Remote Vibration Monitoring for Hazardous Environments

Confined Space

By: Kevin Aiken, MSME- Mechanical Engineer

Do you need remote vibration monitoring? Do you have rotating equipment that is in a confined space, dangerous environment, or requires work at heights?

The answer for most industrial applications is yes. This can pose an issue for one’s reliability program and more confined vibration program.  How does one go about collecting important vibration data on pumps, motors, or fans that are out of reach due to hazardous environments, confined spaces, or height constraints?

A simple and effective solution is to add remote sensors. Permanently mounting sensors to the equipment and running cables to a safe location for collection reduces the need for special permitting, life supporting personal protective equipment, and excess equipment such as lifts or ladders.

Even with a proper maintenance schedule for equipment in these locations however, rotating equipment can become damaged. In hazardous environments, certain process conditions can increase vibration amplitudes decreasing bearing life. Cavitation and other flow related conditions have the ability to destroy equipment at an alarming rate. These can be caught with a proper vibration condition monitoring program.

One of the more common locations for remote sensors is on fin fan motors and fan bearings. These motors are normally elevated in locations where it would be hazardous to collect from a ladder. The fan bearings are typically inaccessible due to guarding. By instrumenting these inaccessible locations important bearing health data can be taken in with one’s vibration program. Having a warning or indication of a failure before it happens is important in an over reliability strategy. Remote vibration monitoring increases the chances of detecting early warning signs.

Assessing dangerous collection environments where remote vibration may increase the chances of early fault detection can be difficult. Depending on one’s vibration program and the frequency of collection Pioneer Engineering will be able to determine if remote collection is beneficial to your rotating equipment.

Remote Monitoring