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State-of-the-Art Predictive Maintenance Techniques

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1 Author(s)
H. M. Hashemian ; AMS Corporation, AMS Technology Center, Knoxville, TN , USA

Condition-based maintenance techniques for industrial equipment and processes are described in this paper together with examples of their use and discussion of their benefits. These techniques are divided here into three categories. The first category uses signals from existing process sensors, such as resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), thermocouples, or pressure transmitters, to help verify the performance of the sensors and process-to-sensor interfaces and also to identify problems in the process. The second category depends on signals from test sensors (e.g., accelerometers) that are installed on plant equipment (e.g., rotating machinery) in order to measure such parameters as vibration amplitude. The vibration amplitude is then trended to identify the onset of degradation or failure. This second category also includes the use of wireless sensors to provide additional points for collection of data or allow plants to measure multiple parameters to cover not only vibration amplitude but also ambient temperature, pressure, humidity, etc. With each additional parameter that can be measured and correlated with equipment condition, the diagnostic capabilities of the category can increase exponentially. The first and second categories just mentioned are passive, which means that they do not involve any perturbation of the equipment or the process being monitored. In contrast, the third category is active. That is, the third category involves injecting a test signal into the equipment (sensors, cables, etc.) to measure its response and thereby diagnose its performance. For example, the response time of temperature sensors (RTDs and thermocouples) can be measured by the application of the step current signal to the sensor and analysis of the sensor response to the application of the step current. Cable anomalies can be located by a similar procedure referred to as the time domain reflectometry (TDR). This test involves a signal that is sent through the cable to the - - end device. Its reflection is then recorded and compared to a baseline to identify impedance changes along the cable and thereby identify and locate anomalies. Combined with measurement of cable inductance (L), capacitance (C), and loop resistance (R), or LCR testing, the TDR method can identify and locate anomalies along a cable, identify moisture in a cable or end device, and even reveal gross problems in the cable insulation material. There are also frequency domain reflectometry (FDR) methods, reverse TDR, trending of insulation resistance (IR) measurement, and other techniques which can be used in addition to or instead of TDR and LCR to provide a wide spectrum of tools for cable condition monitoring. The three categories of techniques described in this paper are the subject of current research and development projects conducted by the author and his colleagues at the AMS Corporation with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 1 )