Case Study: Eastpoint Reliability

Always-pn, batteryless machine health monitoring enables vibration analyst to add customer value, increase revenue

“I wish I had wireless set up a
year before the pandemic
and I would have been in
fantastic shape. There would
have been no interruptions.”

Background

For a vibration analyst, the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting on machine health can be time consuming. Hours spent traveling and manually gathering and analyzing data can significantly limit the amount of customer sites a vibration analyst can service in a given day.

However, when Rob, a vibration consultant, was driving to a customer site and heard a podcast about Everactive’s batteryless sensors, everything changed.

Manual Data Collection & Analysis

For Rob, a typical day begins with driving to a customer facility or in some cases, traveling across the country to visit a customer site. Once at the customer site, Rob will begin route-based manual data collection. This involves walking around the plant, manually placing a sensor on running equipment and storing the data in his portable vibration analyzer to be reviewed and analyzed later back in the office. This may require special work permits, fall-protection personal protective equipment (PPE) for working at heights, or other precautionary measures to comply with a customer’s policies. The data collection process takes approximately five hours but can take as long as eight hours or more depending on the customer and its needs.

If a site has machines to be monitored that are not already running, waiting for the appropriate personnel to get those machines up and running for data collection can add time to the day. However, it is not always easy to switch over machines, so Rob may collect data on half of the machines at a facility one day and return later that month to collect data on the other half of machines.

After collecting data, Rob then travels back to his office (or home, now with the pandemic) to manually analyze the data, which can at times take just as long as the data collection process. Rob diagnoses any machine issues such as unbalance conditions, misalignment, mechanical looseness, rolling element bearing defects, gear mesh issues, etc. Once problems are identified and the analysis is completed, Rob writes his report with specific recommendations and corrective measures for the customer to carry out.

Given the time-consuming nature of manually collecting and processing data, Rob estimates that at best, he may be able to visit two customer facilities per day, but in some cases, larger customers require two or more days to collect all of the data.

A Turning Point

One experience in particular led Rob to begin seeking out new technologies to augment his customer service. At a consumer packaged goods site, he had completed routine data collection on a trim-waste fan that was on top of an air handler approximately 16 feet high. The machine was difficult to access, but all data looked good at the time of inspection. Two weeks later, the fan housing was blown apart. Upon investigation, a piece of solid material had made its way through the ductwork and impacted the fan blades, damaging them. With no monitoring on that machine, and no one checking that space for several days, the damaged fan blades caused excessive vibration and eventually broke apart, destroying the fan housing and causing downtime.

And when the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything came to a halt and facilities did not want contractors onsite. The need for remote, always-on monitoring became more important than ever.

“I wish I had wireless set up a year before the pandemic and I would have been in fantastic shape. There would have been no interruptions and I could have been at my home office watching the data, without going onsite, and could let the facility manager know if the data showed an issue.”

Everactive Machine Health Monitoring

When Rob heard about Everactive on the Rooted in Reliability podcast, the batteryless feature intrigued him because in his view, scaling sensors just meant another task of changing thousands of batteries. Additionally, every second that a battery is dead, means no machine data and conditions can change in that time. For Rob, batteryless removed that weak link.

“With Everactive’s Machine Health Monitoring solution, facilities that may have never had a vibration program or predictive maintenance program can now get one up and running in a day.”

“If I’m going to monitor equipment in a difficult to access area, and now I don’t have to worry about battery power and connectivity, and if it’s going to be continuously gathering data, that is a game changer. That’s what sets Everactive apart, because now you can take this solution and put it on the top of the highest crane you can think of, or some remote dangerous area that’s difficult to get to that would require extensive safety measures, and now you’re connected all the time and you don’t ever have to go back.”

Everactive’s Machine Health Monitoring (MHM) solution provides overall vibration levels and alarms once per minute through its Eversensors, which are powered exclusively from low levels of harvested energy. Without requiring any upfront capital expenditure or ongoing battery maintenance, Everactive provides a data-rich continuous monitoring service for all machines, regardless of size, at a cost-e ective annual rate.

“It is becoming much less attractive to have a specialist come onsite to physically walk around and give you that once-a-month snapshot of what’s going on. With Everactive’s Machine Health Monitoring solution, facilities that may have never had a vibration program or predictive maintenance program can now get one up and running in a day.”

An Evolving Industry

While some in Rob’s industry are resistant to implementing technology to augment data collection and analysis, Rob sees it as an opportunity to grow his business, add more customers and increase revenue.

“With Everactive, you can leverage this technology, set up sensors in a facility, and it can help prevent downtime and drive reliability.”

“Aside from machine health monitoring, everything is connected today. If you own a business or manage a facility and you’re not connected to operations when you’re physically not there, you’re way behind and you’ll be beat by your competitors that are virtually connected to everything happening with business all the time.”

Success

With Everactive batteryless sensors in place, Rob is able to move away from the routine data collection and only physically go see customers when there’s something in the data that warrants a site visit. By having the real-time data on hand, Rob is able to gather the appropriate tools or consider a solution prior to the visit. Ultimately, Rob can now focus more on resolving issues for the customer.

“With Everactive, you can leverage this technology, set up sensors in a facility, and it can help prevent downtime and drive reliability. Providing customers with this service builds trust in your customers knowing that you want to prevent failures.”