Friction and lubrication under control: fan in a chemical plant

 Equipment, plant overview, Context

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The Chemical site is a Phosphoric Acid Plant operating 24 Hours 7 days a week, established for many years in Africa. The Equipment in question is a large mixer involved in the acid production and a very large fan for production air treatment.

Routine measurement performed with portable data collector indicated friction on both of these machines bearings. Cage frequency issues were detected, indicating higher than normal levels of friction. These raised levels would not warrant an immediate replacement but the next planned shutdown was in 10 months time.

I-Care suggested the installation of Wi-care wireless vibration/temperature monitoring system and the analysis/trending by its remote team to ensure no premature escalation in the evolution of the defect.

Wi-care case study chemistry - fan 2-picture 1

The Wi-care system is set up with two sensors, one on the bearing supporting the coupling disc and one on the fan bearing wheel side.
Displayed below is the standard spectrum collected with the Wi-care wireless monitoring system on vertical direction on fan bearing. Display in acceleration unit G PK.
The spectrum shows a random noise vibration indicating friction inside the bearing. Some peaks (including the dominant one at 375 Hz) are related to ball frequency. The level of friction is low (3 times lower than 6 months before).


Wi-care data from May 2014.

Wi-care case study chemistry - fan 2-picture 3

Below is the spectrum in acceleration and analysis collected and analysed 6 months prior (at the time the friction issue was discovered). Levels of friction in the spectrum are high. Following on from this measurement it was decided to regrease the bearing and to install a Wi-care wireless sensor to follow the evolution of bearing friction.

Portable analyzer data collection- October 2013

Wi-care case study chemistry - fan 2-picture3

Analyst observations : 

Similar spectrum behavior in 2014 with Wi-care and in 2013 with portable collector although the level of friction has been divided by 3 by improved lubrication monitoring.

The friction issue is easily identified with the portable data collector and the Wi-care wireless (even though the levels are 3 times lower after lubrication.) The close trending of bearing lubrication (greasing) based on Wi-care monitoring vastly reduced the level of vibration and ensured a much more effective trending of the friction issue.

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