In this article, the working principle of vibration sensors is discussed, as well as their industrial applications and technology trends.
Image Credit: peterschreiber.media/Shutterstock.com
What are Vibration Sensors?
A vibration sensor detects and monitors the frequency and magnitude of vibrations over time in a particular system, machine, or equipment.
The design of any vibration sensor includes:
- Vibration transducer - a unit designed to convert a mechanical vibrational movement into an electrical signal
- An electronic unit for receiving, decoding and processing the generated electrical signal and outputting information via an external interface; today, as a rule, includes an analog to digital converter (ADC), which allows the processing of data in digital form.
In industries, vibration sensors provide maintenance personnel with data to predict machinery maintenance, thereby preventing equipment failure and enhancing machinery performance.
How do Vibration Sensors Work?
The vibration sensor consists of a piezoelectric crystal that has a seismic mass attached to it. When the equipment/machine under study experiences vibrations, the crystal is subjected to stress, and an electric signal is generated, which is then converted to valuable data.
The data collected by the sensors can be compared to accepted standards established by equipment manufacturers to determine if the equipment or machine under study requires any attention.
Vibration sensors can be attached to equipment or used wirelessly to monitor the system. Upon installation, the sensors measure the acceleration, velocity, or displacement of vibration, depending on the type of vibration sensors employed.
Depending on the application's requirements, the sensitivity of vibration sensors can range from 10 mV/g to 100 mV/g.
Why are Vibration Sensors Used?
Vibration sensors are utilized to maximize the functioning of the machines. It continuously monitors parameters such as temperature, speed, and vibration. If these metrics are not consistently monitored, they can have a negative impact on machine health.
Additionally, monitoring these characteristics for business and commercial purposes is becoming increasingly important. Negligence can lead to machine failure and downtime for maintenance, both of which have a financial cost.
Vibration must be measured since it affects the system's reliability and durability in working situations. Industrial vibration sensors can aid in the monitoring of system vibration issues. The benefits of tracking and evaluating equipment or system vibration include:
- Determining necessary repairs
- Root cause analysis of any problem
- Examination of the overall condition of the plant or equipment
- Reduces overall plant running costs by preventing expensive shutdowns in advance
Engineers can forecast the likelihood of equipment failure by using vibration sensors and analyzing the data from these devices. By taking the appropriate measures, they can protect significant equipment from breakdown.
Industrial Application of Vibration Sensors
Nowadays, diagnostic systems for industrial equipment have become the norm. Machines and mechanisms today are repaired when the smallest failures begin in the operation of the nodes, and diagnostic and monitoring equipment indicates the development of some kind of malfunction.
This is largely facilitated by vibration sensors installed in control systems, which provide extensive vibration by the nature and scale of vibration changes. Using the obtained data allows the engineers to accurately diagnose equipment and rationally eliminate emerging defects in time.
The automotive industry has experienced rapid expansion and profitability in recent years. To keep the production line running smoothly, automakers use vibration sensors to adequately monitor the health of the machinery in their plants.
Additionally, condition monitoring has grown to be essential for preserving product quality and the consistency of production operations. Managers of vehicle manufacturing plants can guarantee the appropriate operation of metalworking equipment, automated machines, and robotics using vibration monitoring tools and vibration sensors, assuring the smooth operation of various production processes.
Oil and Gas Industry
Vibration sensors are critical in the oil and gas business because they ensure that production gear is operational and downtime is avoided, resulting in lower operating costs and increased productivity and monetary profits.
These sensors aid in the reduction of unplanned downtime and the optimization of machine performance which reduces maintenance and repair expenditures. Vibration sensors maintain important pump motors, fans, gearboxes, and compressors in the oil and gas industries.
Vibration, imbalances, and misalignment in moving parts; and improperly lubricated parts are typically related to the deterioration of the condition and performance of equipment used in chemical plants. The early detection of these underlying problems using vibration sensors enables the rectification of complications before their impact on various processes, hence optimizing the performance of chemical plants.
The chemicals sector uses vibration monitoring equipment and instruments to improve maintenance efficiency, increase profitability, offer safety alerts, and minimize operating expenses. In a conventional chemical processing facility, vibration sensors ranging from 10-10,000 Hz are necessary for effective monitoring.
Energy and Power Industry
In the energy and power industries, vibration sensors detect stress and strain to track rotor aerodynamic asymmetry, surface roughness, imbalances, and overall performance. The need to reduce distribution losses and the steadily rising demand for electricity provide problems for the power sector.
Power generation businesses now provide a constant supply of power at affordable prices and keep an eye on their operations for any unwelcome developments. As a result, vibration sensors are essential in the power industry.
Vibration sensors offer detailed data on the performance of various pieces of equipment. The data produced by these sensors can be used to determine the need for any potential maintenance.
Vibration sensors are expected to gain popularity as the demand for monitoring a machine's status grows. Furthermore, the growing need for high-performance operational items and the growing number of industrial hubs will drive the expansion of the vibration sensor market.
References and Further Reading
Bukhtoyarov, V. V., et al. (2019) June. Multi-stage intelligent system for diagnostics of pumping equipment for oil and gas industries. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 272, No. 3, p. 032030). IOP Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/272/3/032030
ETS (2022). Vibration Sensor: Definitions, Applications and How to Use it. [Online] ETS Solutions. Available at: https://www.etssolution-asia.com/blog/vibration-sensor-definitions-applications-and-how-to-use-it
Xu, S., et al. (2018) "Vibration sensor for the health monitoring of the large rotating machinery: review and outlook", Sensor Review, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 44-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/SR-03-2017-0049