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Facts At Your Fingertips: Predictive Maintenance Methods

By Scott Jenkins, Chemical Engineering magazine |

Predictive maintenance (PdM) programs can provide advanced warning of equipment problems and potential failures. This one-page reference provides brief descriptions of six common predictive maintenance methods. Infrared thermography Continuous monitoring of equipment temperature over time has the potential to identify both normal and abnormal temperature profiles. Running equipment at elevated temperatures diminishes lifetime, and is an early symptom of equipment damage or malfunction. For example, heat generated from friction in mechanical equipment or heat from electrical resistance in electrical components can be precursors to larger problems. Infrared (IR) thermography instruments use a special camera to detect IR electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from equipment surfaces. Higher-temperature areas emit more IR radiation. A lens in the camera focuses the IR radiation onto a thermal sensor. Different pixel configurations in the sensor determine the resolution of the camera. The IR energy is converted into a visual image in which pixels are color-coded according to temperature, and a “heat map” of the object is generated (Figure 1). IR thermography can be used to monitor bearing temperature, identify deteriorating or…
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