You are on page 1of 3

Generalized Approach to Casing

Vibration Assessments
tic re
Ar atu

This article presents a generalized machine evaluation

Robert X. Perez approach for casing vibration readings in the
Rotating Equipment Engineer frequency range of 10 Hz to 1,000 Hz on machines
San Antonio, Texas operating at rotational speeds between 600 RPM and
12,000 RPM

A generalized machine evaluation approach for casing perplexing picture. Is there a way to generalize the approach
vibration measurements based on accepted assessment to vibration severity? The various guidelines for casing
methods is presented. Various assessment guides were vibration, such as those offered by ISO (Table 1), DLI, and
surveyed to develop a general method that enables users to Rockwell Automation, follow a similar mathematical
make better machine-specific decisions that account for pattern.
machine construction and criticality. A new dimensionless
Table 1. ISO Vibration Severity Table for Various Classes
number termed the severity level, S, is introduced that
allows consistent comparisons across diverse machine of Machines (after ISO 10816).
populations. The meaning and importance of newly
commissioned machinery are also described for vibration
criteria used both in the ISO Vibration Severity Tables and
in the new methodology presented here.
Traditionally, the commonly used vibration alarm level for
velocity was 0.3 IPSrms with a danger level of 0.5 IPSrms. It
was applied unconditionally to all general-purpose machines
and was an empirically-derived convenient rule of thumb
that was easy to remember and seemed to fit most situations.
A technical basis for this assessment was not available, but
it seemed to work.
Improvements to this rule of thumb involved the concept
that, if there is a reliable baseline vibration reading, the
alarm should be set at two or three times the baseline;
shutdown should be set at four times the baseline. This
methodology accounts for the fact that baseline amplitudes
vary greatly due to size, construction, load, and speed of the
It is known that casing vibration is a ratio of the internal
shaking force to machine dynamic stiffness and that
vibration is an indication of machine condition but is not an
absolute indicator. This article is an attempt to assemble all This article is an attempt to develop a generalized
the relevant factors required to make logical machinery approach for most common classes of machines. First, every
assessments and to develop a new methodology for casing- major vibration assessment level was assigned an integer
based evaluations. severity value and listed in a table next to the corresponding
acceptable ISO vibration amplitude (Table 2). Next the
General Vibration Guidelines vibration Severity Level (S) was plotted against a Vibration
A survey of the array of machine casing vibration reference Ratio (R). R is the ratio of ISO vibration limit (V) for the
tables and graphs used by vibration professionals provides a three (3) ranges (i.e., Newly Commissioned Machinery,

Vibrations Vol 27 No 4 December 2010
Unrestricted Operation, and Restricted Operation given in K=2.51. This leads to the following form for the severity
Table 1) to the vibration level expected for a Newly equation, which matches equation (1).
Commissioned Machine (a). A logarithmic curve fit was
performed on the data (Figure 1). The data in Table 2 (5)
closely fit the following equation.
The output from this equation determines the level of
(1) perceived vibration severity based on ISO vibration
guidelines. The severity levels are defined as follows:
Solve for the vibration ratio, R, to obtain the following <1 = newly commissioned levels
relationship. >1 but < 2 = watch for upward trends
>2 but < 3 = plan for repair
(2) >3 = failure imminent, prepare to shut down
Figure 2 can be used instead of performing this
All the guidelines reviewed closely fit an equation with the calculation to determine a severity level after the vibration
following general form. ratio (V/a) is known.


R is the vibration ratio, K is a constant (K=2.51 for the ISO

Evaluation Standard), and S is the dimensionless assessment
value termed the severity level. Note that in this form R is
defined as the ratio of the actual vibration amplitude
measured in the field (V) to the newly commissioned
machinery vibration amplitude (a).
Table 2 Numerical Severity Levels Based on ISO 10816
Part 1.
Severity Description Severity Level ISO Limit (>75 kw or 100 HP machines) Vibration Ratio
(S) ISO 10816-1-1995 R=(V/a)
Newly Commissioned 1 0.1 1
Figure 2. Chart for Generalized Approach to Casing
Unrestricted Operation 2 0.25 2.51
Vibration Assessments (ISO 10816 Part 1).
a) Restricted Operation
3 0.62 6.30 (Note: This evaluation graph is valid only if used for machines operating
b) Plan for repair
a) Damage Occurs 3+ >0.62 >6.30 with rotational speeds between 600 RPM and 12,000 RPM and only applies
b) Prepare to shutdown
to overall (unfiltered) casing vibration readings in the frequency range of
10 Hz to 1,000 Hz.)

Example #1
The measured vibration value on a 10 HP centrifugal pump
is 0.23 IPS (0 to peak) in the inboard, horizontal position. If
the newly commissioned value for this same location was
0.065 IPS (0-peak), the severity number is

Based on the severity guidelines above, this result

indicates that plans should be made to repair the machine at
some time in the future. Because the vibration severity is not
close to a value of 3, time is available to plan and perform
the repair. However, the time available will depend on the
Figure 1. Plot of Vibration Ratio versus Severity Level nature of the fault as determined by vibration analysis.
(based on ISO 10816 Part 1).
Example #2
Solving for S yields the following general relationship. Assume the same information from Example #1. Calculate
the vibration ratio, which is
(4) V\a = 0.23\0.065 = 3.53. Refer to Figure 2 and read the
corresponding severity level directly for a vibration ratio of
Study of the ISO Evaluation Standard data revealed that 3.53, which is about 2.4. This is similar to the result in
all the classes of machines closely fit Equation (4) when Example #1.

Vibrations Vol 27 No 4 December 2010
Advantages of the Generalized Approach repair. The Low criticality line will yield a severity level of
There are several advantages in this generalized approach. It 2.2, which is just barely above the plan to repair line.
can be used for a wide variety of casing vibration Therefore, by altering the value of K, the level of
assessments; i.e., it can be used for machine types not conservativeness can be varied.
included in the ISO Severity Standard. It can be applied if
the newly commissioned machinery level of a given Conclusions
machine is known. It can also be used to customize A generalized vibration assessment methodology has been
vibration guidelines for unique machines. It can also be used developed. It is necessary to know 1) the field vibration
for the overall vibration level method (the ISO guide), as level (V), 2) the new commissioned level (a), and 3) the
well as for the spectral approach (the DLI guide). (Note: For criticality level (K). The severity level of a machine can be
a guide based on the evaluation of spectral peaks, the new determined by using Equation (6). By including the
commissioned value, a, is the level of the peak in question criticality criteria (K), criticality can be accounted for in
at the time of commissioning.) order to determine an appropriate path forward when
Another advantage is that this method allows the use of a addressing high or rising machine vibration levels. The same
single, standard severity scale (0 to 4) that applies across all dimensionless severity (S) scale introduced here can be
equipment types. This means that operators and analysts applied to most classes of machines monitored using casing
can use the same severity scale to evaluate and rate all of vibration readings.
their machines.

Critical Machines (6)

Refer to Equation (4). The following question can be asked:
Should the factor K change depending on machine
criticality? It makes sense that the more critical the machine, Use these criteria only if they make sense for your
the more conservative the evaluation criteria should be. In equipment types and criticality levels. In some cases, it may
other words, the factor K should decrease as machine be necessary to use an even smaller K value than those
criticality increases. listed. If there is doubt, contact the original equipment
The following values of K are suggested for the various manufacturer.
levels of criticality:
K = 2.51 for general purpose or low criticality machines
K = 2.00 for larger but spared machines (medium criticality)
K = 3.0.5 or 1.73 for high criticality machines
Figure 3 shows the way in which the slope of severity
level versus vibration ratio line varies with changing
criticality factors. Note that the High and Medium criticality
lines are more conservative than the Low criticality line.

Figure 3. Generalized Approach to Casing Vibration

Assessments (based on ISO Evaluation Standard).

Compare the results of the three different criticality levels

for a calculated vibration ratio of 3. The High criticality line
will result in a severity level of 3, which means failure is
imminent, prepare to shut down. The Medium criticality line
will yield a severity level of 2.6, which means plan for a

Vibrations Vol 27 No 4 December 2010