Case 2

Condition monitoring of critical machinery

Cement plant wanted to get insight into a number of critical machines including electrical motors and pumps. The goal was to achieve fault diagnosis and predict any upcoming failures.

Why did they contact Hexastate CBM Solutions?

The company has numerous critical machines which cannot be stopped without interrupting each of the production lines. A breakdown happening without warning will lead to comprehensive downtime and be of significant cost, due to the complexity of cement production lines. Any insight in the machines condition will be valuable, not only to avoid breakdowns, but also to aid maintenance when planned stoppages are made. Currently manual measurements are used whenever operators see a measurable change in the machines operation, though this might be too late for proper maintenance planning. Therefore, a condition monitoring system is of high interest to the company which needs to include predictions in machine condition as well as fault diagnosis.

As part of the case five flue gas ventilators and multiple sludge pumps for the ovens was monitored. The flue gas ventilators consist of one large electric motor, two bearings and a ventilator. The sludge pumps consist of a centrifugal pump and an electric motor. Each of these was monitored through a two-month period with the aim to diagnose faults and predict potential breakdowns. Multiple other similar machines were also monitored as part of the case.

What was the case findings?

Multiple errors were found by the system of various degrees. One was a crucial fault which was fixed as part of a major planned stoppage. Here the fault was found and diagnosed, and the equipment was applied the needed maintenance, which was confirmed by the following measurements.

To further investigate the faults one of Hexastates experts inspected measurements from the time period. From this investigation the extent of the faults could be deemed further, for the company to react to. The faults ranged from early signs of wear and improper installation to resonance and more comprehensive faults. For one of the issues maintenance was not part of the major planned stoppage and the fact that the analysis showed low severity of the fault, it was deemed safe to operate with. This will be inspected more frequently until proper maintenance can be applied to avoid a sudden breakdown. It was made clear that this fault would not have been detected using the companies conventional approach to condition monitoring.

Key learnings

From the case it was found that Hexastates software finds early signs of wear which would not have been detected using conventional maintenance inspections. This emphasize the significant and hidden potential that condition based and predictive maintenance possess. It also showed that improper installation can be of high significance and must not be an overlooked root cause of failure. If such system is utilized correctly the maintenance department will see significant improvements in areas like response time and accuracy in planned maintenance, leading to cost savings. Using Hexastates system provides a solid stepping stone for the future of predictive maintenance 4.0.