Tests of a new high-speed centrifugal pump showed it to run at a higher temperature than the original concept. However, full vibration analysis identified the problem, as a result of which major savings could be passed on to the customer.
When a manufacturer of centrifugal pumps for water-treatment applications was developing a new high-speed design, it could not understand why test-rig trials indicated a higher running temperature than the original concept. Duly concerned, the company contacted NSK, which sent an AIP (Added Value Programme) expert to the company´s site in France to perform a full vibration analysis. The investigation, which was carried out as part of its Condition Monitoring Service (CMS) that analyses the health of bearings and associated components, saved the customer €34,500. CMS is a method to determine the condition of a machin´s internal components, such as bearings and gears, while the machine remains operating.
The process comprises an initial survey using a scoring system to assess each machine and its suitability for CMS. Modelling the machinery or system on analysis software then takes place to determine the optimum monitoring points. One-off or periodic analysis is subsequently performed, followed by data evaluation and reporting.
Lubrication issue At the pump manufacturer, CMS identified that the bearings on the prototype pump were actually in optimum condition with no reportable issues. However, vibration analysis revealed that the origin of the unexplained temperature increase could in fact be attributed to a lubrication issue. This helped the customer to progress the project, using a new lubrication method for high-speed applications.
As part of the value proposal from NSK, the condition monitoring review undertaken at the customer´s site included all technical data, measurement conditions and explanations of spectrum analysis. At the fixed trial running speed, it could be seen that the temperature started to increase rapidly, highlighting the potential lubrication issue.
This live assessment of a machine´s condition and health while it is still in operation enables NSK´s experts to predict the life of critical components, allowing the customer to better plan maintenance schedules. CMS is the most sensitive and comprehensive method of detecting the early signs of wear and associated issues.
At the centrifugal pump manufacturer, the CMS saved around six months of R&D costs, as well as test rig running costs, a sum calculated to be €34,500. "The performance of the vibration analysis combined with the skills of NSK´s experts has led to an immediate and significant gain in a stalled development project”, says Mathieu Piquemal, NSK´s AIP & South Europe services manager, European Industrial Business Unit. “Speed-to-market is essential for OEMs today, where designers and R&D engineers are under intense pressure to deliver next-generation solutions to a demanding customer base,” adds Mr Piquemal, who is also a MIBoC ISO18436-2 certified vibration analyst.
Cost savings Along with operational costs savings and performance improvements, NSK provides the assurance that, as a full range supplier, it can help with the provision of critical bearing and linear motion spares if required.