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Handheld tester simplifies machine monitoring

12 March, 2009

SKF has developed a handheld device that measures vibration signals and temperature simultaneously to assess the condition of rotating equipment such as motors, pumps, fans, compressors and conveyors. The pocket-sized Machine Condition Advisor (MCA) allows maintenance and operations personnel to monitor machinery without needing specialist expertise.

In use, the tip of the device is pressed against the part of the machine (usually the bearing) to be checked. Once the readings (shown on a backlit LCD) stabilise, the user presses a button to hold the values, which can then be read and recorded.

The vibration signals are compared with pre-programmed ISO guidelines, while SKF’s “enveloped acceleration” technique is used to compare the readings with established bearing vibration guidelines. If the measurements exceed these guidelines, an alert or danger alarm is shown.

At the same time, the instrument’s infrared temperature sensor checks for abnormal bearing temperatures that could indicate lubrication problems.

The device, powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, measures vibration signals from 10–1,000Hz and temperatures from –20ºC to 200ºC. Its display can be switched between metric and imperial units. An optional external vibration sensor fitted with a magnet can be used in tight spaces or for hard-to-reach surfaces.

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