Basics of Vibration Monitoring: A Presentation

Vibration with plant machinery is a serious problem with plant operations. Its severity sometimes leads to even plant shot down. So It must be monitored. This article will share a few basic points for vibration monitoring.

Machineries in an operating plant requires attention to perform at desired levels of performance-approach towards equipment (Fig. 1):

Normal Approaches towards Equipment
Fig. 1: Normal Approaches towards Equipment

Condition Monitoring

  1. A) VIBRATION MONITORING: ONLINE MONITORING and OFFLINE MONITORING
  2. B) LUBRICATING OIL MONITORING: OIL PROPERTIES ANALYSIS and WEAR DEBRIS ANALYSIS

Online Monitoring

  • PERMANENTLY MOUNTED PROBES
  • ALL ROTARY EQUIPMENT ABOVE 500 KW
  • BENTLY NEVADA MAKE SYSTEM
  • SHAFT VIBRATION AS WELL AS CASING VIBRATION

Offline Monitoring

  • PERIODIC DATA COLLECTION
  • PORTABLE DATA ANALYZERS ARE USED
  • ALL ROTARY EQUIPMENT ABOVE 22 KW
  • CSI MAKE SYSTEM

Condition of Equipment

PHYSICAL  CONDITION:

  • APPEARANCE
  • Color
  • TEMPERATURE
  • VIBRATIONS
  • SOUND
  • LOOSENESS

INTERNAL  CONDITION:

  • VIBRATION SPECTRUMS
  • FREQUENCY ANALYSIS
  • ROTOR POSITION
  • BEARING METAL  TEMPERATURE
  • OIL CONDITION  –  OIL  DEGRADATION, METALS,  WEAR  PARTICLES  IN  OIL

Three Stages in Vibration Monitoring

  • What to measure from the machine? Identification of parameter and machine
  • How to measure? Instrumentation requirement
  • When to measure? Frequency of CM

Basics of Vibration

What is Vibration (Fig. 2)?

Vibration can be defined as the cyclic or oscillating motion of a component from its mean position.

Vibration of Simple Spring Mass System
Fig. 2: Vibration of Simple Spring Mass System

Units of Vibration Measurement

  • Displacement : m, mm, microns. mils
  • Velocity : m/sec, mm/sec , in/sec
  • Acceleration : m/sec2, g

What causes Vibration?

  • Unbalance
  • Misalignment
  • Bent shaft
  • Looseness
  • Eccentricity
  • Resonance
  • Anti-friction bearing
  • Journal bearing
  • Aerodynamics and hydraulic problem
  • Electrical problem
  • Gear problem
  • Belt-drives problem

Units of Vibration:

  • Amplitude: It is the magnitude of vibration signal. How much is it vibrating? Size (severity) of the problem.
  • Frequency: How many times oscillation is occurring for a given time period? What is vibrating? Source of the vibration.
  • Phase Angle: The Phase Angle is the angle (in degrees) the shaft travels from the start of data collection to when the sensor experiences maximum positive force. How is it vibrating? Cause of the vibration.

Units of Amplitude

  • Displacement: The distance a structure moves or vibrates from its reference or rest position.
  • Velocity: Rate of change of displacement. It is the measure of the speed at which the mass is vibrating during its oscillation.
  • Acceleration: It is the rate of change of velocity. The greater the rate of change of velocity the greater the forces (F=ma) on the machines.

When To Use Displacement / Velocity / Acceleration (Fig. 3)?

When to Use Displacement-Velocity-Acceleration
Fig. 3: When to Use Displacement-Velocity-Acceleration

Systems / Tools for Monitoring

Transducers (Fig. 4): 

It is a basic device, which converts mechanical motion into an electrical signal which can be amplified, filtered, analyzed and displayed to indicate the vibrations and allow diagnosis of the overall machinery health.

Use of transducers for vibration monitoring
Fig. 4: Use of transducers for vibration monitoring

Seismic Sensor –

  • Works on piezo-electrical / moving coil principle
  • Indirect measurement of shaft vibration.
  • Directly mounted on machine casing / bearing house.
  • Absolute vibration in terms of mm/sec or g

The VELOCITY PICK-UP is a contact type transducer.

Within the velocity pick-up, a spring-mass suspension system is used, which is designed to have a low frequency. It is a permanent magnet-mass suspended on a spring and surrounded by a coil attached to the protective housing. Damping fluid is used to damp the natural frequency Velocity pick-up is limited to low frequency  (between 10 Hz and 1500 Hz) for practical purposes.

Accelerometer (Fig. 5)

The accelerometer consists of a stack of piezoelectric crystals (such as quartz) on which a mass is attached.

When a piezoelectric crystal is stressed, it produces an electric voltage output which is proportion to the stress/force. When the accelerometer is attached to a vibration body, the crystal is stressed by the inertia of the mass caused due to the vibration. Electrical voltage output is proportion to the vibration acceleration.

Several types of transducers.
Fig. 5: Several types of transducers.

Vibration Signals

  • A frequency that is an integral multiple (´2, ´3, etc.) of a fundamental (´1) frequency.
  • Sub-harmonic. A frequency that is an integral submultiple (´1/2, ´1/3, etc.) of a fundamental (´1) frequency.
  • Vibration components (on rotating machinery) that are related to shaft speed.
  • Sub-sychronous. Components of a vibration signal whose frequency is less than 1´ shaft speed.
Dominant frequency vs Nature of Fault
Fig. 6: Dominant frequency vs Nature of Fault
  •  Unidirectional vibrations. i.e. severity is more in radial directions as compared to axial.
  • The phase difference is 90° in radial directions.
  • Highly sensible w.r.t. machine rpm. It is directly proportional to machine speed.

FREQUENCY SPECTRUM (Fig. 7)

Frequency Spectrum is a plot of frequency V/s amplitude. The frequency axis may be scaled indirect frequency units Hz or in order of shaft rotative speed ie. 1X, 2X, etc. depending on the requirement. Baseline data can also be superimposed on the existing data to view changes in rotor response from known conditions.

Sample frequency spectrum plot
Fig. 7: Sample frequency spectrum plot

BODE PLOT (Fig. 8)

Bode Plot is a transient data plot and the display is either 1X or 2X vibration amplitude and phase with respect to shaft rotative speed. This plot is only available as startup or shutdown data.
This plot is useful in determining the slow roll speed range, balance resonant frequencies, synchronous amplification factor, heavy spot location, and rotor mode shape.

Sample Bode Plot
Fig. 8: Sample Bode Plot

Few more Useful Resources for you.

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Piping Design and Layout Basics
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Few Job Opportunities for you.

Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

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