Vibration shouldn’t be a shock

By March 27, 2017 No Comments

It’s a common misconception that any visible machine movement is dangerous or indicates there’s a fault with the system, however vibration in some machinery is inherent and often essential to functioning. Excessive movement on the other hand can be problematic, especially in an industrial environment where resulting force or vibrations can transfer to other components causing premature damage to integral parts or creating nuisance noise. The key is to understand good and bad movement and ensure the correct provisions are in place.

Although in some situations vibration in an industrial setting may be a cause for concern, often anti-vibration components are not specified from the outset – only once an issue has developed do engineers look to mitigate vibration. Neglecting to utilize shock mounts until there is a problem can result in a poor working environment, increased risk of industrial injuries, and greater wear on both moving and static components. When specifying anti-vibration components it’s important to remember that one-size doesn’t fit all and each application needs to be analyzed individually beforehand.

For some machinery, the purpose of an anti-vibration mount is not in fact to prevent movement. Mounts allow the machine to move, while protecting internal components and surrounding assets from the resulting vibration. Mounts isolate vibration and prevent shocks transferring to other equipment or areas – such as pipework or structural supports, which are intended to remain static.

On the other hand, certain equipment may be designed not to vibrate for smoother operation. Here, vibration is known to cause or accelerate internal damage to bearings, gears and drive belts within the asset itself, as well as transmitting to other pieces of equipment nearby. Damage can also occur as a result of aged machinery where components are not correctly functioning. Other symptoms of vibration which could equally be causes include bent shafts, loosening bearings or fasteners, and misalignment.

By building in anti-vibration or shock mounts into the early part of the design process or when installing a new asset, the life of both primary and auxiliary equipment can be extended. It can also safeguard operators from dangerous working conditions or excessive noise. While such components can be retrofitted, the damage may have already been done leading to premature maintenance or replacements costs, while installation at a later date inevitably results in disruptive downtime.

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