WHAT ARE THE PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE TECHNIQUES?

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It is no secret that predictive maintenance, when applied to a company through a well-structured maintenance plan, achieves very good results in terms of reliability and availability of machines.

The raison d’être of predictive maintenance, as its name indicates, is to predict the state of a company’s equipment and thus anticipate a possible imminent failure. This is reflected in production and maintenance costs, since urgent work is considerably reduced.

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Predictive maintenance has been used in the industry since the mid-80s and has constantly evolved along with technology, which has been made possible by systematization, data analysis and specialized software for this area.

 

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predictive maintenance techniques

Nevertheless, it is necessary to highlight that, for predictive maintenance techniques to be applied efficiently in a company, it must be willing to invest in training and equipment. Besides having a culture towards preventive work, due to the constant measurement of parameters that is done in predictive maintenance, decisions must be made that significantly modify the way maintenance works.

MOST USED PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE TECHNIQUES

Many people believe that predictive maintenance consists of performing vibration analysis on rotating machines; but the reality is that there are several techniques that allow for the measurement of equipment parameters, which help predict their condition. In the following list, we will tell you the most used predictive maintenance techniques in the industry:

Vibration analysis

This technique is the most widely used for monitoring and predicting the condition of rotating machines. Each rotating machine has a natural vibration associated with it; however, when there are variations with respect to that vibration, it is known that there is an internal problem within it.

Therefore, vibration analysis is the effective tool for measuring and predicting the condition of rotating machines. If you want to know a little more about vibration analysis, read this article.

Partial discharges from electrical machines

If you want to evaluate the state of the stator of an electrical machine in service, the technique of partial discharge is appropriate in these cases. In addition, this technique allows to evaluate the insulation systems in medium voltage electrical rotating machines.

Thermography or temperature analysis

Thermography, or temperature analysis, is a technique increasingly used in the industry, thanks to the fact that thermographic cameras have considerably lowered their prices. As its name indicates, thermographies allow to know in real time the temperatures associated to the machines during their normal operation.

The operating temperature of a machine must be within certain parameters established by the manufacturer and by the type of work to which it is subjected. Therefore, if there are variations from that normal working temperature, the equipment should be preventively checked.

With thermographies, heating problems can be found due to failures in bearings, gears and other moving parts of an equipment, due to a bad lubrication or defect of the element as such. It is also possible to know the state of electric motors, which have a high temperature due to stator failure.

The possibilities of inspection with infrared thermographic cameras are very high within the industry, since all equipment can be subjected to this type of analysis to see problems within its normal operation.

Ultrasound

Some machine failures are associated with ultrasonic phenomena, which are difficult to perceive by the human ear or even by other predictive techniques.

The predictive technique of ultrasound is commonly used for the detection of fluid leaks, lubrication problems, verification of the operation of pneumatic and hydraulic valves, leakage tests on vehicles or ships, electrical inspections in transformers, substations or high voltage lines, among many other applications within the industry.

Lubricant analysis

The analysis of lubricants is another predictive technique that allows us to know the condition of the lubricants, the possible contamination of the lubricant and the wear elements inside it.

This technique is used within the industry and in the maintenance of vehicle fleets. Within vehicle fleets, it is possible to determine if there are problems with leaks, within the lubrication systems of an engine or a transmission.

Also, the analysis of lubricants, determines the life of an engine thanks to the level of wear elements that are within the oil, giving the possibility of preventive intervention in the engine, steering box or transmission of a vehicle. This prevents these systems from failing unexpectedly and prevents accidents.

As you can see, there are several predictive maintenance techniques, and depending on the needs of the company, the type of equipment and the budget, one or the other can be applied. The effectiveness of these, will be affected by the training and monitoring that is done within a maintenance plan.

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