Machine Failures and Condition Monitoring – Selecting Sensors

In previous blogs, we discussed the different types of machine failures and their implications for different maintenance approaches, the cost-benefit tradeoffs of these maintenance approaches, and the progression of machine failures and indicators that emerge at various failure phases. We now will connect the different failure indicators to the sensors which can detect them.

The Potential – Functional Failure (P-F) curve gives a rough picture of when various indicators may emerge during the progression of a failure:

Each indicator can be detected by one or more types of sensors. Selection of the “best” sensor will depend on the machine/asset being monitored, other attributes being sensed, budget/cost-benefit tradeoff, and the maintenance approach. In some cases, a single-purpose, dedicated condition-monitoring sensor may be the right choice. In other cases, a multi-function sensor (“Smart Automation and Monitoring System sensor”) which can handle both condition monitoring and standard sensing tasks may be an elegant and cost-effective solution.

The table below gives some guidance to possible single- and multi-function sensors which can address the various indicators:

* Condition monitoring sensors are specialized sensors that can often detect multiple indicators including vibration, temperature, humidity, and ambient pressure.

# Smart Automation and Monitoring System sensors add condition monitoring sensing, such as vibration and temperature, to their standard sensing functions, such as photoelectric, inductive, or capacitive sensing

There is a wide range of sensors that can provide the information needed for condition monitoring indication. The table above can provide some guidance, selecting the best fit requires an evaluation of the application, the costs/benefits, and fit with the maintenance strategy.