WHEN DO WE ALIGN?
Virtually everything you see or touch made by man at some point in its life has to be processed and transported. Every manufacturing process requires that power be transmitted to a machine, pump, roller, axle or thousands of other examples as a fundamental part of the process of taking a raw material and turning it into a product. In almost all cases, this power is transmitted by a motor or force which is converted in to the rotation of a shaft and then transmitted to another shaft. Bearings are fitted around the shaft to ensure that it rotates as freely as possible. Both the shafts must be joined to transfer the power through a coupling of some sort. Any coupling’s main purpose is to drive another shaft as efficiently as possible to reduce the energy loss. Various types of couplings have been used from animal skin, rope, rubber belts through to ingenious bands, gear couplings, steel and alloy membranes.
These rotations will induce power consumption, vibration, wear on rotating equipment, and in the end product quality and capacity will be affected by this process. So to answer the question, “When do we Align”. Answer: Anytime you have rotating equipment and anytime you make ANY changes to this rotating equipment.
MACHINE DIAGNOSTICS……DOES IT PAY?
Rotating equipment sometimes fails to operate as intended. These failures can be more or less important, in some cases causing further and more expensive damages.
The breaking down of a small piece of equipment, if it were to cause the shutdown of a major production line, would induce some major costs.
For these reasons, measurements, allowing diagnostics of the state of machines, is becoming more and more, a topic of interest. Of course condition monitoring has been around for many years now, but how about taking it one step further? Mr. Erik Olsson wrote a thesis on the subject of “artificial Intelligence’’.
With growing competition on the world market, production capacities are pushed to the limits. The increased demands on rotating equipment, and speeds of machines at their maximum, more and more equipment need to be monitored to prevent failures. Our experts in the field of condition monitoring, cannot keep up with the demand.
What if you could multiply the people looking out for your equipment? Along comes artificial intelligence. What is “artificial intelligence”? According to Mr. Olsson; “Case-based reasoning is a method in the discipline of artificial intelligence based on the idea of assembling experience from problems and their solutions as cases for reuse in solving future problems”.
What he was stating and what is becoming a true topic of interest, is the ability to give a diagnostic of a machine, simply by relying on past history of monitored machines; allowing anyone to check for the state of a machine, without needing years of history of this specific machine, but relying on history of 25 years of similar machine set ups.
Maintenance costs are always on the rise, and the demand from companies are constantly to cut these high costs. “Artificial Intelligence”, with auto diagnostics will enhance the reliability of your equipment. This will in no way eliminate the need for our experts, but what if it were to make their life easier, and allowing every industry to run smoother with less breakdowns?