The failure or malfunction of critical machinery in a production facility can result in a cumulative chain of consequences that could prove devastating for a business. For instance, a malfunctioning production asset can lead to additional damage to other components and products. A company then faces the expense of repairing or replacing the initial malfunctioning component, any subsequently damaged components, and the loss of stock. Often the most detrimental resultant expense, however, is the revenue lost to downtime. That’s why improving and ensuring the reliability of those assets is so crucial. Strategies for doing so include workforce training and the use of predictive maintenance tools like vibration monitoring.
The Benefits of a Non-Contact Machine
When a critical asset malfunctions or ceases to operate reliably, a critical and difficult decision needs to be made: repair or replace? In addition to the financial implications, which can often run into the millions, it can also be a safety issue. While the repair versus replace question will always be complex, looking at data over a longer period of time and employing tools like Vibration Analysis Equipment to determine asset reliability and condition can prove illuminating.
Repair or Replace Your Critical Assets
Predictive maintenance is an essential priority for the healthy and profitable operation of any manufacturing facility. Beyond contributing to a maintenance culture, which is beneficial to any facility that relies on manufacturing equipment, it is accompanied by a suite of practical advantages. Among the most effective predictive maintenance tools is vibration analysis technology for machine condition monitoring. However, not all vibration monitoring technology is the same. For your business’s machine condition monitoring, choose non-contact video-based vibration analysis equipment.
Create a Culture of Maintenance Vibration Monitoring
Among the most important first steps to optimize the reliability of critical assets is creating and supporting a culture of maintenance. A culture of maintenance is about more than adhering to a maintenance schedule. It’s about prioritizing predictive maintenance and maintenance record-keeping. It requires encouraging staff to focus on all aspects of maintenance and upkeep, and to be communicative. For example, suppose they notice electrical or instrument panels aren’t fully closed, feel that a process could be improved, or that a machine’s function seems off. In that case, they should communicate those concerns to a plant manager.
Prioritize Predictive Maintenance with Machine Condition Monitoring
There’s no more important strategy for maintaining and improving the reliability of machinery than predictive maintenance. Consider accurate, precise predictive maintenance solutions like using vibration analysis for machine condition monitoring. Vibration monitoring and analysis can identify problematic movement and vibration being produced by critical machinery that indicates a malfunction or another root-cause issue. Vibration analysis technology is invaluable for both avoiding critical malfunctions and for identifying issues that decrease production machinery’s reliability and efficiency. To avoid testing downtime altogether, choose vibration analysis equipment that employs Motion Amplification® technology to remain completely non-contact. This technology was developed by RDI Technologies and is used in their vibration monitoring products that create video visualizations of all vibrations in the scene and enable you to quickly and easily see problematic vibrations.
Train the Workforce to Take Initiative
In addition to technological solutions, like precise, non-contact vibration monitoring equipment, ensuring and improving the reliability of critical production assets relies on the workforce. An essential element in establishing a maintenance culture is training the personnel in the production facility to look for ways to optimize reliability and asset maintenance on the floor. It’s also a good idea to encourage and reward those who take initiative and refine existing processes.
Cross-Train the Workforce to Understand the Whole Process
Cross-training personnel can prove additionally beneficial. Siloed employees in a production facility working virtually independently of each other can result in a kind of isolation. Training employees to understand the systems they work within as a whole can create a more dynamic production facility. If employees are encouraged to understand one another’s roles, they may be more likely to engage and communicate with each other. The product of that sort of interaction often includes improvement to processes and more effective contribution from the workforce. It can also result in a workforce better prepared to help ensure and improve the reliability of critical manufacturing assets.
The Pros and Cons of Repairing
If the outcome of the two options is going to be the same, repairing machinery or equipment is certainly preferable. Repair can cost less and may result in less downtime. In addition to the longer-term repair versus replacement financial considerations, look at the basics first. For instance, is the asset in question under warranty? Keep in mind that repair costs will likely increase as the machinery ages. Age of the asset, older technology becoming obsolete, and repeated repairs can also all reduce machinery’s efficiency. An older, repaired asset functioning at 100% can still prove less profitable than newer, more advanced machinery and equipment.
The Pros and Cons of Replacement
Replacing a critical asset is going to require a larger upfront investment and will involve downtime. Is that cost justified when compared to the ongoing maintenance and repair costs for the current asset? Will it prove less expensive, long-term, than the expense of the collective downtime and any reduction in efficiency, productivity, and quality resulting from repairing the current machinery? Along with the price of the asset itself, factor in the labor and installation costs, disposal costs of the asset being replaced, and the training cost required for new machinery. The one unequivocal consideration is safety. If repairing an asset leaves any safety concerns unaddressed, replacement is a must.
Informing Your Decision Using Vibration Monitoring Technology
There are few tools more effective at determining critical assets’ reliability, efficiency, and root-cause issue-identification than vibration monitoring technology driven by Motion Amplification® technology. Motion Amplification® vibration monitoring and analysis platforms allow users to visualize motion across an entire asset and visualize the relationship between components. It does so in real-time and without requiring downtime. That kind of precise, whole-system or component-level view of an asset’s condition and possible issues can prove invaluable for determining whether repair is worth it or if replacement is called for.
To Repair or to Replace?
Deciding between repairing and replacing critical assets requires consideration of all the above factors and, no doubt, many others. While there is no magic bullet answer, a good guideline to consider is the 50/50 rule—when a repair will cost more than 50% of the cost of replacing the asset, the time has come to replace it.
Prioritize Machine Condition Maintenance as Preventive Maintenance
Machine condition monitoring, using vibration monitoring technology, should be a cornerstone of any preventive maintenance strategy. Manufacturing assets that are malfunctioning, failing, or otherwise not operating as they should are prone to producing telltale vibrations. Those vibrations are generally invisible to the human eye, making vibration monitoring technology a must for diagnosing and correcting these issues early.
Find Non-Contact Vibration Analysis Equipment
As effective as vibration analysis equipment is, traditional vibration analysis equipment is accompanied by some drawbacks. Among the chief drawbacks is that traditional vibration monitoring necessitates physically attaching contact sensors to the machinery. Attaching physical sensors requires shutting machines down, which makes predictive maintenance difficult to schedule. The best alternative is a vibration analysis technology platform like the Iris M™ innovation from RDI Technologies. Iris M™ employs Motion Amplification® technology to visualize problematic vibrations that would otherwise remain invisible.
Why Non-Contact Vibration Monitoring Is Faster
A significant benefit of vibration analysis equipment that uses completely non-contact Motion Amplification technology is how much faster it tends to be. The absence of contact sensors means no downtime accompanying shutting assets down, sometimes waiting for them to cool, and so on. Since the Iris M™ utilizes a camera to visualize movement, the relevant data is communicated in real-time, while the assets are running. Complex data is clearly, efficiently communicated in real-time using easy to interpret videos.
How Non-Contact Vibration Analysis Simplifies the Process
In addition to saving time, non-contact vibration monitoring, driven by Motion Amplification® technology, also simplifies the process considerably. The data gathered by traditional vibration monitoring platforms relying on contact sensors has to be gathered and analyzed by engineers. However, that process is often far less challenging for the engineers than successfully communicating the data to the non-technical staff. Vibration analysis technology employing Motion Amplification® provides a whole-system, component-level view of an asset while clearly and effectively communicating that data into easy to interpret visualizations to aid non-technical staff in understanding the takeaways.
RDI Technologies has succeeded in changing the predictive maintenance space forever. Its Iris M™ machine condition monitoring technology platform represents a reliable, cutting-edge innovation that turns every pixel in a camera into a sensor. Motion that would have remained invisible to human eye is rendered visible. RDI Technologies’ Iris M™ platform provides users with real-time data powered by it’s Motion Amplification technology. That technology can be used to swiftly resolve root-cause issues identified by the problematic vibrations they cause. With Iris M™ vibration monitoring technology, that crucial data is converted into meaningful, informative visualizations that communicate critical information clearly to technical and non-technical team members. Additionally, the Iris M™ platform powered by Motion Amplification® technology requires no downtime for setup. With RDI Technologies, Seeing is Believing™.
Experience how the RDI Technologies Motion Amplification®-driven Iris M™ platform can improve critical asset reliability for your business at