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Successfully Implementing a Condition Monitoring Program (Part II)

Selection of a condition monitoring (CM) technology is not an easy task and requires it that many concerns be taken into consideration. Determination of what functionality is needed, selection of a technology provider that can deliver the required technology, and an available budget are all critical considerations to think about before making a purchase.

This is Part 2 of a 2 part series, see Part 1 here.

Step #6: Database structure

Give significant consideration to how the database hierarchy and structure should be constructed within your CM database. Determine if your database should be constructed based upon facility levels, departments, buildings, floors, etc.

Step #7: Interfacing with other plant systems

It is very important to determine if you wish your CM software and database to interface with other plant systems from the beginning of use or in the future. It is much easier to build this possibility into your CM database from the start rather than trying to build an interface after the fact later.

Make sure that your CM software has a CMMS interface. Determine the CMMS references for the equipment that you will monitor with your CM technology (CMMS IDs, names, etc.) This will allow you to use the same nomenclature when building your CM database.

Integration with other CM data is very important. It is very valuable to have your oil, thermography, alignment, motor diagnostics, ultrasonic, vibration, and other plant data (temperatures, pressures, etc.) incorporated into the same database. This allows holistic analysis to be done on your equipment, because all of the data can be easily compared together for fault trends and more.

Step #8: Build database

After the proper groundwork has been completed, it is time to build the database for your CM technology. You should be able to easily copy and paste the equipment templates previously created and assign them to the actual equipment you will be monitoring. Make sure to assign the equipment types previously created as well. Assign the CMMS names and IDs to your CM database machines. This will make the interface to your CMMS system and other data sources much easier and remove potential confusion in the future. Link equipment drawings and other important information to the entries in your CM database as well.

All of this will allow you to quickly populate your database with the equipment being monitored based upon standards you have created.

Step #9: Create standard reports

It is very important that you determine the reporting standards that are required to convey the information that is important to your facility and/or organization. Your CM software should have the capability to generate standard reports (predefined reports) and custom reports based upon the specific reporting needs of your facility and/or organization.

You should have reports based upon several categories:

  • Program Standards: Allow you to determine if the equipment is being monitored to facility or corporate standards. This includes analytical standards, hierarchy, nomenclature, etc.
  • Verification of equipment performance: These reports will allow you to easily determine what equipment has been identified with a fault condition based upon the applied standards (alarms, detected fault conditions, etc.)
  • Verification of CM program performance: These reports allow you to determine that the equipment is being monitored according to the assigned interval and analysis standards.
  • Statistical reports: These reports will allow you to identify improper alarm settings, fault condition trends, and can report the overall health condition of the equipment.

Proper reporting is essential to the long term success of your CM efforts. This information should be used to ensure that work is being done to specific standards and to drive continual improvement in your CM efforts. Reporting is also critical in demonstrating the value returned from the CM investment. Management needs to see the fruits of their decision to apply critical capital.

Step #10: Get help

It is critical to draw support from the experiences of those around you. This support can come from internal or corporate resources that may be readily available. This will help you learn from the direct experiences within your company and help you ensure that corporate standards are being followed.

Consider utilizing external resources like contractors or the CM technology provider. This can provide value in two different ways. The main objective is to get your CM technology operational within your facility and/or organization. The added value comes with the training you can receive in the process. Make sure that your employees are involved with the startup service provided by the technology provider or contractor. This provides hands on learning experience for your employees and adds overall value. The investment of a few hours of valuable time on the front end will pay dividends in optimized time utilization for years.

Consider how long it will take your internal resources to get your CM technology setup and producing results. The technology provider or contractor may be able to get your program up and running much more quickly than your internal resources. This means that your CM technology is producing results sooner and better, and this may more than pay for the added expense of utilizing the external resources.

Do not forget to involve your internal IT group during all phases of the process. They will help you eliminate many potential surprises and problems later. IT stands for “Information Technology” and CM is the collection of critical information about your equipment. How this information is integrated into your daily operations will be greatly impacted by the extent to which your IT department is involved during the implementation process.

Trent Phillips is the Condition Monitoring Manager of LUDECA Inc., a provider of shaft alignment, vibration analysis, and balancing equipment. He has worked for many years creating and managing reliability programs and in the development of condition monitoring technologies. Trent has several certifications in condition monitoring technologies. He can be reached at 305-591-8935 or [email protected].

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