Maturity Matrix – Tools
Change Is Hard, but It Is Necessary
If you are anything like me, you probably do not like change. In fact, you might loathe it. I can think of several times in my life that I chose to stick with what was familiar instead of choosing what was smart. For example, when I got my first beat-up car, my parents always told me to make sure I consistently change the oil. Being a teenager at the time, I did not want to spend money if I did not need to, so I figured the more logical thing to do was use the oil until a problem appeared. I was wrong, and now I had to take my car into the shop. The repairs for my car cost far more than the multiple oil changes that I skipped would have, so in the end, I lost out on a lot more money. When I look back at times like this, I realize that I should have listened to my parents and prevented the problem from occurring in the first place.
This example will resonate with a lot of people because the message is the same no matter the circumstance – having a well-established preventative maintenance procedure is critical to maintaining healthy assets. Are you nervous about your car breaking down like mine? Be proactive and take the proper steps of preventative maintenance to ensure you are keeping the engine healthy. Are you worried about your teeth falling out? Brush and floss twice a day and be sure to rinse with mouthwash! The point is if you do not address these problems now, they do not just go away – they get much worse
Are You Carefully Protecting Your Assets?
Using ultrasonic technology as part of a preventative maintenance program is not new. In fact, it has been around for several decades, but there still seems to be hesitation for a lot of facilities to make the change. The same logic applies – why change what has been working? I do not want to deal with this right now, and it will take too long to adapt to a new process. Well, the simple answer is because your process can always improve, and you might not be aware of just how much time or money you are losing right now.
Ultrasonic technology can be used as an extremely valuable and versatile tool in your facility – from pinpointing compressed air and gas leaks, steam trap inspections, electrical inspections, bearing condition monitoring, remote monitoring, and much more. If you take full advantage of these ultrasonic tools, you will notice instant savings, higher efficiency with facility equipment, and less unexpected downtime to fix machinery.
Using Ultrasound for Compressed Air and Gas Leak Detection
Did you know that compressed air experts say that as much as 30% of all compressed air generated is lost due to gas leaks? Talk about expensive! This means that unless you have an efficient preventative maintenance procedure in place, chances are you are throwing away money. Ultrasound equipment can help you find and pinpoint the exact location of air and gas leaks that will put money back where it belongs – into your pocket!
Why You Need to Regularly Facilitate Steam Trap Inspections
Approximately 20% of steam leaving a central boiler plant is lost via leaking steam traps in a typical heating system without a proactive assessment procedure in place. Much like compressed air and gas leaks, that is a high number that could be costing your facility thousands of dollars each year. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, if you have gone 5 years without taking a close look at your steam traps, as many as 50% of your steam traps could be in a failed condition without you even knowing, resulting in that 20% loss being even higher! Therefore, it is so important to regularly check your steam traps to ensure they are running efficiently, and it is also why ultrasound needs to be your best friend instead of your enemy – ultrasound will help you catch this before it becomes a catastrophic concern.
Electrical Inspection Does Not Have to Be a Pain
Utilizing airborne ultrasound is a great tool to add to your arsenal because it can be used to detect early signs of electrical faults such as corona, tracking, and arcing. You can use an ultrasonic instrument to scan enclosed electrical gear prior to opening for further inspection and strategically gather readings and sound recordings of electrical inspection that you could not possibly obtain with your eyes or ears. After you have gathered that information, ultrasonic spectral analysis software can help identify sound patterns related to electrical emissions and provide you with a course of action to take.
Set it and Forget it with Bearing Condition Monitoring
Bearing condition monitoring with ultrasound has become widely used and accepted by analysts across many industries, and many are using structure borne ultrasound as a first line of defense for bearing condition monitoring. Why? Because most bearings fail prematurely due to lubrication related issues such as over and under lubricating, and ultrasound helps precisely monitor that. Ultrasound can tell you exactly what you need to know when determining how a bearing is performing
In addition to traditional bearing condition monitoring methods, you also have the option of remote condition monitoring. This makes it even easier to routinely check your bearings because it does all the work for you. There are so many different options out there that can fit your facility perfectly that there is no reason not to take advantage of them!
In conclusion, being proactive is always going to be the better decision. While it might take a little bit of extra work in the beginning to get the processes in place, we adjust, adapt, and create habits that will save us from trouble down the road. Using ultrasound provides many benefits to any plant or facility. It is an effective, easy-to-use technology with the benefit of being able to be used for multiple applications, so I hope this will give you the motivation to take full advantage of what ultrasound has to offer!