Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What Industrial Applications Can Benefit From Ultrasound Technology?

Your company recently transitioned from a time-based maintenance program to a Condition Based Maintenance program for your critical electrical assets.  This transition included the addition of ultrasound inspection capabilities to the program.  Last month, you researched the theory behind ultrasound. The maintenance team is curious about all of the industrial applications that could use ultrasound.  As the team’s manager, you decided to investigate. Let’s see what information you have found.

Detecting ultrasound waves using handheld ultrasound testing devices play a critical role when used in a Condition Based Maintenance Inspection program.  Anomalies in equipment or components of equipment may create ultrasound waves that, when detected, could alert the maintenance team that a component or machine needs to be further assessed for deterioration.  The goal is to find the anomaly and determine the health of the equipment and fix it if needed before that equipment fails.  Condition Based Maintenance programs are growing in popularity as companies look for ways to proactively detect and fix defects before costly repairs or full replacements are needed.

Underground Leak Detection Case Study

Your research found many industrial applications where ultrasound inspections could benefit a company where the main goal is to identify equipment that is deteriorating so a maintenance event to repair or replace the equipment can be planned for and scheduled. The cost-effective goal for the company is to find a problem and fix it BEFORE the equipment fails.  Equipment failures can be safety risks for personnel and a potential drain on a company’s profit margins.

Here is a partial list of industrial applications from your research:

  1. Electrical Inspections (examples – detection of Partial Discharge faults: arcing, tracking or corona)
  2. Air-Leak Inspections (example – compressed air)
  3. Compressor Testing (example – air ingress in and around the compressor)
  4. Heat Exchangers, Condensers and Chillers
  5. Valves (example – inside a piping system)
  6. Steam Traps (example – defective trap, stuck traps)
  7. Hydraulic Systems (example – leaks in valves, rams or pumps within the system)
  8. Mechanical Inspections (example – bearings that on their way to premature failure)

These are just a few applications found and as ultrasound technologies become more available, this list will grow.

Conclusion:

Detecting ultrasound waves is gaining popularity as a technology used in a Condition Based Maintenance programs.  Companies are continuously searching for solutions to mitigate risk, reduce operating costs and increase productivity.   Companies recognize that preventing equipment failures by performing proactive maintenance inspections saves them time and money in the long run.  Ultrasound technologies are proving to be a critical tool in a Condition Based Maintenance model.

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