Many facilities understand the importance of performing regular and thorough
preventative maintenance. After all, how could you expect equipment to reliably
function correctly and efficiently without changing filters, fluids, belts and other
consumable and wear components on a consistent schedule?
Question: What else can you do to avoid production downtime, improve quality, avoid costly breakdowns and repairs and increase the reliability of your compressed air system?
Answer: Predictive Maintenance – there are methods of observation and measurement allowing you to foresee failing components of your equipment and act beforehand.
Oil Sampling and Analysis
IAC works with leading national labs to analyze and trend fluid samples, which can aid in identifying:
- Wear metals
- Change in Acidity
- Change in Viscosity
- Water content
- Additive degradation
From this information we can determine:
-Condition of fluid; is it still good or should it be changed out?
-Is the compressor operating consistently in the correct temperature range?
-Is filtration adequate?
-Has a mechanical rotor or gear failure begun or is one imminent?
And take the necessary action PROACTIVELY!
Thermal imaging using infrared technology affords the opportunity to identify both Electrical and Mechanical issues before a failure causes shut down. In addition to avoiding production stoppages, and allowing repairs to be scheduled, risk of equipment damage and harm to personnel can be avoided. In fact, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 7B reads:
21.17.5 Inspection Frequency and Procedures
Routine infrared inspections of energized electrical systems should be performed annually prior to shut down. More frequent infrared inspections, for example, quarterly or semiannually, should be performed where warranted by loss experience, installation of new electrical equipment, or changes in environmental, operational, or load conditions.
By imaging electrical cabinets, hot spots are found at loose connections, worn contactors and overloads, inductive heating and other components giving off excess heat caused by increased resistance. The increased heat indicates degradation that is leading to failure.
Mechanical inspection – imaging mechanical equipment such as a rotary screw air compressor allows for identifying component wear, excessive friction, misalignment, grease/lubrication issues and cooling system operation.
Vibration Tracking and Analysis
Rotating equipment will vibrate in normal operating conditions. However, as components such as gears and bearings age and wear, the nature and amplitude of the vibration will change. Misalignment of motor and pump components can also result in excessive vibration. By measuring, recording and trending the vibration on a piece of equipment, we can identify issues PRIOR to failure and take steps to address. IAC uses the TRENDTRACKERTM System to track and analyze vibration on air compressors, helping to mitigate costly and unexpected repairs.
Used in Regenerative Air Dryers as an adsorbent material, desiccant will lose its ability to provide the desired dew point over time. Since the use of a desiccant dryer alone indicates the need for particular compressed air quality, having effective desiccant is important. When a degradation in dew point occurs, testing the desiccant can provide confidence that the cause is related to the condition of the material, rather than other causes. This can save the user the cost, which can be significant, of changing out desiccant prematurely, or provide validation on the need to go ahead and change it.