Thorough Machine Inspections is Critical Before Start Up

Initial Machinery Inspection prior to any start up it is important to validate/identify simple items such as loose bolting, cracked welds, improperly greased bearings, clearances issues between rotors and housings, pipe strain, the rotor statics indicating an unbalance condition, sheave and coupling alignment issues and other simple checks. We are only human so it is only normal that mistakes happen but an initial inspection can find the simplest problems that can quickly turn catastrophic and costly upon start up.

Every time we are called out to conduct a vibration analysis, field rotor balancing or one of our other services, we always conduct a full machine inspection using all of our senses. There are too many opportunities for mistakes to occur in any maintenance procedure such as machinery repairs, installations, preventive maintenance tasks and just normal operations. These inspections are intended to get another set of eyes, hands, ears and nose combing the machine and even the plant to identify anything out of place. Invariably our inspections find an issue the client never noticed even though they already conducted the same check. We have learned that we must not take anyone else’s word and we must inspect every item with our own eyes. Although we are predictive maintenance experts, our personnel can often predict what their vibration spectra will look like even before they take it solely based on their inspection.

We find reassembled fans where the fan rubs the housing or even worst can not even spin which no one would notice unless they put their hands on it. Unfortunately most maintenance staffs have been cut so deeply that personnel need to run from job to job and are not afforded the time to check their or others work. Many downsized staffs use outside contractors to supplement their staff but these problems persist even with them.

Once the unit is started, the problems become obvious but often the staff has moved to the next job so we are called to resolve the vibration issue. Half the time these calls are easily fixed but the other half result in rework for the staff or us when the staff is occupied.

Although no one has any time any more, it is our experience that you can save yourself a tremendous amount of time and money by taking the time to thoroughly inspect your machinery on a regular basis and especially before any repair or new installation start up.

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