By Jeremy Frank
This week we’re finishing up our conversation about the three blind spots in every factory and what vibration technicians can do to see them more clearly.
Last week, we discussed Hard-to-Reach Machines – machines that are difficult for workers to consistently monitor and are therefore overlooked or checked infrequently. The week prior, we discussed the Bad Actor – a poorly behaving, unpredictable machine that breaks on a moment’s notice.
Without better tools, it’s simply impossible to continuously monitor every Bad Actor or Hard-to-Reach Machine in your factory and prevent them from breaking down.
The third blind spot is Unsafe Machines.
Just because a machine is in a dangerous area doesn’t exclude it from requiring our attention. Let’s face it – whether a machine is in a perfectly safe area or in a hazardous one, whose tail is on the line if it goes down? You got it, Mr./Mrs. Maintenance Manager: YOURS.
However, venturing “behind the cage” to climb around dangerous machinery to take health readings – often while it’s running! – is not something that delights our EHS Department, and for good reason. One slip and your company’s safety record goes out the window.
Sometimes the safety threat isn’t so bad at first but can sneak up on you. For example, I once visited a chemical plant and came upon a guy who’d just finished his walk-around vibration readings in a high temperature room. He emerged from that room covered in sweat and on the verge of heat stroke. Not a good day.
Bottom line: In today’s world it’s ridiculous to send yourself or your team on a wild goose chase to find “needle in a haystack” problems with rotating machinery. Not only is it a safety threat, but it’s less likely to catch failures than the 24/7 monitoring systems now available for a fraction of the cost.
What kinds of Unsafe Machines do you have in your factory? And what tools are you using to predict failures before they occur?
KCF Technologies is an engineering company founded in 2000 and based in Central Pennsylvania. Its latest breakthrough is a wireless sensor system that notifies you when a machine is going to fail before it actually does. It’s called SmartDiagnostics. Organizations taking advantage of this new technology are seeing significant improvements in safety, uptime and profitability.