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Bearings - 23/02/2016

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Condition Monitoring Services Condition monitoring is a proven technique of periodic analysis that ensures machines are integrated into a reliability-centred maintenance programme. It allows machinery trend histories to be established that deliver an accurate assessment of machine maintenance requirements, therefore not only saving money in terms of reducing unnecessary maintenance operations but also facilitating better planning for spares and resource procurement.

To help customers leverage the benefits of this technique, NSK has introduced Condition Monitoring Services (CMS) as part of its new AIP+ Added Value Programme. Comprising a consistent process of application, CMS constitutes: an initial assessment to check both the suitability of CMS and define its monitoring route; data collection using NSK vibration, temperature and speed measuring equipment; data analysis to check the health of the machine; and full reporting including recommended actions.

Any unwanted forces, such as those resulting from out-of-alignment or out-of-balance conditions, will be easily identified following application of the NSK condition monitoring equipment, which can measure vibration, for example, in three axes simultaneously. The monitoring equipment will also pick up any issues relating to lack of lubrication or the potential for early fatigue, for example.

Errors relating to alignment and balance can be detrimental to the performance and lifetime of a machine by introducing unwanted forces. However, NSK experts can utilise the monitoring equipment to perform full dynamic balancing correction. This is a three-stage-process that normally requires adjustment and distribution of weight to the machine rotor and reassessment of the unbalanced magnitude. The process is particularly useful for pump or fan applications, where there are large rotating masses.

Subsequent data analysis will identify the root cause of the problem, such as a crack in the inner ring or an unwanted load, for example, and produce a CMS report that includes a machine health map. Ultimately, CMS helps users monitor trends and improve planned maintenance regimes so that bearing failures can be accurately predicted before they occur, thus saving time and money. This is vital in an era where typical maintenance budgets can range from 15 to 40% of annual turnover. Any savings can thus deliver a highly positive effect on profitability, particularly as machine operating duration will also be extended.

Able to testify to the potential savings on offer is a large manufacturer of metal roll products that was experiencing irregular performance on its ingot preparation process. As a critical part of production, this initiated regular maintenance that reduced process uptime and increased costs. NSK reviewed the situation and highlighted an issue with the main oven fan drives. Once identified, company experts recommended a more regular CMS review that allowed the customer to implement a predictive maintenance regime (including the necessary spares and resources), resulting in an overall cost saving of €69,802.

As part of AIP+, NSK always performs a comprehensive survey of the plant before recommending a CMS solution. This allows a thorough calculation of the machine’s criticality, which results in the right predictive maintenance strategy being applied. NSK can apply a number of techniques from its AIP portfolio, including spares planning, bearing application analysis, user training, dynamic balancing, lubrication solutions and laser alignment. All of this is complemented by NSK’s CMS, which oversees machinery health and the provision of complete bearing care.

CMS is headed-up by two NSK lead engineers, representing north and south Europe, who oversee a comprehensive team of fully trained experts.

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