KCF Technologies Blog

The Three Blind Spots in your Factory -- Number 2: Hard-to-Reach Machines

By Jeremy Frank

This week we’re continuing our conversation about the blind spots in every factory and what vibration technicians can do to see them more clearly.

Last week, 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 in your factory and prevent them from breaking down.

The second of the three blind spots is Hard-to-Reach Machines. Think about the place where you work: what machines are difficult for a human to consistently monitor? For example, a machine behind a fenced-off area or one that’s atop a multi-story tower. These machines pose a huge risk for vibe techs because monitoring them is difficult and, as a result, are checked less frequently.

For example, in paper mills converting machines are placed behind gates and fences because they spin at a high speed and are dangerous to workers. That said, they still break down and therefore, monitoring their heath is still on a vibe tech’s to-do list.

Another example from the paper industry is pulp digester towers, which can reach over 100 feet in the air. Imagine climbing those stairs every month with a large vibration monitoring computer slung around one shoulder and your tool kit slung around the other. Now imagine clambering up those same stairs on a dark, windy, cold night when the machine has unexpectedly failed and you need to hurry up there to fix it. Are your palms sweaty just thinking about it? They should be! It’s those middle of the night, desperate “reactive” maintenance calls that are among the most dangerous situations we’ll ever face in the industrial world.

The reality, folks, is that monitoring these dangerous machines or climbing those horrifying towers are NOT necessary, at least to the extent they were in years past. Wireless vibration monitoring minimizes your exposure to these hazardous conditions.

What kinds of Hard-To-Reach 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.

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