Condition Monitoring

“You can persumptiously predict the failure of an asset 50% of the time, however 100% of the time it will fail randomly.” RCM2

Condition monitoring over the years has become a field of excellence, there are those know and those that understand.  Generally speaking a skilled technician may spend 5 years just to grasp the concepts of condition monitoring.  Often, equipment is shut down or rebuilt based on a technician that feels there’s an issue, take heed and ensure the proper troubleshooting is performed on the asset prior to any unplanned outages.

Condition monitoring has taken many forms over the years, traditionally Vibration analysis has been the primary area of focus.  However as technology evolves, new forms of monitoring have emerged that are user friendly, yet still require a skilled analyst to decipher.  Ultrasound, thermography and oil analysis have been around for years, but new software and smaller handheld units have made collecting information in the field easier and safer.

Stay tuned as we touch base on each form of condition monitoring and discuss the fundamentals as well the pros and cons with each technique.

Chris Lamarche, Rotating Equipment Specialist

Belt Guide Repairs

The image above illustrated the types of problems we need to address on a daily basis, as in this specific case the conveyor belt had ripped due to the softeners completely wearing through and caused a razor edge.  Of course it caught and we had to rebuild the slides to prevent a reoccurrence.

MCC Maintenance

Maintaining you motor control centre (MCC) for dust, pests, and insects can make the service life greatly increased.  A regularly scheduled vacuum and cleaning can reduce problems when you can’t afford them.


Included in cleaning is checking for hot spots, both in the bus and contractors, heat is an early indication of a failure about to happen.  In most cases re-tightening the bolts and screws is enough to mitigate the issue, but sometimes a disassembly is needed to determine the reason for the hot spots.

As the MCC’s age, handle function starts to fail, the reset levers no longer reach, and contactors and overloads reach their life’s end.  It also a good thing in critical systems to replace these control hardware before they fail and leave the plant down.  It can take quite to planning to choose when to replace the parts, but if one type of control is failing with some consistence, it probably time to change all the similar components in the system.


Gerry Lamarche