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case study

Vibration Analysis - Aztec West

Vibration Analysis - Aztec West Integral, early in 2012, we were faced with an unusual maintenance problem at one of the Client’s sites, that required a new approach to maintenance, together with some forward thinking. Aztec West is a major employment site, located on the outskirts of Bristol, close to Thornbury. Our client has approximately 600 staff based at this location in a variety of roles, including a call centre, so the site is of central importance to the Client. Therefore, when they began to experience difficulties with the heating system, that had started to losd efficiency and also started to repeatedly fail on a more and more regular basis, then this was of paramount concern. After a number of routine repairs had been conducted, but only proven temporarily successful, it was decided that some original thinking was required. Integral’s Critical Maintenance Team were employed to assist with the repair and brought in a Vibration Analyser, as part of its Reliability Centred Maintenance Programme (RCM). It was found that the main air compressor valves were repeated shattering, causing the failure, so the mechanical side of the heating system was scanned using vibration analysis. This analyses the vibration signature of high speed rotary equipment, such as motors,

compressors and pumps. Our vibration analyser is equipped with Tri-axial Accelerometer (Vibration Analysis) and a two-point laser tachometer (Speed Measurement) for precise vibration sampling and it enables visibility of vibration problems, looseness, misalignment or unbalance in mechanical components such as bearings, gears or driveshafts. The vibration analysis revealed that the Main Compressor Bearing had worn and was close to the end of its lifespan. Replacement main compressor bearings can be purchased for around £8k, depending on the equipment, compared to approximately £250k upwards for replacement of the compressor in the event that the main bearing had failed completely. From this, it is clear that the vibration analysis not only offered a quick and nonintrusive means of testing, but also provided a clear and accurate diagnosis of the defect. Further, vibration analysis, diagnosed a serious and potentially expensive defect, while still at an early stage and before any lasting damage could occur to expensive items of plant: one of the key principles behind Integral’s Reliability Centred Maintenance Programme.

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