EMS Inc. / Alberta / Canada / Field Services / What makes a good vibration analyst?

What makes a good vibration analyst?

In an industry that has become more crowded over the past 10 years,  one of the issues that can arise is setting your self apart from other analysts or service providers.

  • Does being a dealer for a given product make an individual an expert?
  • Does representing a large international equipment manufacturer ensure that the solution will consider the entire application range that a machine is potentially required to operate in?
  • Does spending many years repairing and replacing components on recip equipment mean that there is an understanding of issues that can be synonymous with a 2 throw frame vs. a 4 or 6 throw frame?

One of the most important things to understand is what factors or changes to a system will affect vibration levels.  The knee jerk reaction to add stiffness or brace a component is not necessarily the right approach to reduce vibration levels.  One needs to understand what the forcing function of the vibration is to best understand how to reduce the vibration.

“The knee jerk reaction to add stiffness or brace a component is not necessarily the right approach to reduce vibration levels.”

There is also a common misconception that clamping or bracing a given component will just “chase” the vibration problem somewhere else on the machine.  This is directly tied to not dealing with the “forcing function” of the vibration.  In many cases there are no physical changes to the structure or supports that are necessary to get the machine to operate within acceptable vibration limits.  Also it is difficult to resist the immediate reaction to fix a clamp or support that has failed even though the current vibration levels are not too high, especially if the assessment is being made based on a fixed condition vibration snap shot.  Why did these supports or clamps fail in the first place?

We at Enhanced Maintenance Solutions Inc. pride ourselves in our understanding of recip compressor performance and vibration.  Knowing how to approach a problem without a canned solution, “let the data tell the story and then come up with a conclusion.”  Just because there are some visibly poor connections on a skid pile; does that mean they need to be connected?  When a recommendation is made to further evaluate an issue that has been uncovered, it is because providing a solution to the issue without all of the information is not the most responsible thing to do.  Maybe it is possible to solve 80% of the problems without “further evaluation”, but the remaining 20% of the problems that could be made more severe without proper analysis could prove to be catastrophic.  Being able to take that step is what sets a world class analyst apart from any of the others.

We also have developed working relationships with experts in acoustical and mechanical modelling that can take the steps necessary to come up with a solution if that is where “the data takes us.”  We have different analysis tools in our arsenal to best evaluate different issues encountered.  Our number one focus is providing a solution that is the most practical and effective to our clients and provides reliability and we put our 33 years of analysis experience to work to make that happen.


Written by Steven Pluister, R.E.T. Enhanced Maintenance Solutions Inc.

Steven is President and Co-Owner of EMS Inc. and has been in the industry for over 20 years providing vibration analysis and conditon monitoring services.