Maintenance & Engineering Tools Sharpen Touch, Sight & Insight | Automation.com

Maintenance & Engineering Tools Sharpen Touch, Sight & Insight

May 252012
Maintenance & Engineering Tools Sharpen Touch, Sight & Insight
May 2012
 
By Bill Lydon
 
Plant people use all five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) in troubleshooting, diagnosis, and determining areas for improvements.   At Fluke headquarters in Everett, Washington, I experienced firsthand new products that amplify our senses and go beyond them to increase productivity and effectiveness.
 
Infrared Imaging
 
Eyes can only see visible light but Fluke’s infrared imaging devices can see beyond visible light to show heat patterns. Infrared is a wavelength within the electromagnetic spectrum that is radiated energy that cannot be seen by our eyes but can be sensed by our skin. Thermal imaging is the non-contact detection and measurement technology to map temperature differences and assign colors based on the temperatures to an electronic picture.   Thermal imagers are not new but have been very expensive and large, which has limited their application in the past.   The new Fluke instruments are light weight and low cost putting this capability into the hands of many plant people.   Thermal imagers extend the capabilities of plant people since they can measure very high temperatures in difficult to reach locations. The devices can be used for a range of tasks including energy audits, preventive and predictive maintenance, troubleshooting of many electro-mechanical problems, and process analysis.
 
Thermal imaging is useful to analyze a wide range of equipment including electrical distribution equipment, switchgear, transformers, electrical connections, capacitors, breakers, disconnects, bus bars, inverters, motors, compressors, , pumps, conveyors, gearboxes, chain drives, couplings, bearings, steam lines, valves and traps, chillers, and boilers. Fluke has incorporated features to make these devices more useful including video recording, digital photo feature to document where a thermal image was captured, and an electronic compass to document the direction in which the thermal image pictures were taken.
 
The U.S. list price for the Fluke Ti100 Thermal Imager is $2,495; the Ti110 and TiR110 models are $4,495; and the Ti125 and TiR125 models are $5,495. For more information, visit: www.fluke.com/fluke/usen/products/categoryti
 
Vibration
 
Gifted maintenance people for years have listened to equipment and used vibration to diagnose problems - many times by holding a screw driver against a piece of equipment to “feel” the vibrations. These exceptional maintenance people are few and far between and have learned through years of experience. Vibration analysis equipment has been very expensive and only used with very critical equipment. Fluke now has low cost and portable, hand-held vibration meters that, when pressed up against a piece of rotating equipment, will sense the level of vibration, compare it to reference values and provide an overall equipment health evaluation.
 
To measure, the user presses the pointed tip of the meter against the point to measure vibration. The pointed tip of the meter contains a vibration sensor and a force sensor. The force sensor compensates for how hard the user is making contact to compensate for the force of contact which affects the reading. An infrared sensor automatically collects temperature readings. The meter displays the vibration and temperature readings and provides a health assessment. If desired, the user saves the measurement under an ID for later recall.  The device can detect bearing conditions, detecting peaks in the vibration signal readings of roller bearings from 4,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and uses a proprietary algorithm to interpret severity to determine if the bearing is going bad.
 
The Fluke 805 Vibration Meter will be available in June at a U.S. list price of $1,799.95. For more information, visit: www.fluke.com/thinkmeter
 
IR Temperature
 
Fluke has introduced the 62 series handheld thermal measurement devices for noncontact temperature measurements at a price point (U.S. list price $99.95 or 62 Max+ $129.95) that makes it as productivity booster to include in any toolbox or tool belt. The 62 Max has a distance-to-spot ratio of 10:1 and measures temperatures from 30°C to 500°C with an accuracy ± 1.5% of the reading. The 62 Max+ has a distance-to-spot ration of 12:1 and measures 30°C to 650°C with an accuracy ± 1.0% of the reading.   The 62 MAX+ has dual rotating lasers so users can identify the area to be measured. The measurement area is the spot between the dots. The units display the minimum, maximum or average temperature, or the difference between two measurements. Both IR thermometers operate on a single AA battery.
 
There are a wide range of uses for these devices including electrical distribution equipment, switchgear, transformers, electrical panels, connections, fuses, capacitors, breakers, disconnects, bus bars, inverters, overloads, motors, compressors, fans, blowers, pumps, conveyors, gearboxes, couplings, bearings, steam lines, valves and traps, process flow spot checks, heating and cooling systems, refrigeration equipment, freezers, condenser coil averages, and boilers.
 
For more information, visit: www.fluke.com/62max
 
Tool Belt & Toolbox Technology
 
Technology in automation systems has grown dramatically but we tend to forget that people in the field can really understand and analyze problems and opportunities at a level that systems cannot. Fluke has put high technology into almost indestructible lightweight devices to make field people more valuable. Very cool stuff!
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