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
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
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