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Monitoring

Alarming
Wear Metals

Table Of Contents

WhatAlarmLevelsMeanforMachineWear ............................................................................................................................................. 3
UnderstandingAlarmLevels ....................................................................................................................................................................... 4
BlendingTheTechniques ............................................................................................................................................................................ 7
AboutTESTOIL............................................................................................................................................................................................. 8
ContactUs................................................................................................................................................................................................... 8

What Alarm Levels Mean for Machine Wear

Whileitiscertainlytruethat
maintainingahealthy,cleanlubricant
willminimizemachinewear,thereare
stillmanywearmodesthatcanarisein
spiteoftheseeffortsmisalignment,
imbalance,overloading,improper
installation,fatigue,andthelistgoes
on.Abnormalwear,forwhatever
reason,happensmoreoftenthanwe
liketothinkabout.Therefore,itis
essentialtohaveastrategyinplaceto
monitormachinewear.

Inoilanalysiswellplacedalarmsandlimits
areliketripwiresalertingoperatorsand
technicianstoathreateningcondition.

Oilanalysisremainsthebesttoolfor
earlydetectionofwearproblems.
Wearmetallevelsdetectedusing
spectroscopywillbegintorisewell
beforethemachineexhibitssymptoms
intheformofvibration,temperature,
ornoise.Asweseeincreasinglevels
weneedtodetermineanappropriate
alarmleveltoalertusofapotential
problem.However,itisverydifficult
todeterminewhatalarmstosetfor
wearmetallevelsparticularlyin
industrialapplicationswhere
equipmentcategories,suchas
gearboxes,aresogeneral.

Doyouknowhowmuchironistoo
muchinagearbox?Considerhow
manydifferentsizes,types,loads,
environments,andapplicationscould
beincludedinthatquestion.Nowadd
themanylubricationsystemsand
lubricanttypesthatareinuse.This
simplequestionbecomesmuchmore
complicated.Doesitseemrealistic

thattherecouldbeagoodanswerto
suchaquestion?Probablynot.Yetin
mostcases,thisisexactlythetypeof
questionthatweareaskingeachtime
wetakeanoilsample.Ifweexpectour
oilanalysisprogramstodetect
machinewearproblemseffectively,we
needtoaskbetterquestions.

Whatwereallywanttoknowiswhatis
normal.Butfirstweneedtodefine
normal.AccordingtoWebsters
Dictionary,normalisconformingtoa
usualortypicalpattern.Nowweare
gettingsomewhere.

Nowhowcanweidentifyapatternina
broadcategorysuchasgearbox?The
answerisreallyfairlysimpleby
evaluatingasmuchdataaswepossibly
can.However,beforewegettoofar
intothis,letslookathowwearmetals
havetraditionallybeenevaluatedin
thepast.

Understanding Alarm Levels


Fixed Limits

Manyprogramshaveusedfixedlimits,
whichgivesasimplepassorfailcriteria
foreachwearmetal.Figure1isan
exampleofwhatfixedalarmsmight
looklike.

Thedrawbacktothistypeofalarming
techniqueisthatitdoesnotaccount
fordifferentcontributingfactors.
Lookingbackatourexampleof
gearboxes,therearemanysizesand
shapesofgearboxes.Somegearboxes
arelightlyloadedandhaveaconstant

Hydraulic

Gearbox

DieselEngine

GasolineEngine

Transmission

Differential

Iron

75

300

150

150

300

1000

Chromium

N/A

25

25

10

N/A

Lead

20

N/A

50

150

50

N/A

Copper

75

250

50

75

400

250

Tin

10

250

25

40

20

250

Aluminum

25

250

30

40

50

250

Nickel

N/A

10

15

20

N/A

Figure1|Anexampleoffixedalarms

speed,whichwouldlenditselftoalow
wearrate.Suchagearboxmightbein
serioustroubleiftheironlevelwereto
reach200ppm.Ontheothersideof
thespectrum,youmayhavealow
speed,reversing,heavilyloaded
gearboxthathasneverhadlessthan
500ppmofironinitsoil.

Thelubricationmethodcanhavea
largeimpactonwearmetallevelsas
well.Manygearboxesaresplash
lubricatedwithsmalloillevelsystems.

Thissituationwouldrevealasteady
increaseinwearmetallevelsand
causeafalsepositivereadingwhenthe
levelbroachesthefixedalarm.Other
gearboxesmightbelubricatedbya
filteredcirculatingsystem,wherewear
particlesareremovedbyfiltrationas
rapidlyastheyaregenerated.Inthis
case,thewearmetaltrendwouldbe
flat,andasignificantchangecould
occurwithoutsurpassingthefixed
alarm.Suchanexceptionwouldlikely
bemissedbyafixedlimitsystem.

Understanding Alarm Levels


Trend Analysis

Trendanalysisallowsthedevelopment
ofapatternofbehaviorforaparticular
unit.Ifthesamplingtechniqueand
intervalsareconsistent,regular
monitoringofthewearmetallevels
willalsohighlightthechangesinthe
wearrate.Thishelpstoaccountfor
manyofthevariableswithinthe
equipmentgroup.Anuncharacteristic
increaseiniron,asseeninFigure2,
wouldindicateachangeinthewear
rate.

Figure2|Anexampleoffixedalarms.

Thisgraphrepresentstheamountofiron
presentinagivensample.Theyellowline
representsthemarginal,therediscritical
andtheblueshowstherisinglevelofiron
overaperiodoftime.

Manytechniquescanbeappliedto
evaluatingtrenddata,suchas
averages,standarddeviations,and
linearregression.Allareintendedto
identifyaconditionthat
isnotnormalinrelationtothe
machinespastbehavior.Whatis
missinghereisidentifyingwhatis
normalforthatmachinetype.Isit
normalforagearboxtogeneratethis
levelofiron?

100

80

60

40

20

0
10/01/12

11/02/12

12/07/12

01/05/13

Understanding Alarm Levels

Family Analysis

Familyanalysisisatechniquethat
comparesthewearmetallevelsof
groupsofsimilaroridentical
equipmenttoidentifywhatisausual
ortypicalpattern.

Equipmentisgroupedtogetherby
family.Afamilymayconsistof
identicalequipmentlocatedinmany
plants,suchasGEFrame7turbinesin
manypowerplantsacrossthecountry.
Youmightalsogroupequipment
togetherbasedonload,size,
lubricationtype,andoperating
parameters,suchasagroupof
agitatorsatachemicalplant.Thewear
metaldataisthenevaluatedasa
whole.Thedataforeachmachineis
thencomparedtothefamilyto
evaluateitswearrate.

Asanexample,letssaythatwehavea
familyof50motorbearingsatasteel
mill.Theaveragetinreadingis7ppm

with90%ofthebearingsreadingless
than10ppm.Itwouldthenbesafeto
assumethatitisnormalforthese
bearingstohavelessthan10ppmtin
intheiroil.Ifoneofthebearingswere
foundtohave35ppmoftin,itwould
besafetosaythatitswearrateis
abnormal.Aneffortcouldthenbe
initiatedtodeterminethecauseofthe
higherwearrateandcorrectthe
problem.Theproblemcouldbe
detected,identified,andresolved
beforeanydamageoccurs.Ultimately,
thisefforthelpedtoavoidpremature
failureandanycostthatmighthave
beenincurredifthebearinghadtobe
replaced.

Familyanalysistechniquescanhavea
significantimpactonbothlargeand
smallprograms.Alargecompanycould
usesuchaprogramtomonitorlarge
fleetsofsimilarequipmentamong
theirplants,aswellastobenchmark

performanceofindividualplants.
Companieswithlessequipmentcan
comparetheirwearratesto
equipmentinmanyotherplantsand
takeadvantageofthelab'svast
databaseofequipmentdata.

Blending The Techniques


echniques

Realistically,theidealanalysisprogram
blendsthethreealarmingtechniques
thatwehavediscussed.However,you
canseehowcumbersomeapplyingthe
dataevaluationprocesstoeverywear
metalforeverymachinetestedina
programcouldbe.Withcomputers,
youcanautomatethisprocesssothat
eachparameterisevaluatedusing
numeroustechniquesandthebest
possibleanalysisisobtained.

Computersarenowcapableofusing
statisticalcalculations,database
mining,andarulebasedknowledge
hierarchytocomparethetestdatato
fixedlimits,trendanalysis,andfamily
analysistoselectthemostappropriate
evaluationforeachapplication.Itis
possiblethatforonespecificsample,
thelimitschemescanvarydepending
oninformationavailable,asdiagramed
inthedecisiontreeinFigure3.For
example,theremaybeacustomer
limitonwatercontent,familylimit

(machine)foriron,familylimit(fluid)
forIRoxidation,individualmachine
limitforcopper,andempiricallimiton
particlecounts.Inotherwords,
differentparametersmaybealarmed
withdifferenttechniques.

Arecustomer
specificlimits
available?

No

Arefamily
statisticallimits
availableand
valid?

No

Yes

No
Yes

Family
statisticallimits
used

Areindividual
statistical
machinelimits
available?

Equipment/
Fluidspecific
limitsused

Figure3|Alarmingselectiondecisiontree

Customer
specificlimits
used

Yes

Individualstatistical
machinelimitsused

About TESTOIL

TESTOILisafullserviceoiltesting
laboratoryownedbyInsightServices.Since
1988thelaboratoryhasbeenprovidingfast
andreliableoilanalysisresultsacrossall
industriesthroughouttheAmericas.

Thefirmscomprehensiverangeofoil
analysisservicesassistsreliabilityengineers
withconditionmonitoringandidentification
ofmachinewear.

TESTOILemploysasophisticateddiagnostic
technologythatassiststheirMachine
ConditionAnalystsinmakingequipment
andlubricationconditionassessments.

ContactUs
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info@testoil.com
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