The technology for machine condition monitoring has advanced dramatically over the past twenty years. Most flaws can be identified in sufficient time to avoid outright failure or even an unscheduled interruption in production. Many organizations have reduced maintenance costs by 50% or more and have achieved a state of equipment reliability where mechanical problems no longer determine availability. Despite all these achievements three major deficiencies still must be resolved:
- Senior management of operating companies generally does not have sufficient understanding or appreciation for the contribution that enlightened maintenance practices are making, or can make, to the profitability of their companies.
- Historically, condition monitoring has been thought of primarily as vibration monitoring. Information conveyed by other means such as process measurements including temperature, pressure and power, lubricating oil condition and specialized methods such as power line and motor current analysis must be integrated and fully utilized for earliest, reliable indication of changes in condition.
- Information defining machine condition is not displayed to operating personnel with the same clarity and sophistication as control measurements. As a result, many people with direct responsibility for operations and maintenance decisions do not have any greater insight into machinery condition than existed 20 years ago.
If modern, enlightened maintenance practices are to contribute fully to profitability, these deficiencies must be resolved. This paper outlines current shortcomings that are restricting full achievement and proposes detailed remedial action.