Fluke Corporation has made available a primer on machine vibration called "Introduction to Vibration". The paper, which provides an overview of vibration basics, can be viewed online.
In recent years, machine vibration has become an important diagnostic tool in preventive maintenance for processing and production facilities. While some machines such as oscillating sanders use vibration to remove materials and finish surfaces, most industrial devices are engineered to operate smoothly and without vibration. The Fluke paper is addressed to those who work with machines that should not vibrate, such as electric motors, rotary pumps and compressors, and fans and blowers. In those cases, the presence of vibration can indicate problems or deterioration in the equipment. If the underlying causes are not corrected, the unwanted vibration itself can cause additional damage.
The Fluke paper provides plant engineers with an overview on the causes, effects, and characteristics of vibration. For example, some of the major causes of machine vibration include 1) imbalance in a rotating component, 2) misalignment of machine shafts, 3) wear in components such as ball or roller bearings, drive belts or gears, and 4) excessive looseness of component bearing or mountings.
The paper also clarifies the differences between radial and axial vibration forces and their causes, and defines the key terms necessary to an understanding of machine vibration, such as vibration amplitude, frequency and spectrum.
Left unchecked, the effects of vibration can be severe and include noise, safety problems, reduced bearing life, excessive power consumption, damaged product quality, and degradation in plant working conditions. In the worst cases, vibration can damage equipment so severely as to knock it out of service and halt plant production.
To read the paper, visit plantservices.com/.