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Address of VAST President
Dr. Alexei Barkov.


Dear Colleagues!

The machines we are working with do not work forever. They become old with time, wear out and sometimes, even when they are regularly maintained and repaired, fail in the most inappropriate moment. The accidental failures of the most vital machines may lead to crucial consequences, so usually they contain modern machine condition monitoring and protection systems.

Nowadays the expert diagnostic programs are actively designed and updated. They are intended to be used for defining the causes of machine monitoring and protection systems alert signaling or switching off the operation. Such systems enable to decrease enormously the time of machine and equipment restoration after its shut down by the indications of the installed monitoring system, but they do not yet solve the problem of machine maintenance and repair planning according to its real condition.

The problem of machine and equipment maintenance and repair according to its real condition is actual for several decades, but its practical solution has dragged on for many years. And we have this situation despite the fact that the real finance of R&D in this field in Russia is going on from the end of sixties. The works in this direction that were fulfilled by the Shipbuilding industry for the Russian Navy, resulted in working out for example the main methods of rotating machine assemblies preventive diagnostics that enable to detect the incipient defects and monitor their development up to the moment when the machine is shut down for maintenance.

These methods have to be the basis of the ships onboard machine detailed diagnostics in Russia. To widely use the preventive diagnostics it was necessary to solve two more problems - to develop cheap measuring instruments and to prepare specialists, capable to give briefly and efficiently the diagnosis and long term condition prediction by the results of the measurements. Unfortunately in Russia the financing of these works in the second half of the eighties was canceled.

Exactly then, a group of specialists with many years experience in vibrational diagnostics in shipbuilding industry has united in the frame of a non-governmental stock share company VAST, Inc. with the aim to bring the advances in predictive diagnostics and machine maintenance according to its condition to logic completion. In 1991 a software for automatic rolling element bearings diagnostics and long term condition prediction that had no analogues was designed in Russia. Unlike other existed expert systems this software has substituted the experts and enlarged the productivity of diagnostic means in dozens of times and in hundreds of times decreased the number of mistakes during measurements and analysis of its results.

In the beginning we used as the measurement means the scientific instruments produced by Bruel & Kjaer; and laboratory instruments, which design was ordered by the Navy in the middle of the eighties, but the series production of which was never begun.

The first instrument that was produced serially and that we used in our automatic diagnostic systems became the Bruel & Kjaer 2526 data collector. To do so it was modified and added by the help of one of the world leaders in vibrodiagnostics John S. Mitchell. A successful joint work was conducted by VAST, Inc. with such companies as Diagnostic Instruments, Inc. and Inteltech Enterprises, Inc., now VibroTek, that began in 1996-1997 also by the initiative of John S. Mitchell who actively contributed in contacts of our specialists and the specialists of other countries.

In 1997 new instruments, that met all the requirements of the software, designed by VAST for rotating machine detailed diagnostics, appeared on the Russian market. They were modified data collector PL-36 produced by Diagnostic Instruments, Inc. Later we started a joint work with the Diagnostic Instruments to interface the last generation of the DI products to DREAM® software. It enabled to prepare a quite new instrument EBA (Expert Bearing Analyzer) for detailed rolling element bearing diagnostics. We expect its appearance on the market in 1999.

In cooperation with the Inteltech Enterprises, Inc., now VibroTek, a new generation of rotating machine monitoring and automatic diagnostic systems was designed in 1998. These systems are already introduced on some large enterprises in Russia and in 1999 these instruments will be produced in series in Canada by the DPL Group. In these systems all of the up-to-date advances in rotating machinery monitoring and detailed diagnostics by vibration are incorporated. Its architecture enables both portable instruments and on-line systems operation using one hardware and software system.

So our main software product for monitoring systems with the capability of rotating machine preventive diagnostics by vibration in the beginning of 1999 becomes the software named DREAM® for Windows. By the opinion of many dozens of this software users in Russia its main peculiarity is the automation of the diagnostics and long term condition prediction process that enables the capability of its operation by the operators without special diagnostic training.

In the beginning 1999 year the specialists of our companies together with research works and improvement of hardware and software means of monitoring and diagnostics will pay more attention to the work with the DREAM for Windows users. To accomplish this we shall, from one side, continue to provide the training of our users in physics basis of rotating machine detailed diagnostics by vibration, algorithms of automated diagnostics and the peculiarities of work with the systems of monitoring and diagnostics of our production. From the other side, we introduce a new type of support - the revision of diagnosis and condition prediction by our specialists by request of the users in each rare case when the program of automatic diagnostics gives the diagnosis - "not identified defect".

For this purpose the data collector, produced by DPL group, is completed with the capability to receive the job for measurements via any standard communication line and to upload the measurement results into the software DREAM for Windows data base installed on a computer in any part of the world. In the beginning of the next year it is planned to add a new function to the "DREAM for Windows" software. It will form a request for a diagnosis review and transfer all the necessary data to the customer support service via Internet communication lines.

The next year we shall continue to publish educational and methodological materials and to answer the questions of the users that are in the competence of the experts of VAST, Inc. and VibroTek. Nowadays there are already published the methodological recommendations for users of machine monitoring and diagnostics systems by vibration in Russian language and in the nearest future they will be published in English. A text book about the machine and equipment vibroacoustical diagnostics is in the process of preparation. And finally on our Internet site we shall try to place main scientific publications of our specialists and the answers on most frequently asked questions of the users.

We hope that our colleagues from other companies will send us the comments and complements to the replies on the questions that our experts will answer not sufficiently detailed.

A happy and prosperous Year 2000 to you all !

Alexej V. Barkov
VAST, Inc.



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