KCF Technologies Blog

Value Innovation Series: University Solutions to Bridge the Gaps in PdM


Academic institutions, particularly large colleges and universities, continually strive to improve and enhance their maintenance programs in an effort to improve overall efficiency.  Where reactive maintenance practices were once the norm, institutions are beginning to take a more proactive, predictive approach to machinery maintenance.  Continuous wireless vibration monitoring technologies have quickly become a cost-effective solution to compliment standard walkaround monitoring systems most commonly used.  Depending on the specific application and situation, both methods of data collection prove effective, but there are added advantages to continuous monitoring that are critical to maximizing uptime and improving overall efficiency.

“See the Whole Movie, Not Just a Scene”

Our customer, a world-leading university comprised of over 600 buildings, uses both wireless continuous condition monitoring and walkaround systems to monitor machinery health as part of a reliability-centered maintenance approach.  A large ventilation fan located within a research facility was part of their quarterly walkaround program, but failed unexpectedly between the scheduled data acquisition period resulting in costly downtime, expensive repairs, and increased safety concerns.  A simple data gathering solution was needed to provide reliable, continuous data following the repair, alignment, and balancing of the fan, and to monitor regularly (vs. quarterly) to better detect subsequent failures otherwise missed by the walkaround system.

The SmartDiagnostics® system was quickly implemented to gather critical, continuous data during both the repair and start-up of the unit.  Four sensors were installed in a matter of minutes and allowed easy data acquisition on axial and radial positions of the inboard and outboard fan bearings, and radial position of the motor.  Rapid setup and installation, coupled with one minute data acquisition, has provided technicians with the capability to look deeper, trend better, and see the whole “movie”….to view real-time data over an extended period of time establishing baselines and trending day-to-day operating loads of the unit.

The ease-of-use and flexibility of the SmartDiagnostics® system leads to long-term savings while effectively reducing overall maintenance, repair, and replacement costs leading to improved overall reliability. 

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