Predictive maintenance, when implemented through a well-structured maintenance plan, can significantly improve the reliability and availability of machines, resulting in reduced maintenance costs and increased production.
As its name suggests, predictive maintenance is aimed at anticipating potential equipment failures by predicting their state, allowing for timely intervention and minimizing the need for urgent maintenance work.
The use of predictive maintenance in the industry dates back to the mid-1980s and has since evolved in line with technological advancements.
With the help of systematization, data analysis, and specialized software, companies can achieve even better results and maximize the benefits of predictive maintenance.
However, it is important to note that in order for predictive maintenance techniques to be effectively applied in a company, there must be a willingness to invest in both training and equipment.
In addition, a culture of preventive work is necessary due to the constant parameter measurement involved in predictive maintenance. This means that decisions must be made that significantly alter the way maintenance work is carried out.
MOST USED PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE TECHNIQUES
Predictive maintenance involves more than just vibration analysis on rotating machines. There are several techniques that allow for the measurement of equipment parameters, which help predict their condition.
In the following list, we will discuss the most commonly used predictive maintenance techniques in the industry:
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Vibration analysis is the most commonly used technique for monitoring and predicting the condition of rotating machines in the industry. Each rotating machine has a natural vibration associated with it, but when there are variations in that vibration, it indicates an internal problem within the machine.
By measuring and analyzing these variations in vibration, maintenance technicians can detect potential problems before they cause machine failure.
Vibration analysis is an effective tool for predictive maintenance and can help save costs and improve reliability. To learn more about vibration analysis, you can read this article.
Partial discharges from electrical machines
This technique involves measuring the partial discharge activity that occurs within the insulation of the machine. By doing so, it is possible to detect insulation defects that may be present, and predict potential failures before they occur.
Overall, partial discharge testing is an important tool in the arsenal of predictive maintenance techniques.
Thermography or temperature analysis
Thermography, also known as temperature analysis, is an increasingly popular technique in the industry due to the decreasing costs of thermographic cameras. As its name suggests, thermography allows real-time monitoring of the temperatures associated with machines during their regular operation.
The operating temperature of a machine must fall within certain parameters established by the manufacturer and the type of work it is designed for. Therefore, any variations from the normal working temperature can signal that the equipment needs to be inspected for preventive maintenance.
Thermography can help identify heating problems in equipment caused by issues like bad lubrication or defective elements, such as bearings, gears, and other moving parts. It can also assess the condition of electric motors, which can overheat due to stator failure.
Infrared thermographic cameras can inspect all types of equipment within the industry, providing a comprehensive analysis of their normal operation and identifying potential issues before they cause significant damage or downtime.
Ultrasound is a predictive technique commonly used to detect machine failures associated with ultrasonic phenomena that are difficult to perceive by the human ear or even by other predictive techniques.
This technique is particularly useful for detecting fluid leaks, lubrication problems, and verifying the operation of pneumatic and hydraulic valves.
It can also be applied to leakage tests on vehicles or ships, and electrical inspections in transformers, substations or high voltage lines, among many other applications within the industry
Analyzing lubricants is a predictive maintenance technique that helps identify the condition of the lubricant, possible contamination, and wear elements inside it.
This technique is commonly used in the industry and vehicle fleet maintenance to detect problems like leaks within the lubrication systems of engines and transmissions.
Lubricant analysis can also determine the lifespan of an engine by evaluating the level of wear elements present in the oil.
This allows for preventive intervention in the engine, steering box, or transmission, which prevents unexpected failures and accidents.
As you can see, there are various predictive maintenance techniques available, and the most appropriate one depends on the company’s needs, equipment type, and budget.
However, the effectiveness of these techniques heavily relies on the training and monitoring provided within a maintenance plan.