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Vibration testing on the fast track

May 2013

Using the included laser tachometer to measure motor speed with the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester

Machinery often gives warnings before it fails. For instance, the most common causes of mechanical failure - imbalance, misalignment, looseness, and worn bearings - have distinctive vibration patterns, and if you can detect and understand these vibration warning signals, you can often fix problems before they become emergences.

Because vibration analysis is so helpful for understanding machine health and predicting mechanical failures, most large manufacturers have invested in it, either by hiring vibration consultants or by having their own vibration analysis personnel on site. But vibration analysis tools often required months of measurements to establish baselines and trends before they provided useful results. They were also expensive and difficult to use, and the cost of training and retaining staff who could interpret vibration information, or of hiring outside consultants, has been even more costly. Until recently, these high costs and slow return on investment put vibration analysis out of reach of most small- and medium-sized companies, despite its many benefits.

The Fluke 810 Vibration Tester has changed all that, giving plants without predictive maintenance programs a reliable, affordable, vibration analysis solution. Now people with no vibration testing training or experience can connect a lightweight (4.2 pounds/1.9 kilograms), handheld tester to common mechanical devices (such as motors, pumps, compressors, and many others) and get accurate, understandable diagnoses of machine health in just minutes. And in addition to being easy to use, the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester is far less expensive than traditional vibration analysis solutions.

Easy to use

To use the 810 Vibration Tester, you first enter basic machine information (such as horsepower and RPM) in response to prompts on the screen. (The 810 Vibration Tester includes a laser tachometer that enables you to measure RPM quickly and easily.) Next, you connect the 810’s sensor (a three-axis accelerometer) to the piece of equipment under test. The sensor gathers vibration information and relays it to the 810, which analyses the information and gives you an easy-to-understand, actionable diagnosis on the spot and in just minutes.

Immediate feedback

At the heart of the 810 Vibration Tester is a diagnostic engine that was developed by vibration experts with extensive consultation experience. The diagnostic engine uses the information that you enter - motor type, shaft speed, and bearing type, for example - to create a “synthetic baseline,” a representation of a “healthy” machine with vibration characteristics similar to the one that you are testing. This synthetic baseline eliminates the need for months of measurements before a diagnosis can be made. Instead, the Fluke 810’s diagnostic engine evaluates the vibration data that the 810 has captured, compares it to the data for a similar, healthy machine, and gives you an evaluation in minutes. The process, which was designed to mimic the thought processes of an expert human vibration analyst, uses hundreds of rules developed from vast amounts of vibration data gathered from industry and military vibration analysis experience.

With the press of a button, the diagnostic engine in the Fluke 810 uses vibration information to give you a diagnosis of the location, severity, and root cause of the four most common mechanical faults - bad bearings, looseness, misalignment, and imbalance - and of other, less common faults as well.

The Fluke 810 displays the mechanical faults it detects on a color coded, four-level severity scale of “slight,” “moderate,” “serious,” and “extreme.” It also provides prioritized repair recommendations and diagnostic details, including the vibration peaks and vibration spectra on which the diagnosis was based.

You can transfer the vibration information that you collect to a computer for storage and further examination with the included software. The setup information that you enter for each of the machines that you tested can also be saved on your computer and transferred back to the 810, making the next tests you perform even faster and easier.

Reduce unnecessary maintenance work

You can use information that you gather with the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester to reduce unnecessary preventive maintenance. For example, suppose your routine maintenance program calls for changing the bearings on a large motor twice a year at a cost of $10,000. If instead your maintenance program calls for monthly monitoring of the vibration profile of that motor and changing bearings only when they show signs of wear and that significantly increases the interval between bearing changes, you can save thousands of dollars in parts and labor and the motor is offline less often. As an added benefit, the monthly monitoring program may catch developing problems before they become critical.

Fast ROI

The low cost and ease of use of the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester means that it can pay for itself at a small manufacturing company in as little as one week.

The Fluke 810 Vibration Tester, three-axis sensor, and laser tachometer.

For example, if a company has five machines and each are offline for just eight hours a year at a downtime cost of $20,000 an hour, the cost is $800,000 a year just in lost production.

If each of the five incidents costs $5,000 for repairs, that’s an additional expense of $25,000 a year. That $825,000 annual cost is $15,865 a week. A company can buy a Fluke 810 Vibration Tester for much less than that average weekly downtime cost. And because technicians can use the 810 with no more training than reading the manual and watching a DVD, there is almost no additional training expense, so return on investment starts immediately.

Single-tool solution

The Fluke 810 Vibration Tester is an affordable, easy to use single-tool solution that you can use as both a troubleshooting tool when you need an immediate answer and as part of preventive maintenance program. It enables you to control unplanned downtime, prevent recurring problems, set repair priorities, and manage your resources.

Find out more about the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester »