If your plant relies on a lot of industrial gas equipment, you know that equipment malfunctions can lead to significant financial losses and operational disruptions that you’d rather avoid. And the single most effective practice you can commit to is implementing predictive maintenance techniques.
Predictive maintenance is invaluable when it comes to improving the longevity and performance of your industrial gas equipment. Quite literally, it involves using data analytics and advanced sensors to predict when maintenance is required, instead of relying on scheduled maintenance or waiting for a breakdown to occur. By monitoring the equipment in real-time, early detection of any issues or anomalies can be made, allowing for maintenance to be performed before equipment fails. This significantly reduces downtime and repair costs, which makes it the kind of proactive, cost-effective solution that is a priority of many leaders in the manufacturing industry.
But how exactly do predictive maintenance techniques work? Here is an overview of 7 techniques that are commonly used and highly effective to improve the longevity and performance of industrial gas equipment:
- Vibration analysis: This technique involves monitoring the vibration patterns of rotating equipment like pumps, motors, and compressors. Anomalies in vibration patterns can be detected early, allowing for maintenance to be scheduled before a failure occurs.
- Oil analysis: By analyzing the condition of lubrication oils in equipment such as engines and gearboxes, potential issues such as excessive wear or contamination can be detected early, and solved. Once again this makes for much lower repair bills!
- Thermography: Using infrared cameras, thermography is the science of detecting changes in temperature, identifying hot spots in electrical equipment or leaks in pipes that can indicate potential problems.
- Ultrasonic testing: This technique uses high-frequency sound waves to detect flaws or defects in materials such as tanks or pipes. It can be used to detect potential problems like cracks or leaks.
- Motor current analysis: Monitoring the current drawn by electric motors can indicate the condition of the motor (or automobile equipment). Setting this up as a data point is proving effective for many manufacturing applications.
- Spectroscopy: A predictive maintenance technique that involves analyzing the light emitted or absorbed by materials, which indicates the presence of certain chemicals or contaminants. It can be used to detect potential problems such as corrosion or contamination.
- Acoustic emissions: This technique involves using sensors to detect high-frequency sound waves produced by equipment, such as pumps or bearings. Anomalies in the acoustic emissions can be detected early, indicating potential problems.
It’s important to note that predictive maintenance is different from preventive and corrective maintenance. While preventive maintenance consists of inspecting machinery from time to time or doing so when a symptom is detected, corrective maintenance is executed when a failure has already occurred and the damaged equipment needs to be repaired. Predictive maintenance, on the other hand, is a data-driven, proactive maintenance method designed to analyze the condition of equipment on an ongoing basis and foresee potential failures. Beyond reduced costs, increased productivity, and improved safety for workers, predictive maintenance can provide insights into equipment performance, leading to optimization of operations, improved energy efficiency, reduced emissions, and increased production capacity.
Predictive maintenance techniques are a key component of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which employs data analytics to forecast system breakdowns. As IIoT continues to advance, predictive maintenance techniques are becoming increasingly mainstream with businesses that rely on industrial gas equipment.
Remember, while the techniques we’ve outlined here are common and effective, the practices that will work for your factory will depend on your specifications and must be determined in a professional consultation. If you have any questions or concerns about the maintenance of your industrial gas equipment, please reach out to our team. Whether you need help developing a maintenance plan or scheduling routine maintenance, we’re here to help you keep your equipment operating at peak performance. Contact us today via our contact page to learn more!