Condition Monitoring

How to use Condition Monitoring as a Proactive Equipment Reliability Improvement Strategy?

Condition Monitoring

Through the use of a CM spectrum, faults or problems are easily discovered.

Condition Monitoring, when used to drive reliability improvement, offers diagnostics, information and data for Root Cause Analysis and equipment redesign, along with verification of defect or design correction. Condition monitoring applied proactively is a context embracing world class reliability maintenance concepts.

A Definition of Condition Monitoring (CM): The process of systematic data collection and evaluation to identify changes in performance or condition of a system, or its components, such that remedial action may be planned in a cost-effective manner to maintain reliability.

While the basic definition of Condition Monitoring may have general application across many industries, the objectives for Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) may vary greatly.

Why would one do Condition Monitoring?

  • CM uses selected measurements to detect changes in operating conditions.

Many failure modes have measurable responses and develop over periods of time. These are the ideal applications for CBM. Sampling may be continuous, (e.g. turbo-machinery) or periodic (e.g. monthly survey on conveyor drive).

  • CM gives early warning of potential failure.

If the measured parameters are well chosen and properly measured and analysed, there will be valuable information gained for maintenance planning purposes. It is essential that what defines ‘normal’ is understood and documented so that the severity of variations can be measured.

  • CM gives information about the nature of the failure.

From this a prognosis should be able to be determined. The rate of sampling and access to maintenance history on the machine may have an influence on the quality of the final decisions made.

  • CM allows management of failure to full life potential.

Identification of a failure mode does not necessarily mean that an immediate maintenance action is needed. Just when maintenance action must be taken is the toughest part of managing a CBM programme! Your reputation may depend on it!! The best course is to involve as many informed people in the decision making process.

  • CM evaluates corrective action.

Immediately after a machine has been repaired it should be subject to condition monitoring testing. This will potentially identify assembly or installation faults that may lead to early failure (infant mortality) or affirm the quality of improvement achieved through the application of improved work practices or maintenance standards.

The most commonly used techniques of condition monitoring are;

  • Vibration Measurement and Analysis
  • Oil Condition and Wear Debris Analysis
  • Thermography
  • NDT, especially thickness testing
  • Performance trending, e.g. flow rate measurement

The developing focus is upon integrated condition monitoring giving better forecasts of remaining life. Of these, vibration is the most widely used and lends itself to detection of a wide range of faults.

Oil analysis is a particularly powerful technique for the monitoring of gearboxes and also reciprocating machinery.

The benefits of Thermography in surveys of electrical switchboards has long been recognized. It is now being used more widely for rotating equipment misalignment and wrong tolerance-and-fit problems. Operations personnel can use thermography to identify pipe blockages and sediment build-up in tanks where higher temperature fluids are involved.


7 key trends for Condition Monitoring in the 21st Century

  1. The development of smart sensors, and other low-cost on-line monitoring systems that will permit the cost-effective continuous monitoring of key equipment items
  2. The increasing provision of built-in vibration sensors as standard features in large motors, pumps, turbines and other large equipment items
  3. Increasingly sophisticated condition monitoring software, with rapidly developing “expert” diagnosis capabilities
  4. The acceptance of Condition Monitoring within the “mainstream” of Operations and Maintenance, with Production operators increasingly utilising Condition Monitoring technologies as part of their day-to-day duties
  5. Increasing integration, and acceptance of common standards for interfacing Condition Monitoring software with CMMS and Process Control software
  6. An increasing focus on the business implications and applications of Condition Monitoring technologies, leading to the utilisation of Condition Monitoring technologies to improve equipment reliability and performance, rather than to merely predict component failure.
  7. A reduction in the cost-per-point of applying Condition Monitoring technologies – possibly leading to more widespread use of these technologies.

Maintenance Holding can and will help you to achieve these goals.

Should you be interested in Condition Monitoring, please contact Maintenance Holding BV to discuss this subject for your company and arrange a no-obligation site-visit and consultation.

Call us today on +32471743456 or email