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Low-cost vibration monitor acts as a `check engine` light for machinery

01 February, 2013

SKF has developed a low-cost vibration and temperature sensor for monitoring non-critical rotating machinery. The Machine Condition Indicator (MCI) costs less than an accelerometer and can be used to track basic machine health on equipment that would not normally be monitored regularly.

The MCI uses an internal vibration sensor to make two types of measurement – overall velocity and enveloped acceleration (gE) – as well as checking the machine’s surface temperature.

The velocity measurements indicate the machine’s general health and highlight potential problems such as misalignments and imbalances. The gE measurements can help to detect bearing degradation or gear impulsive vibration. The device has enough built-in intelligence to evaluate the measurements and to avoid false alarms. Genuine alarms are indicated via three LEDs.

A magnetic read-key (shown above with the MCI) activates the device, changes its operating modes, sets vibration baselines and acknowledges alarms.

Torsten Bark, product line manager at SKF’s Condition Monitoring Centre in San Diego, says that Machine Condition Indicator is as easy to use as the ‘check engine’ warning light in a car. “Once the LEDs are illuminated,” he says, “the predictive maintenance technician is alerted to perform root-cause analysis on the machine to determine what kind of problem might be affecting its performance.”

The MCI allows maintenance engineers to focus on more significant issues. In addition, maintenance for non-critical machines can be scheduled at less frequent intervals.

The monitor’s interior is sealed to IP69K, allowing it to be used indoors or outdoors. It can be retrofitted to existing plant or used by OEMs as an economical way to ensure their semi-critical machines keep running.

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