzers) may form a reasonable basis for much of the equipment to be monitored, particularly support equipment. However, as the considerations discussed earlier will all come to bear on the setup that is selected for each point, it is not reasonable to assume that these generic sets will fully satisfy the requirements for any or all of the machine tools being monitored. It is not reasonable to attempt to dictate a single Analysis Parameter set, or group of sets, that will satisfy all considerations for all equipment. However, there are a few guidelines that may prove helpful: • An attempt should be made to divide all of the measurement points into logical groupings; usually into sets that consider component type and shaft turning speed. These groups may include: machine tool motor points, gearbox points, low speed spindle points, medium speed spindle points, high speed spindle points, hydraulic pump motor points, hydraulic pump pump points, et cetera. • Electric motors tend to run at one of only a few different turning speeds (1200 rpm, 1800 rpm, et cetera). One or two sets may be adequate for all of these units. An order based (multiples of turning speed) set with an Fmax of 70 x TS, 4 averages, 800 lines of resolution will work well. Order based bands should be set for trending of sub-synchronous energy (everything that occurs at a frequency below shaft turning speed), turning speed, 2 - 4 times turning speed, 5 - 20 times turning speed, 20 - 70 times turning speed, and one or more bands that track high frequency energy (0 - 5000 Hz, 0 - 20,000 Hz). This setup is actually quite generic, but it works. This same setup will generally suffice for any measurement on a shaft that runs at between 1000 rpm and 4000 rpm. • The setup detailed above may by applied to slower speed equipment with a modification. On slower speed shafts, the Fmax used will be low (Fmax @ 120 rpm will be 70 x 2 Hz -- 140 Hz). While this may be acceptable for analyzing bearing faults which are geometry based (cracked races, et cetera) the resulting sampling rate is insufficient for the observation of any impacting which results from bearing component resonant frequencies that are being excited. These component resonant frequencies are typically the first indication of impending bearing failure, and for the relatively small component sizes in a machine tool bearing, occur at high frequencies.
The solution to this dilemma involves collecting a special time wave form with a higher Fmax than that which is used to gather the spectral data. Although it may be necessary to discard the wave form used to generate the spectrum in order to collect and save the special time wave form, this is worthwhile in order to get the high frequency information. The low Fmax that will be used for these measurements will cause the time required for data collection to be greater than for higher speed equipment. This may make it attractive to set a lower value for the number of lines of resolution on these points. This is acceptable as long as the resulting spectral resolution remains reasonable. • Another special case involves measurements on shafts which turn at very high speeds. Again, it is possible to use a modified version of a generic setup. In this case the problem is that the Fmax used will be so high that the wave form that is saved will have an extremely short duration. Important high frequency information will be present, but there will only be a fraction of a second of time history available. Were there a periodic low frequency event occurring, this would be missed. By collecting a special time wave form in this case also, it is possible to observe such events. In this case, because the time required to collect the spectral data will be low (remember that an increase in Fmax reduces the time requirement), it is desirable to increase the number of lines of resolution being used so that the spectral resolution remains reasonable. It is important that these decisions precede the beginning of route data collection. Since the data that is collected will form the basis by which the condition of the machinery is monitored, changes to the measurement point setups are to be avoided. If the Fmax, number of lines of resolution, parameter band setups, or other factors are modified, the trend data may be compromised. As it is usually not feasible to post-process all of the parameter information, the trend will usually have to begin anew. ANALYSIS There is not a single 'right way' to analyze vibration data. Each analyst will develop his or her own preferred techniques for reducing data. The variety of types and sizes of machine tool equipment is immense, and from one facility to another the criteria that must be met before maintenance is performed will vary. There are two broad categories of analysis techniques that should be considered; predictive and trouble-shooting. Although this paper is focused on establishing a predictive program, a brief discussion of trouble-shooting is in order. Trouble-shooting There will be occasions when a problem is detected for which the cause is not easily determined via routine vibration analysis. It is quite common, in fact, for the problem to be discovered by means other than the periodic vibration monitoring; usually when product quality becomes deficient. The predictive technologies that are in place should allow the following: • By comparing the most recent spectrum and time wave form to previous data, verification that vibration is at the root of the problem should be feasible. • By observing the trend for each parameter band, it may be possible to determine the frequency range in which the problem is occurring. If narrowing the scope in this way doesn't reveal what is wrong, it will at least help in deciding what isn't wrong. A new noise apparently coming from a gearbox will usually be blamed on a bad bearing, when in fact its source may be a failing coupling. • In a machine tool predictive maintenance program there can be a tendency to focus on tracking bearing conditions. In such cases other possible sources of vibration such as belts or electrical problems can be overlooked. • Production machinery, like durable consumer goods, are subject to wear, corrosion and the like. More than most analysts realize, it is possible for problems to develop even if there is not a single obvious faulty or incorrectly assembled component. Such problems often occur when a resonant frequency of the system becomes excited. This can happen if the stiffness is compromised as a result of excessive corrosion or fatigue, or if mass loading of the machine has changed due to a revised production procedure. Whatever the reason, a resonance problem is not likely to disappear on its own. The haphazard application of stiffeners is just as prone to exacerbate the situation as cure it. In some cases, damage to the machine may even result.
The single channel spectrum analyzer is not without value in verifying the presence and determining the nature of a resonant condition. Impact and coast-down testing are two powerful, yet relatively simple, techniques that may be used to help understand this phenomenon. While these methods will not be discussed further, be aware that they are viable options. A full understanding of how the machine behaves in its resonant condition will require the use of ODS (operating deflection shape) or Modal Analysis techniques. Although the former of these can be performed using a single channel spectrum analyzer (with optional hardware and software), these are generally considered to be multichannel techniques. The cost of hardware, software and training (or fees to a consultant) are not insignificant, but are usually a bargain compared to the cost of downtime. The visual model provided by these technologies will allow not only determination of the root cause of the problem, but will be an invaluable aid in determining a permanent fix. • Finally, never forget to ask the operator what has changed. Many analysts have chased their tails look for the source of a problem, only to find out later that either the feed rate had changed, the bearings were (over)greased, or that the machine was run into by a fork lift. Analysis for predictive maintenance Analysis of the data collected for purposes of predictive maintenance will be simplified if methodology is formally set out, then followed. Certain (very experienced) analysts are able to look at spectral data, in isolation, and correctly determine the condition of that piece of machinery. The rest of us rely on comparing current data to previous measurements and to other similar equipment. The author finds that the following procedure works quite well. Remember though, that there is no single right way to do this. 1. Run an exception report (assuming that the software being used has this feature). The computer is able to compare the levels of energy in each analysis parameter band to levels preset by the analyst (often called alarm limits). Unfortunately, some experience is necessary on the part of the analyst before these levels will be meaningful for the body of equipment being monitored. An experienced consultant can shorten the learning curve considerably. The exception report will indicate which machinery has exceeded the alarm levels in which bands. There are other reports available which will prioritize these probable faults according to the degree to which the alarms have been exceeded. 2. Armed with a list of problem machines, use the software to display (on a machine by machine basis) the vibration levels for each point and in each parameter band. Doing so will allow the analyst to determine in which component and frequency range the fault most likely exists, simply by looking for the highest levels. Sometimes referred to as a profile of the analysis parameters, an example is shown in figure//13. 3. For those points identified in step 2, display a trend for each parameter band of interest to determine whether the levels are increasing and by how much. If many points/bands that are stable have triggered alarms, it is usually an indication that the alarm levels need to be adjusted. 4. If the trend is increasing, the spectrum should definitely be observed and compared to previous data. Inspection and comparison of the time wave form is also advised. This is the stage at which the actual analysis takes place. Fault pattern recognition, which allows the determination of what is wrong with the machine, must be learned through a combination of experience and study. An excellent source is Arthur R. Crawford's: The Simplified Handbook Of Vibration Analysis, Volumes 1 & 2, (Knoxville, TN: Computational Systems, Incorporated. 1992). Whenever studying analysis techniques keep in mind that although the patterns for a given fault will be similar regardless of the application being discussed, machine tools represent a classification unto themselves. Levels of vibration that are acceptable for a fluid pump may be high enough on a machine tool to adversely affect product quality.
The best method for determining what is or is not acceptable involves comparing data from a large body of similar machinery over a long period of time. As this is obviously not possible at the onset of a program, the unfortunate reality is that bad calls will be made. Machines with minor faults will be unnecessarily repaired, and others will fail before the analyst realizes that there is a serious fault. Gaining and maintaining the support of management during this period of learning is absolutely critical. Enlisting the support and expertise of the machinery supplier may assist in determining acceptable vibration levels. Vibration seminars, workshops and users' groups allow the sharing of experience between analysts from different plants, and often even from different companies. REPORTING Once it has been determined which machines present imminent problems, it is necessary to communicate this information. In small organizations (and some large ones, too) it is often the vibration analyst who is expected to correct the problem. Even in such situations, it is important to document the findings. In addition to making the task easier in the future, this step must occur if management support can be expected to continue. Always keep in mind that the audience of these reports will not necessarily have any background in vibration. This does not mean that spectral and wave form data should be omitted, but rather that printing out reams of such raw data is not productive. The cornerstone' of each report should be a concise listing of problem machinery, prioritized by probable fault severity. Since no maintenance department has an infinite capacity to correct problems (at least not before the next report is to be issued), there is little value in providing an exhaustive list of every possible deficiency. To some extent, the analyst must judge how many problems can reasonably be addressed, and then keep the list to approximately that length. For each machine that is included in the summary list there ought to be some supporting data provided in the report. In terms of communicating that something is going wrong, few presentations surpass the trend plot for illustrating that machinery health is declining. When spectral or wave form data is included, an explanation of their meaning is a must. Analysts must be prepared both to defend the reasoning behind their findings, and also to educate their audience in the technology that they are using. Remember that not only is the status of the machinery being communicated in the report, but that this is also the best opportunity to advertise the success of the program. SAFETY The health of a machine is never important enough to justify someone getting hurt. When setting up a program, each potential measurement point must be scrutinized from the viewpoint of safety. More so than in most industry segments, machine tools are dangerous. This is hardly surprising since most of these devices are designed to either cut or grind.
If it is unsafe to collect data manually, install permanently mounted transducers. If the cost of doing so is considered to be too high, then in all likelihood the machine being considered is not critical, and may have to be excluded from the program. Lost time injuries and lawsuits for damages buy a lot of transducers! Good luck and work safely. All contents copyright © 1998 - 2006, Computational Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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