For the ordinary person, vibration can be as simple as the vibration made by a cellular phone receiving a call or the vibration made when one plucks the string of a guitar. For the engineers, however, vibrations mean a lot of things.
Technically, vibration is defined as a mechanical oscillation from a point of equilibrium. Vibrations may be regular, like the movement of a pendulum of a clock, or random like when an automobile travels on a rocky piece of land. Some vibrations are desirable, as are those that create sound and music, while others are undesirable, like unwanted sound.
Mechanical engineers carefully study vibrations through vibration analysis. It is through this study that they acquire knowledge on the condition of equipment or machinery. Part of the process of vibration analysis is to regularly monitor the equipment's performance and output. From the data that the mechanical engineers collect, they understand what may be causing a certain defect. They can also devise ways of preventing incidence of a major machine failure. Vibration analysis is a major part of the preventive maintenance measures of a player in any industry that deals with equipment and machinery. It does not only allow mechanical engineers to see the root of the problem, but also allows them to identify it at an early stage. Out of all the preventive measures that mechanical engineers perform in maintaining equipment, vibration analysis becomes the most important because of the wealth of information that it can give.
Vibration analysis is performed to achieve the following results:
- Detecting potential defects in the equipment. Analyzing the equipment's vibrations gives insight on possible faults. When these vibrations are left unattended, they may lead to major equipment problems in the future that can risk not only the money of the company but the time and effort of its mechanical staff as well.
- Early detection of machine problems. This allows mechanical engineers to devise a better machine maintenance schedule. The data from vibration analysis can help mechanical engineers decide if they need to have a periodic maintenance schedule or just check on the equipment as needed.
- Verification and assurance of the quality performance of the equipment. This is still part of the periodic maintenance process for each tool. Mechanical engineers can keep a record of the performance of each tool or unit of equipment to serve as basis for future check-ups.
- To identify how rebuilt equipment performs compared to industry standards. Vibration analysis becomes especially handy when buying used equipment. The data collected from the analysis can be cross-referenced against industry standards to see if the used equipment can still be utilized in the plant.
- Storing data for the organization’s records. The data collected over the years may indicate a trend that can help the organization in developing new preventive measures.
Vibration analysis is not as simple as it looks, as mechanical engineers use countless mathematical formulae to come up with their data, analysis, and assessments. Performing regular vibration analysis can help the organization save money, time, and energy by lessening the need for major, bothersome repairs.