How to use vibration measurements?

What vibrations can indicate and how you should use your knowledge

What can the vibrations tell me?

Vibrations are very common in most industrial environments and monitoring of vibrations is a commonly used method to detect potential faults and errors in machines, vehicles, and other valuable assets.

The process of analysing and making sense of vibrations is defined as a process for measuring the vibration levels and frequencies of the machines, vehicles, or asset that you would like to monitor. Most of these machines come with predefined values which will indicate what is considered acceptable levels of vibrations and what is considered unacceptable.

If you are interested in learning a bit more on how you actually can start measuring vibrations in your environment, do check out our article on the subject: “How to analyse vibration measurements?” 

How should I use the measurements that I have just taken?

As mentioned above, you should view vibration measurements as a way to catch faults and errors before they really cause any serious damage. 

Ultimately, using vibration analysis will help your engineers and R&D department to identify unacceptable vibration levels and identify potential failure modes early on, which will save you money by:

  • Minmise unplanned downtime by catching unacceptable vibrations early on 
  • Detect potential failure modes in future products early on and improve the product and save money on future corrective actions
  • Identify failure modes in your current operations

Can I use the same vibration analysis for all my assets, machines and vehicles?

To a certain degree, yes. But in the end, different purposes requires different approaches. 

But, as vibration measurements always start from the same foundation, i.e. measuring the vibrations and understanding the vibration spectrum. Once this is completed, you can take a look at the spectrum and start by analysing the pattern yourself to understand if the vibrations you have measured are consistent in terms of what could be expected. If you feel happy at this point, great! But, if you would like to dive a bit deeper there are numerous analysis that could be used depending on which machines, vehicles or assets that you are currently looking at. E.g. if you would be looking at bearing vibrations in rotating machinery there are well-defined analytic tools that can be used to understand if your bearing is operating as it should be or not. As an example, please take a look at the following guide from SKF concerning spectrum analysis