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Vibration Monitor Delivers Reliable Data

EP Editorial Staff | February 19, 2024

Emerson’s AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor uses nearby sensors as through points to ensure reliable, continuous data transmission. Photo courtesy Emerson

The AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor uses PeakVue Plus technology to provide a reliable indication of asset health.

By Drew Mackley, Emerson

Today’s leaner maintenance and reliability teams can no longer rely solely on scheduled data-collection routes. Today’s most efficient plants need their people focused on driving increased reliability, sustainability, and performance, not walking around collecting data. Fortunately, there’s a solution. Automated monitoring—particularly using wireless vibration monitors—empowers teams to keep a finger on the pulse of asset health without committing people to low-value data-collection tasks.

Emerson’s (St. Louis, AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor is designed from the ground up to provide accurate, actionable insights to plant personnel of any experience level. Whether teams need the most robust hazardous-area certification for difficult environments or simply want to install sensors for better visibility of assets across an expansive facility, the built-for-purpose monitor has critical features to help anyone build and support an effective predictive-maintenance program.

Customizable configuration

Any sensor on the market can deliver data, but what sets the best-in-class monitoring solutions apart is the flexibility to customize data collection to fit specific assets. Many of today’s teams struggle when they install “one-size-fits-all” solutions for wireless monitoring. Such solutions may allow the team to change data resolution or delivery frequency but offer little else in terms of configuration.

A generic sensor configuration appropriate for a motor might not provide the granular detail teams need on a pump, gearbox, compressor, or other piece of rotating equipment. Each of those equipment types has different failure modes, so the same acquisition methods cannot be applied across the board. Because configuration does not match operation on these sensors, teams might either miss failures or receive false alerts.

The AMS monitor empowers users with flexibility to tailor measurements to the machine or application being monitored. For example, on a five-bladed fan, teams can more accurately monitor the fan by configuring a 5x turning speed, or blade-pass, vibration. In contrast, on a pump with eight impeller vanes, they will be able to configure and trend a different 8x turning speed vane-pass band. The result is more meaningful alarms and trends than can be provided by a non-fit-for-purpose sensor.

PeakVue Plus

Rotating equipment can experience a variety of problems, and those problems span a spectrum of criticality. Nearly all sensors are designed to identify low-frequency faults such as imbalance, misalignment, resonance, and looseness. These are all important flaws to catch as, over time, they cause wear and tear that can lead to the failures that cause production outages.

However, the most-effective sensors on the market are also designed with patented technology to detect impacting—a critical sign of the equipment faults that shut down machines. Emerson’s monitor uses PeakVue Plus technology to cut through the complexity of machinery health analysis and provide a simple, reliable indication of equipment health using a single trend. PeakVue Plus not only detects impacting on critical components such as bearings and gears, but also tells the technician if that impacting is a result of common issues, including lubrication or bearing failure. Armed with this information, technicians of any skill level have the decision support they need to intervene early and remedy small problems before they become critical failures.

Continuous operation

No plant hires personnel with the hope that they will spend their day changing batteries on the hundreds or thousands of wireless sensors scattered around the plant. In many cases, this is exactly what happens. Many wireless sensors on the market today were not designed to have long battery life. When power is low, it’s typically difficult or even impossible to change batteries. This can quickly force a plant to have “battery change technicians” and experience high total cost of ownership and a great deal of waste.

The AMS wireless unit contains a battery that operates for 5 yr. under normal operating conditions. Even when the battery runs out, it’s designed to be replaced in less than a minute, using normal tools and without removing the device, even in hazardous environments.

Industrial environments are often crowded mazes of piping, steel structures, and process equipment, making it a challenging environment for wireless communications, especially for simple peer-to-peer wireless networks. When the normal wireless connection to the gateway is interrupted or something blocks the signal between a sensor and its gateway, teams end up with gaps in their data and must spend frustrating time troubleshooting.

The AMS instrument uses a WirelessHART mesh network, making each sensor a transmitter and a receiver. If the normal path to the gateway is unavailable, the monitor will use neighboring sensors as a through point to send the data reliably back to the gateway, resulting in a more reliable and less-hassle wireless vibration network.

Plant personnel need tools to remove the burden of repetitive, low-value tasks such as manual data collection. Choosing a generic sensor is typically more expensive in total cost of ownership and less effective overall than a fit-for-purpose solution. As sustainability and efficiency needs increase, the AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor will continue to evolve, helping teams make the most efficient use of the personnel resources they have and ensure they have a finger on the pulse of plant and asset health. EP

Drew Mackley has more than 25 years of experience in the predictive-maintenance industry. In that time, Drew has worked with customers to establish and grow machinery health-management programs in a variety of industries and locations around the world. Mackley has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Univ. of Tennessee.


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