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A profitable plant is reliable, safe and a cost-effectively maintained plant.

Introduction:

I often am lucky enough to use different vibration technologies and this post is a great example of how a vibration analysis program can protect the business using the SPM HD Enveloping technique. This post is with thanks to assistance from Dean Whiteside.

Background:

As part of a routine vibration data collection program a change in condition was noted at the fan motor vibration levels. Vibration monitoring frequencies were increased to daily as the defect deteriorated. This enabled planning and a controlled change out of the motor.

Air Fan

Vibration Analysis:

On inspection of the vibration data, bearing outer raceway (BPFO) damage was diagnosed at the drive end motor bearing. This was clearly evident in the SPM HD Enveloping.

Acceleration Data:

Figure 1 shows the Acceleration RMS trend from the motor drive end (DE) bearing location. This shows the steep increase in the impacting levels with an exponential increase in the final days of monitoring.

Fig1:

Acceleration RMS Trend

SPM HD Enveloping Data:

Figure 2 shows the SPM HD Envelope spectrum from the motor drive end bearing. This technique shows a clear impact at 3.09 Orders that matches the defect frequency for the bearing fitted. There are many harmonics indicating a very impactive signal.

Fig 2:

SPM HD Enveloping

Summary of vibration:

There is a clear distinct defect in bearing outer raceway, at these levels this would confirm a spalling to the raceway.

Corrective Actions:

Due to the risk of failure, a new motor was sourced and placed on-site encase of instant catastrophic failure. The risks was discussed with production and was deemed too high to the process and a plan was put in place for a controlled stop. But prior to this date there was an unexpected line stop, and as the motor was all prepared on site, the motor was changed during this downtime.

Vibration data after controlled change-out:

Figure 3 are the SPM HD Enveloping spectra from before and after motor change out. The top plot showed the clear bearing damage and now with the replacement motor there are no bearing defect signals present.

Fig 3:

Original Motor
New Motor

Figure 4 is the Acceleration trend from the motor drive end bearing location. This trend shows the increasing and then the lowest record level with the new motor installed.

Fig 4:

Acceleration RMS Trend

Bearing Inspection: After sectioning and cleaning

On visual inspection, it was found as expected, a large visible defect in the loadzone of the bearing outer raceway. Motor Drive End Bearing FAG 6316-C3

Image 1 is the drive end bearing sectioned.

Image 1:

Drive End Bearing

Image 2 is the defect located in the loadzone of the outer raceway.

Notice the flat bottom of the spalled area and the “neat” cracks around it. These are cracks that have come to the surface and in time, more material will break away.

Image 2:

Microscopic Image Outer Raceway

Image 3 is the defect located in the loadzone of the outer raceway.

Particle over roll as the bearing comes out of the load zone.

Image 3:

Microscopic Image Outer Raceway

Failure Mode:

ISO 15243:2004: 5.1.2 Subsurface initiated fatigue. Primary causes of Subsurface initiated fatigue are repeated stress changes and material structural changes. This leads to microcracks under the surface, crack propagation and then spalling.

This bearing was close to catastrophic failure

The bearing is damaged as soon as spalling occurs. Spalling gradually increases and gives rise to noise and vibration levels in the machine. This machine was stopped and repaired before the bearing collapsed. The period from initial spalling to failure depends on the type of machine and its operating conditions.

What is sub surface fatigue? In a rotating bearing, cyclic stress changes occur beneath the contact surfaces of the raceways and rolling elements. Consider the rotating inner ring of a radial bearing with a radial load acting on it. As the ring rotates, one particular point on the raceway enters the load zone and continues through an area to reach a maximum load (stress) before it exits the load zone.

During each revolution, as that one point on the raceway enters and exits the load zone, compressive and shear stresses occur. Depending on the load, temperature and the number of stress cycles over a period of time, there is a build-up of residual stresses that cause the material to change from a randomly oriented grain structure to fracture planes.

In these planes, so-called subsurface microcracks develop beneath the surface at the weakest location, around the zone of maximum shear stress, typically at a depth of 0,1 to 0,5 mm. The depth depends on the load, material, cleanliness, temperature and the microstructure of the steel. The crack finally propagates to the surface and spalling occurs.

Summary:

This is another example of how vibration technology and knowing system health and risk of failure enables data driven decisions to benefit the business. The motor was replaced when the line was down due to an unplanned shutdown, with no additional downtime occurred.

If this motor had failed without any planning this would have lost product and reduced profit. In addition these actions have protected the customers, supply chain and brand our reputation.

A profitable plant is reliable, safe and a cost-effectively maintained plant

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