Condition monitoring (CM) is the practice of continuously inspecting and assessing the condition of equipment to predict and prevent failure. You can perform condition monitoring manually or through the use of technology such as sensors and monitoring software. By proactively detecting issues before they cause serious damage, businesses can save time and money on maintenance and repairs. Here we’ll explore what condition monitoring is and how it can benefit your business.
Condition Monitoring and Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)
While condition monitoring is a preventive maintenance technique, your CM data will actually drive condition-based maintenance. Maintenance technicians use condition monitoring tools to collect data about the health of equipment. Then, they analyze the data to identify any potential problems. With condition monitoring, businesses can make informed decisions about when and how to maintain their equipment, ensuring that it stays in good working order.
Condition-based maintenance is a way of planning maintenance tasks based on the condition of the equipment or system. This is an alternative to following a set schedule. Companies use condition monitoring to assess the condition of their equipment, and this information is then used to decide when maintenance tasks should be carried out. The benefit of condition-based maintenance is that it can help to reduce downtime and avoid unnecessary maintenance tasks, as well as reduce the overall cost of maintenance. In some cases, condition-based maintenance may also help to improve safety by identifying potential problems before they result in a catastrophic failure.
When to Use Condition Monitoring
Condition monitoring and condition-based maintenance are not suitable for all types of equipment, but they can be an effective way to reduce costs and improve efficiency in many cases. CM is useful for monitoring specific conditions that would provide some indication of a developing fault, such as:
- Lubricant Analysis
- Rotor Speed
- Process Sensor Data
- Motor Circuit Analysis
This can be done manually, but, for the best results, you should employ the assistance of condition monitoring technology. You can use sensors and software on a wide variety of assets from rotating machinery and auxiliary systems to smaller systems like motors, pumps, or compressors.
Condition Monitoring and Lubrication Management
CM techniques are great for many maintenance strategies. But, they are an essential component of your lubrication management. Once you implement a lubrication management system, you can add in-line oil analysis sensors, vibration sensors, temperature sensors, and more to measure your asset health in real-time. You can even set up automatic notifications when the sensors catch a change in the condition that passes the acceptable threshold for that condition and asset. However, the crucial factor is having a consistent and disciplined lubrication plan. Then, condition monitoring can provide real value as part of your continuous improvement.
Lubrication Management CM Example
Say you have a piece of equipment that requires a large volume of oil. When it’s time to change the oil, it’s not cheap to replace such a high volume. The equipment manufacturer recommends changing the oil every 500 operating hours. However, the manufacturer’s recommendation is based on some average of how that machine may be used and will likely err on the conservative side to safeguard against equipment failure. But, with in-line oil analysis sensors monitoring the condition of the oil, you can confidently extend the time between oil changes without risking the health of your asset. If it doubles the time to 1000 operating hours, then you reduce your lubricant cost by 50% for that equipment.
A Great Resource of Asset Data
By identifying issues early with condition monitoring, businesses can avoid costly repairs and downtime. CM data is a major resource to support the development of a maintenance schedule tailored to the needs of your equipment. When done consistently, ideally by using technology, it is an effective way to improve equipment reliability and production.