Must Haves for Every Monitoring and Diagnostic System

Processor Performance

Reliable monitoring of complex production assets not only requires precise analyses and intelligent algorithms, but also powerful processing hardware. Your hardware must satisfy the demands of multiple sensors permanently acquiring data for processing a high number of analyses at different spectrum frequencies in real-time.

The Challenge of Planetary Gearboxes

Some extruder gearboxes are planetary gearboxes. This type of gearbox is driven by one motor: turning the sun gear through several stages of gear reduction. For monitoring and diagnostics, this gearbox requires special handling.

Component Centric Visualization

Monitoring complex machinery with many components in the smallest spaces requires understandable and meaningful visualization. On a gear­box, you need a comprehensible ma­chine sketch that displays all monitored components, such as bearings, shafts, and gears. This allows you to identify bad-acting components at a glance without wasting time checking data of properly operating machine parts.

Field Experience

A reliable, full-featured monitoring system requires a solid number of installations and many years of field experience. No amount of “laboratory“ testing can duplicate the conditions of one actual operating environment -much less the characteristics of many different operating environments over extended periods of time. What assurance do you have that your monitoring system will perform as promised? How confident are you in the accuracy of the diagnoses your system generates.

Life Cycle Partnership

No monitoring system user should be left alone. The importance and com­plexity of a full-function monitoring system require ongoing support from your vendor so you can exploit the full benefits of the system

Monitoring System Independence

Your monitoring system vendor should share your goals for safety, efficiency, cost reduction, and environmental compliance. They should have no competing business objectives that might influence machinery health assessment results, system development, or techni­cal support.

Data Recording & Replay

Even the most sophisticated condition monitoring systems can perform a safety shutdown of a machine without leaving enough descriptive details to pinpoint the root cause. What option does the operator have? Restarting the machine for more evidence risks catastrophic damage. Exploratory maintenance wastes time, money, and productivity.

Rod Position Monitoring

Rod position or rod drop analysis is more than just an indication of wear. The most effec­tive monitoring systems incorporate rod position measurement in conjunc­tion with analyses of other parameters to identify impending failures in drive train integrity. Rod position is a valu­able analysis that provides alarms and warnings about two major concerns…

Operating Condition Recognition & Threshold Adjustment

The enduring popularity of reciprocat­ing compressors is due in part to their flexibility. Their ability to handle differ­ent loads, speeds, volumes, and gases makes them a favorite for operators and a nightmare for failure detection modules in condition monitoring sys­tems. The reason is that varying operat­ing conditions often result in dynamic changes of machine behavior – for example, the vibration fingerprint. Detection of these operating condi­tion changes and the alignment of the threshold setting in parallel can be ex­tremely complex and – if not done prop­erly – will lead to inaccurate results.

Relevant SIL Certification

It is important to understand what SIL certification means – and what it does not mean. SIL (Safety Integrity Level) ratings were established to define a metric for evaluating a system’s level of operational reliability with regard to safety, as defined by IEC 61508. As it ap­plies to machine monitoring systems, a SIL rating refers to the probability of failure on demand of the protec­tion system. A key point to remember is that SIL ratings have nothing to do with monitoring precision, which is represented by false trips and missed detects. …

Performance Optimization

The benefits of optimal compressor performance are clear: improved operating efficiency, reduced energy consumption and increased productivity. Tracking performance can also provide other benefits, such as early warning of impending gas leakages. Unfortunately, losses in efficiency often go undetected by many monitoring systems that focus on vibration, piston position and temperature only. Machine efficiency – like other key parameters -should be monitored continuously.

Measurement of Phased Data

The most important and well estab­lished technique for machine monitor­ing is vibration analysis. However, not all vibration analyses are the same. Seemingly minor differences in data acquisition and evaluation strategies can have a dramatic impact on the quality of signal diagnoses. Choosing the proper mathematical evaluation method is the key to reliable early fail­ure detection and safety protection.

Detecting Failures in Early Stages

The days of time-based maintenance are over. State-of-the-art monitoring technology gives you the ability to apply condition-based maintenance, reliably detecting developing failures and intervening before breakdowns have an opportunity to occur. Early failure detection prevents machine damage, enhances safety, avoids unplanned machinery shutdowns, and reduces costs of operation. Success depends on the ability to accurately identify mechanical defects at an early stage – regardless of operating conditions – without issuing false alarms.

Automated Diagnoses & Messaging

Detecting the presence of an anomaly is one thing. Defining and pinpointing it is another. Your monitoring system should not only warn you about problems, but also provide an accurate diagnosis with specific component identification, location, and indication of the extent of damage. Armed with this information, you can make well-founded decisions about the maintenance procedures you need to take and when you need to take the


Systems should be scalable in two ways. First, they should be functionally scalable, allowing new or additional capabilities, such as measuring loops, to be added to an installed system without inordinate cost or difficulty. Second, systems should be scalable in magnitude. In other words, a system should offer a means to expand moni­toring to additional machines.

Application Experience

By themselves, a sophisticated monitoring system and powerful hardware are not enough to assure effective extruder train diagnostics. You also need the expertise to properly implement that system and support your needs. For this, there is no substitute for application experience and expert customer support.