What’s condition monitoring?

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Condition monitoring is the ongoing observation and inspection of equipment to identify problems before they cause failure. Visual inspection is the most cost-effective method, but more advanced methods like thermography and oil analysis can also be used. Regular monitoring and maintenance can reduce downtime, repair costs, accidents, and provide accurate budgeting. It is best suited for industrial settings and power plants, but can also be used for boilers, furnaces, and cooling equipment in commercial organizations.

Condition monitoring is the ongoing observation and inspection of equipment and machinery. This process is part of preventative or predictive maintenance and is used to identify problems with a machine before it can fail. While condition monitoring by itself does not lead to actual repairs, it helps alert businesses to the need for scheduling repairs or maintenance work. This process can be applied to virtually any type of equipment, from boilers and heat exchangers to rotating equipment and other machinery found in an industrial setting.

Visual inspection is the most cost-effective and widely used type of condition monitoring. This type of monitoring is often performed by the equipment operators themselves, who are typically more familiar with these machines. During a visual inspection, operators look for signs of a potential problem, including things like leaks, cracks, rust or corrosion. The inspector may also check for loose bolts or bearings, as well as misalignment or other problems that could lead to equipment failure. Visual condition monitoring can also include checking the filters or simply inspecting the machine for debris that may be clogging the internal workings.

In addition to visual inspections, businesses can also benefit from more advanced forms of condition monitoring. One example is thermography, where inspectors use special infrared scanners to locate internal problems within equipment. This type of monitoring can also involve things like oil analysis, which can alert operators to issues like wear or contamination. More advanced systems rely on special sensors to provide constant feedback about the equipment. These sensors send information to a computer, where maintenance personnel can analyze current conditions and keep an eye out for anomalies or malfunctions.

The condition monitoring process offers many advantages to companies. Regular monitoring and predictive maintenance can reduce the risk of machine failure, which helps minimize downtime and reduce repair costs over time. Equipment under observation and properly maintained is also less likely to contribute to accidents, which not only helps keep insurance costs down, but also protects workers from injury. This process often helps companies create more accurate budgets by providing accurate information on the current condition of major equipment and machinery.

While condition monitoring can be used in almost any type of environment, it is perhaps best suited to factories and industrial plants. This process is also a powerful technology in power plants, where large-scale equipment often requires substantial maintenance and care. Businesses and commercial organizations can also use condition monitoring techniques to maintain boilers, furnaces and cooling equipment.

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