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26 Machinery Condition Monitoring: Principles and Practices

given  frequency. The measurement of ODSs helps in understanding if

two parts of a body are touching each other or the amount of clearance
between them. The ODS is usually measured at the operating frequency of
the machine. The values of the displacement as measured by the ODS are
dependent on the actual operating condition of the machine and are thus
dependent on the loads in terms of magnitude, direction, and location on
the machine.

3.11  Experimental Modal Analysis

In many instances, the vibration at the measurement points in machines may
increase due to an unavoidable resonance condition. This resonance happens
because the external forcing frequency has matched that of one of the reso-
nant frequencies of the machine. The source of the external forcing frequency
is usually due to the operating speed of the machinery, and many times it
is observed that by shifting the operating speed, the resonant condition or
the maximum vibration suddenly decreases. Of course, the machines are
designed so that the system’s natural or resonance frequencies are not close
to the machine’s operating speed. However, in many processing plants for
example, if there is a stirrer mounted on top of a storage tank, it has been
observed that sudden violent vibrations occur on the tank at a certain filling
position. This is due to the fact that, at a certain minimum level of the tank, the
mass of the storage tank changes, which increases the corresponding natural
frequency. While troubleshooting such excessive vibration ­phenomena, it is
desirable to do an in situ estimation of the natural frequency of the system.
Experimental modal analysis is an experimental technique to determine
the natural frequencies, associated damping at the natural frequencies,
and the mode shapes of the few major modes of the machinery. To determine
the frequency response of the system, the system has to be excited and the
response measured at the desired points. Depending upon the number of
excitation points and the response points, the system can be called as a single-
input single-output (SISO) or a multiple-input ­multiple-output (MIMO) sys-
tem. Depending on the response and excitation type, the FRFs are obtained
as described earlier in Table 3.1. The two most common types of excitation
system used for modal analysis are the impact type, using an instrumented
hammer with a force transducer at the tip of the ­hammer, and the random
excitation type, using an electromagnetic exciter driven by a random noise.
At the tip of the stinger that is attached to the electromagnetic exciter a force
transducer is attached. The response of the structure is usually measured
by any contact or noncontact vibration transducer. Usually p ­ iezoelectric
­accelerometers are used for the response m ­ easurements, although care is to
be taken that the weight of the accelerometer does not load the device under