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SDT Ultrasound saves production losses by inspecting vital steam delivery system

Since 1999, Adam De Gioia has been a fitter and turner working in a range of different industries from water/wastewater, pharmaceutical, hydraulics, food manufacturing, mining and oil & gas.

Starting his own company; ‘Final Drive Engineering Services’ in 2014, Adam soon partnered with a respected OEM of hydraulic components. It was here that he developed a passion for steam delivery systems and quickly became the ‘go to guy’ for repair work.

In recent years, he has been contracting to a well-known food manufacturing facility where he carries out offline maintenance. Over time he witnessed the degradation of their steam system which resulted in issues in the *CIP (clean-in-place) system.

Adam quoted – ‘Unfortunately, it’s kind of ‘Out of sight, Out of mind’, and only repaired when completely failed’.

To paint a picture, there are approx. 30 steam traps of differing types around the site. They are all critical in terms of pasteurizer and CIP performance. If one trap was to fail, multiple lines and holding tanks would be disrupted and production would cease until repairs were carried out.

Steam Trap with cloudy sight check
Steam Trap with no sight check. How do you know it's working?

Seeing the cost of production losses mounting on his customer, Adam knew he’d have to take a proactive approach.

Online research yielded numerous hits on steam system protection hardware using the SDT Ultrasound range. A meeting was organised with GVS rep Peter Haines at GVS HQ in Newcastle. In 1 hour they covered the basics of ultrasound, how Ultrasound inspection has numerous applications and finished with a focus on Steam Traps.

Adam recognized the benefits, purchased the SDT ULTRAChecker and put it to work the very next night.

Here are Adam’s words about his first experience with SDT’s equipment;

‘The 1st trap I tested had a very cloudy sight check. Using the audio and Histogram (bar graph) feature (on the ULTRAChecker) I quickly determined that it had failed. The 2nd trap had no sight glass on the check valve, and again through the earmuffs, the constant sound indicated yet another failed trap. 2 from 2.

‘The Engineering team are excited by the results. We can now identify steam issues and get on top of it early.’

ULTRAChecker used on functioning Steam Trap. The Histogram (bar graph) shows the fluctuation of when it is open and closed. Simple.

BUT Adam didn’t stop there.

Seeing how effective using a precision Ultrasound inspection device was, he turned to other areas of the plant.

He then went on to identify issues with:

  • condensate return pump
  • auto blow down on one of the boilers
  • hydraulic circuits
  • air leaks on the trucks air system.

In future, Adam will also aim to participate in ‘Live Online Level One’ (LOLO) Ultrasound course to further expand his knowledge and monitor other areas of plant.

GVS love these examples of our ability to supply a solution to a client with a challenging problem.

Thanks very much to Adam for sharing your story of success working with us!

If you’d like to learn how precision Ultrasound inspection will decrease production losses, see this video.

 

The tool used by Adam in the case study is SDTs ‘ULTRAChecker’. It is one of various options in the SDT’s Checker range. See the SDT range of products here.

 

Contact us GVS Reliability Products to learn more about ultrasound, the most diverse monitoring technology on the market.

 

*CLEAN IN PLACE or CIP systems play a critical role in food and beverage manufacturing. They automatically clean, rinse, sanitize pipework ensuring processing components are free of bacteria.

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FLSmidth joins the Motion Amplification® Revolution

FLSmidth has been providing market-leading engineering, equipment and service solutions to the global mining and cement industries for over 140 years. A key to their success has been a focus on improving asset performance and efficiency (from concept through the entire life cycle) so Motion Amplification® was the perfect technology to further enhance that success.

The team recently completed the Certified course by RDI Technologies and are now ready to offer this unique service to their customer base. Photos below.

The new IRIS M™ system will be stationed at FLSmidth’s Pinkenba workshop where it will primarily be used during the factory acceptance testing across a number of product types. It will also be a vital tool for their site services team. From commissioning through to inspections, it will aid with the identification, verification and more importantly ‘VISUALISATION’ of vibration data, aiding with communication between departments and customers alike.

Motion Amplification® – Visualise, Measure, Troubleshoot, Correct. Reliability You Can ‘See’ and Trust.

Visit www.opticalmotion.com.au to learn more about the sensor of the future or contact your local GVS rep today.

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POOR LUBRICATION: What ‘data’ are Lubrication Technicians using to grease?

Stories are great. Humans thrive on stories. Being able to hear and then re-tell stories is what sets humanity apart from other living creatures.

Weird side note: some humans can hear and re-tell the stories of non-living things like; machines!

For example, the below data (sent to us by a customer) would look confusing to most people on the planet. But, in that data lies a story waiting to be told…

This data tells the trained eye that ‘raised acceleration and noise floor in higher frequency spectrum’* was beginning to be a significant problem for this motor DE (drive end) bearing.

But, the conclusion of the story is that… the high frequency acceleration just magically disappeared…

Or is there another story to tell?

Recently, this customer took delivery of 4 x SDT LUBECheckers from GVS.

So, when given the work; grease the bearing, with the aid of the LUBECheckers the lubrication technician was able to leave the asset in an ‘optimal lubricated state’.

This data tells us that; through investment in technology, a machine bearing was clearly saved from further damage

This story is a success story. And this success story comes from 1 x bearing on 1 x electric motor…

This customer works in one of the largest mines in Australia. So, now armed with SDT Ultrasound, they can multiply that success story by how many bearings they have across the facility.

Good news stories make you feel warm and fuzzy… 🙂

Get in touch with GVS to learn how easy it is to use and deploy LUBExpert and LUBEChecker at your facility so you can tell a lot more success stories.

*vibration analysis talk

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The 4 different types of soft foot

Soft foot is a term we often use when we talk about shaft alignment. In fact, you must always perform a soft foot check before the actual alignment work can start; it is an essential part of securing a reliable installation. Let’s go through the different types of soft foot and why they occur.
 

By soft foot, we mean that the machine is not resting evenly on all feet. Another expression you may have heard is machine frame distortion.

Why do we need to check and correct soft foot? Can it be that big a problem if there is a tiny gap underneath one machine foot or a little pile of dirt under another? Well, yes. Because if the machine is not standing perfectly flat on the machine base, you can (and most likely will) run into problems such as shaft deflection, increased vibrations, bearing failure – and, in the end, machine breakdown. And that will be a lot more expensive than fixing the soft foot problem in the first place! Luckily, all Easy-Laser shaft alignment systems come with a program for soft foot check that tells you which feet you need to adjust and how much.

There are four types of soft foot which all have one thing in common: one or more feet are not resting firmly on the machine base. And there are different reasons for that. So, let’s take a look.

1.    Parallel soft foot

Parallel soft foot (sometimes also referred to as rocking soft foot) means that not all four feet are on the same plane. Think of a wobbly table at a restaurant, where you can rock it back and forth. In this case, the laser system software will show high readings (>0,05 mm) for soft foot at opposite corners. With a feeler gauge, you can determine which foot or feet you need to shim and how much. 

There are three possible reasons for parallel soft foot:

  • The leg is too short.
  • The base plate or mounting pads are not coplanar.
  • Missing shims under one or more feet.

To correct parallel soft foot, you add enough shims to remove the rocking effect (use as few as possible, and no more than four shims!).

2.    Bent foot / outside angled soft foot:

This is a common type of soft foot that occurs when the foot’s bottom is at an angle relative to the base. In this case, the laser system will show a high soft foot reading at three or four feet. The foot with the highest soft foot reading will show a tapered air gap from one corner of the foot to another. 

There can be several reasons for this condition, for example:

  • The machinery has been dropped or roughly handled.
  • The base plates are bent or poorly machined.
  • There’s a severe vertical angular misalignment.
  • The feet are welded.
  • Foundation settling has occurred.

The best way to correct this problem is to re-machine the feet, the base, or both. If this is not possible, step-shimming is an option (although you should try to avoid it).

3.    Squishy foot:

Squishy foot is sometimes also known as spring foot. With squishy foot, the feeler gauge won’t detect any gap underneath the foot. Instead, the problem is usually that the space between foot and base is filled with too many shims from a previous attempt to fix soft foot. There may also be a build-up of other unwanted material such as dirt or rust under the foot.  

Reasons for squishy soft foot may be:

  • Dirt, grease, paint, or rust between the foot and the base.
  • Too many shims (remember, you should not use more than four shims per foot).
  • Bent shims.
  • Shims with burrs or thread marks.

To get rid of this problem you need to thoroughly clean the area around and underneath the foot, and replace old shims with new, crush-resistant ones.

Here you can read more about shimming best practices.

4.    Induced soft foot:

Induced soft foot is caused by external forces that affect the machine frame, and it can be hard to detect. The laser system will indicate more than one soft foot, usually on the same side or the same end of the machine. The feeler gauge will find a gap, usually parallel or nearly parallel.

Some possible causes of induced soft foot are:

  • Coupling or pipe stress.
  • Overhung machines.
  • Belts or chain loads on pulleys and gears.
  • The flex conduit is excessively rigid.
  • Structural bracing is attached to the machine.
  • The jacking bolts are inadvertently left tight.

To correct induced soft foot, you need to remove the external forces that cause the problem. This may require more than one soft foot check since these forces can occur anytime during the shaft alignment process.

One step closer to trouble-free operation

Like we said in the beginning of this article: to correct soft foot is essential. No machine is designed to work under stress or with a high level of vibration, which are consequences of soft foot. So, make sure all feet are placed firmly on the ground (or base, in this case) and you have created the best possible conditions for perfect shaft alignment and trouble-free operation!

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LUBExpert Case Study: 70% of bearings are still OVER lubricated

Bearings need grease, however… 

It’s a common misconception that if a little grease is good then a lot means better. WRONG!

Too much grease will overheat a bearing causing separation of the oil from its thickener and will begin to run out of the bearing. This can set off a chain reaction resulting in lack of lubrication & hardening of the thickener which left unchecked will cause major issues.

Many studies have shown that only 33% of the open space within a bearing needs to be filled to achieve optimum friction reduction. 

33%? How do you that?

ALS Global (Australia’s largest condition monitoring service provider) conducted an independent study over an 18 month period using the LUBExpert. The device was used across a large volume of grease lubricated bearings which were historically replenished using fixed calculated / time based rates.

Find out why ALS now choose the LUBExpert as their preferred method of lubrication. Download the full case study below.

 

How are you lubricating your bearings?

 

Save Time. Save Grease. Save Bearings. Use LUBExpert and ‘Grease Bearings Right’.

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GVS Reliability Products & IMVAC 2017

GVS Reliability Products was privileged and excited to exhibit and co-sponsor IMVAC, the all new conference for Vibration Analysts & Condition Monitoring Professionals.

The event ran at the Gold Coast from September 5th through 7th. IMVAC (International Machine Vibration Analysis Conference) was designed specifically for vibration and condition monitoring professionals. This is a perfect fit for GVS as we strive to inform and arm the reliability professionals with asset health inspection hardware in our corner of the globe. From the amazing IRIS M, Motion Amplification technology, the ground breaking LUBExpert and our industrial vibration sensor range from Hansford Sensors, GVS added great value to the IMVAC community.

GVS supported the hosting of workshops, learning sessions and case studies to the latest technologies featured in the expo. IMVAC provided practical learning in the important aspects of industrial vibration analysis and the complementary condition monitoring technologies (Thermography, Wear Particle, Oil Analysis, Motor Testing, UltrasoundLubrication, Shaft Alignment and Field Testing).

IMVAC helped attendees form new relationships with fellow reliability improvement practitioners, and provided actionable new skills and knowledge that can be taken back to the plant to help attendees deliver even greater value.

One final word, our principal supplier Ultrasound hardware of SDT engaged the esteemed Tom Murphy to join the team at IMVAC to present and discuss the advantages of a sophisticated Ut inspection device and program. From all reports, Toms presentations were a success and many took take the time to talk to Tom while attending the event.

Top Reasons to Attend IMVAC

  • Focused Event
    IMVAC is dedicated to Vibration Analysis, Maintenance and Reliability, and Condition Monitoring Technologies
  • Variety of Content
    Each IMVAC event has 3 keynote presentations and over 50+ top-rated educational presentations from leading industry experts
  • Expand Your Network
    Network with other learning professionals from leading companies around the world including Shell, Dupont, GE, Siemens, Bridgestone, Weyerhaeuser, GM, Johnson Controls, and MillerCoors
  • Learn from Your Peers
    Improve diagnostic knowledge and skills while building relationships with peers who face the same challenges
  • New Technology
    IMVAC has an Exhibit Hall featuring more than 30 exhibitors providing the latest products and solutions
  • Add to Your Library
    The IMVAC Bookstore gives convenient access to the latest Condition Monitoring books (featured at IMVAC Australia and IMVAC USA)

GVS were indeed excited to be involved in the 1st IMVAC conference to be held in Australia.

We are looking forward to an exciting IMVAC 2018!

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2017 Mainstream Wrap

GVS Reliability Products was proud to support the 2017 Mainstream West and Mainstream East Conferences held during March this year. The Eventful group did a terrific job of running a program that highlighted the critical role Reliability teams play in organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Manning the GVS Reliability Products stand were both Dr. Jeff Hay (CEO and Founder of RDI Technologies) and Chris Hansford (MD and founder of Hansford Sensors). Chris and Jeff were able to interact with professionals from the local Australian market. In addition to adding value to the conference with their years of industry experience, both Jeff and Chris also received invaluable feedback from those in attendance. This will only help improve any future product development for people operating in the harsh Australian environment.

Jeff delivered an ‘IRIS M Motion Amplification technology’ presentation at both the East and West Mainstream events. The paper was very well received and acclaimed by the Mainstream audiences. It was great to get a wide range of questions and feedback from the Mainstream community on how the technology will be applied to their individual reliability and asset health programs. Several feature requests from attendees are being worked on by Jeff and the RDI team as you read this blog post!

GVS Reliability Products would like to personally thank the, conference participants, the Mainstream committee and the support of the other vendors for making such a wonderful conference a reality.

If you would like to learn more about GVS Reliability Products or anything written above, please contact us via this link.

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Motion Amplification. Simple. Visual. Reliability Revolution.

RDI Technologies is fast growing the network of international representatives. GVS Reliability Products and OMT are very happy that RMS Reliability has been appointed as the exclusive UK representative for Motion Amplification. RMS have set up a designated website for Motion Amplification, see www.motionamplification.co.uk

RMS have already been producing numerous videos that prove how effective and useful the Motion Amplification system can be.

In the case of Motion Amplification, seeing really is believing. Click on the two example videos below to see for yourself.

What is Motion Amplification. View on YouTube video below or download the MP4 file.

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Case History: Generator Stator Coolant Pump

RDI’s Motion Amplification (TM) provides visualisation of a structural fault on a Generator Stator Coolant Pump that has gone unresolved for more than 10 years!

RESULTS

  • Captured Motion Amplification (TM) (MA) videos and diagnosed the fault in the field within 1 hour
  • Visualisation of the root cause (structural fault) of the high vibration that has been undiagnosed for more than 10 years
  • Simple and inexpensive remediation work during a scheduled outage reduced the high vibration by more than 70%
  • The pump was returned to duty service rather than stand-by
  • Solution implemented at a fraction (1%) of the cost of previous attempted corrective actions

COMPANY

AGL Loy Yang


LOCATION

Latrobe Valley, 165 kilometres south east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

3

PROBLEM

There are two (duty and stand-by) Stator Coolant Pumps (SCP) critical to the operation of each 500+ megawatt turbo generator at the Loy Yang Power Station. One of the two SCPs for Unit 1 turbo generator has had a long history, more than 10 years, of high lateral vibration, sometimes reaching 20 mm/sec RMS. There have been many attempts to remedy the problem at an estimated material cost of AU$160k. This does not take into account the estimated labour cost of 500+ man-hours and loss of power generation revenue. Some of the attempts to remedy the problem include laser alignment, base frame spot welds, bracing of pipework, fitment of flexible bellows to the pump suction and discharge pipework, pump replacement x2, motor replacement, coupling replacement.

1


SOLUTION

Optical Motion Technologies (OMT) were contracted to apply RDI’s Motion AmplificationTM (MA) technology to solving the long running problem on 1-SCP-2. From arriving at the location of the SCPs in the power station, setting up the video camera acquisition system and then collecting nine MA videos took less than one hour. This hour included the time to analyse the results all of which was done in the field. The process involved taking wide angle ‘whole of machine’ videos, analysing them in the field and then honing in with zoomed videos on the root cause of the problem. It was clear from the MA videos that the problem was a soft foot condition between the pump base frame and skid base plate. In fact, there was a twisting operational deflection shape of the pump base frame. During a scheduled outage, a series of fillet welds were made across the suction end the pump base frame to the skid base plate. When the pump was returned to duty service the high lateral motion and vibration had been reduced by more than 70% and was now less than 5 mm/sec RMS. The solution to this problem was achieved through the application of RDI’s Motion AmplificationTM technology for a fraction of the time and cost already incurred.

View the full case study at http://opticalmotion.com.au/case-studies/

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Memorable Demo day for Motion Amplification

GVS Reliability Products and Optical Motion Technology recently held a Demo day for Motion Amplification at the Metro Hotel in South Perth.

The purpose of the day was to help educate engineers and professionals on the ground breaking new technology called ‘Motion Amplification’.

For those that do not already know, Motion Amplification is a process whereby using a video camera and the proprietary software, movement can be detected and amplified so that it can be seen. This kind of visualization technology has previously been the domain of ODS only. It truly has to be seen to be believed!

And that is exactly what our guests on the 30th of September did. They saw and they believed!

‘A very impressive development for machinery and structural health monitoring’

‘A fault visualization tool that is in a class of its own. The advantages that I see are Non-contact and diagnose/visualize in the field without having to travel back to an office to analyse data. Outstanding. Thanks GVS and OMT’

‘Great presentation. The technology is impressive. Our company could use a tool like this in so many different areas.’

Just some of the fault types that can be visualised and easily interpreted with the Motion Amplification technology are

If you would like to learn more about Motion Amplification and how it can help you, get in touch with our sales team today.