How Asset Health Monitoring saved a plant from unnecessary costs

 In the world of industrial maintenance, informed decision-making is essential to avoid unexpected costs and keep production running. The case study we’re about to explore highlights how a timely decision prevented a costly equipment shutdown thanks to the judicious use of predictive maintenance. 

Detecting water in bearing lubricating oil

It all began during one of the bi-weekly inspections carried out by a Laurentide Controls technician where a sudden and significant increase in vibrations was noticed in one of the plant’s refiners. 

These vibrations corresponded to twice the rotation frequency of the rolling elements with harmonics, matching a ball spin frequency (BSF), which can be an indicator of a ball defect in the bearing. This constituted a risk of unplanned shutdown for this equipment and the decision was therefore made to schedule a replacement of the refiner’s bearing cartridge as soon as possible. 

The lubrication team was then dispatched by the reliability team to take an oil sample and validate the condition of the bearings via oil analysis. The sample taken revealed the presence of water in the refiner’s hydraulic unit reservoir prompting the team to take swift action.

Implementing corrective maintenance action

Using Spartakus APM, Laurentide generated a detailed report and quickly prioritized a flush and oil change of the hydraulic system as a corrective action for the maintenance team.   

Following the completion of this action, the bearing’s abnormal vibrations were considerably reduced and returned within normal operating ranges. 

Significant benefits

The implementation of this measure made it possible to avoid a costly and superfluous mechanical intervention. Indeed, without the early detection of water in the bearing oil, labor and material costs would have been considerably higher.   

This problem would have required the mobilization of multiple workers for two days at the least. What’s more, the necessary materials were not in stock at the time, which increased the risk of a prolonged the shutdown period.   

In the end, the deterioration of the bearings would have continued if the oil had not been changed; resulting in a faster degradation of the bearing and an increased risk of unplanned downtime. 

Greater efficiency thanks to Spartakus APM, a source of satisfaction 

Laurentide trained its teams in the use of Spartakus APM, providing users with a global view of the situation and all analysis reports. This approach has enabled the team to proactively monitor the overall health of assets, identifying potential problems before they become critical.  

From the plant’s point of view, the maintenance team and decision-makers are extremely satisfied with the results achieved. They avoided unnecessary expenditures, improved equipment reliability, and demonstrated the value of using predictive technologies synergically. 

“When it comes to maintenance with predictive technologies, taking a holistic approach can really simplify the process of decision making. It enables people to look at the situation from multiple angles.

However, in a context where data is collected via multiple means, from everywhere, and all at once, it is not easy to collate all this information together in a timely manner to take sound and costly decisions. 

Spartakus APM is a great platform to accomplish this kind of thing. Bringing peace of mind knowing that your decisions are based on reliable, processed, and easily available information.” 

Reliability Engineer – Laurentide Controls

 In conclusion, this story highlights the importance of data-driven decision-making and proactive monitoring in preventing unnecessary interventions and keeping production running. By investing in monitoring technology and integrating it in APMs such as Spartakus, companies can take a holistic approach to decision-making, anticipate costly breakdowns, increase maintenance efficiency and ensure the satisfaction of their teams and decision-makers. 

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