Introduced in June 2010, the VibXpert II (VXP II) has many different uses and functions. The primary use is to extend the lifespan of equipment within a plant or facility using vibration signatures. One of its many applications is detecting bearing faults, either early or pre-existing within the machinery. It can also detect cavitation within pumps.

Cavitation is a destructive condition that can destroy the inside of a pump before you even realize it is occurring. Early detection can minimize damage, reduce downtime, and save money. Cavitation involves the creation of bubbles formed when the fluid being pumped vaporizes due to a decrease in pressure as the fluid enters the pump. These bubbles are then acted on by the pump impeller, causing them to implode.

Gulf Chemical & Metallurgical Corporation (Freeport, Texas), a subsidiary of the Eramet Group, is a recycler of spent petroleum catalysts and a leading producer of ferroalloys. The company applies hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical operations to recover molybdenum, vanadium, nickel and cobalt for reuse by major catalyst producers and steel manufacturers. Embarking on the road to improved equipment reliability represents a key aspect of a concerted strategic initiative for Gulf Chemical. The introduction of wireless technology and additional support has yielded successful outcomes for its facility.

With the old mechanical displacers, level fluctuations ran 4-in to 5-in with a lot of hysteresis and frequent failures, causing operators to control at much higher levels than were optimal. New magnetic technology is changing all that. Here's how.

One of the major contributors to unbalance in rotating machinery is eccentricity. When we disassemble parts, we must also reassemble them. Even if the reassembly requires heating to shrink-fit the elements back together, we probably balanced them in a balancing machine where tolerances due to fit-up on mandrels or roundness of journals may possibly far exceed the heavy spot tolerances that the target standard of balance allows.

Over the past 50 years, advances in technology have provided the primary thrust behind the success and evolution of variable-speed drive systems. Here are some considerations for the proper selection and set up of different types of systems, and what lies ahead in the future.

Back in the old days, level control had little or nothing to do with saving energy. In fact, it was often a necessary evil. Today, that is no longer true - the VFD offers the potential for power savings in lift station applications that range from a few hundred gallons per minute to those that have to move thousands of gallons each minute.

What Are Your Vibration Monitoring Goals?

Identifying goals before starting is key to designing a process tailored to specific needs. What are you hoping to accomplish by monitoring vibration? How would you like to acquire data? What are you going to do with the data? These important questions should be addressed before moving forward.

Under an Energy Conservation Performance Program, Miami-Dade County commissioned a study to evaluate potential capital improvement projects fully funded from the projected savings in energy consumption and/or operating and maintenance costs. Through this program, the cost of new equipment is financed through energy and/or other realized operational cost savings. The capital funding otherwise required to replace existing mechanical systems is avoided, and those funds can then become available for other County needs.

Joseph Gallo Farms in Atwater, Calif., uses captured methane gas from its 5,000 dairy cows to run up to 50 percent of the electricity for its cheese factory.

This municipal water system evaluated the cost of upgrading their existing SCADA software and decided it was time to consider replacements. After much research, it became clear that not only was it possible to get all the features they were missing; they could also do most of the configuration in-house.

Released in January 2010, the SDT270 Ultrasonic Detector, in conjunction with its powerful database software, gives the earliest indication of bearing re-lubrication requirements, bearing failure, and pump cavitation.

Identifying the source of vibration by following the amplitude: the case of a company that thought the problem was a pump impeller, but, in fact, the problem was over 15-ft away and not a pump at all.

Dynamic pressure sensors and accelerometers are frequently used for precision measurements in oil, gas and petrochemical industries, as well as for natural gas supply monitoring applications. The development of piezoelectric sensor technology with integral charge amplifier, as well as the development of high temperature charge output designs, has been especially important for dynamic sensing applications. To truly understand the benefits of this technology, one must first review the evolution of this type of sensing.

Wireless technology is part of our everyday lives in the home and office. From garage door openers and television remote controls, to cellular telephones and wireless Internet access, radio frequency (RF) technology has been accepted as a reliable, efficient and easy-to-use medium.

With the wide use of variable frequency drives in the pump industry and increasing unit size, it is becoming more difficult to design mechanical systems free from natural frequencies within operating speed range. If such an occurrence is allowed in the field, a resulting resonance condition threatens to significantly impact performance and longevity of the equipment.

The DelMonte vegetable processing facility in Crystal City, Texas, is a cannery for spinach, carrots and beets. Located 40 miles from the Mexican border, the plant has been in operation since World War II. The facility's capacity for canned spinach currently approaches 800,000 cans per day, so it needs dependable equipment.

Few would dispute that variable frequency drives (VFDs) save energy, but the exact amount depends on the system. Hydraulically speaking, the main difference between a variable frequency (speed) drive and a discharge valve is that a VFD only changes a pump curve, while a valve only changes a system curve. A pump operates at the intersection between its H-Q curve and a system curve, and a change in either moves the operating point to a new intersection.

For controller-to-controller coordination, wireless Bluetooth is an excellent alternative to Class 3 radios.

Why is "run to fail" a common operational strategy at water/wastewater organizations? Explore this phenomenon and other results from a maintenance methodology survey.