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In many organizations, people jump right to the use of Predictive (PdM) technologies for all on condition inspections. Based on the MTBF of the equipment and the PF Interval, this may be a more costly solution. The challenge is to identify cost effective solutions that provide an ample PF Interval to allow for the ordering of materials and proactive repair in advance of functional failure. Often, the Operator and Maintenance technicians can use any of the five senses or items like flow, pressure, etc. to detect mechanical components in the act of failure with enough advance notice.


Hello, I'm Jeff Shiver, Managing Principal of People and Processes. Today I want to share a little tip around using the right resources with regard to how you approach your P-F curves.

Let me explain a little bit more. When we take a P-F curve that is set up for the user wanting 100 GPM as an example and 150 GPM is being received or some number it really doesn't matter about the scale. The point is, let's say we had a bearing that was in the act of failing. In its worst case right before we reached total failure, what might we have? Well, depending on the situation, we might have fire as an example. What's a good indicator of fire? What happens before that as we back up the curve? We might have smoke. Before smoke, we might have heat. Now, when we start talking about how we can start to detect some of these things, we can actually start adding some of the predictive maintenance approaches as part of this.

When we get heat, where can we find heat? Well, using the infrared as an example on the curve, maybe back up on the curve somewhere. In between infrared and the actual heat piece, we might very well be able to find it just simply with using the operator's sense of feel. That's using your hand or the back side of your hand.

What about from another operation's perspective? What about, let's say, vibration? Well, we can feel that again. We can feel heat. We can feel vibration. We can hear noise.

You might ask, "How can we talk about vibration and feeling that using the senses or hearing it from a noise standpoint?" Obviously we can find out with vibration. We'll put it on the chart. We can get into a debate about whether it plays out in front of infrared or not.

I will share with you that typically when you back up the curve even further, ultrasound comes in before vibration. Actually, NASA uses ultrasound in advance of vibration for certain bearing trace cracks and things like that.

The point I wanted to make with this is at this particular point here, we basically have run to failure. We've gone too far. We're probably not meeting the user requirements anymore that we set up here at 100 GPM.

The other piece to consider is that we can simply do operator inspections. That's in advance of doing predictive technologies. Predictive technologies are great but they tend to be expensive. The challenge for us is how do we actually, in this particular window, find something in the act of failing and proactively make time to maybe repair it before it functionally fails.

Many times, operations or maintenance inspections give us that window so that we have enough time to proactively plan and schedule. We can reserve these types of inspections for more cost-effective approaches around more critical components as an example. Don't just stick simply to the proactive technologies because those cost a lost of money typically.

Hope you enjoyed the tip. Have a great day. I'm Jeff Shiver, managing principal of People and Processes.