Case Studies and Stories  

Use Ultrasound to Detect Faults in Slow-Speed Gears

Christopher Hallum | Regional Manager UK & Ireland, UE Systems Europe B.V.

This case involves a cooling oven where muffins cool before packaging. The rack is six levels high and the speed varies according to the product, from 10 rpm to 30 rpm. There were bearings mounted behind gears.

There was competing sound from the conveyor and the frame, but we could isolate the sound through the contact approach with ultrasound. When we took the recording, there was repetition in the time waveform and we could hear the repetitive sound.

The problem was lack of lubrication as well as damage. The sound should have been smooth and uniform. Before this, the technicians had been using a very sophisticated device to listen to the machine: a screwdriver. This is a fairly common technique, but ultrasound devices are obviously more sophisticated and sensitive. Ultrasound is also much safer since it doesn’t require you to place your head near rotating assets.

Once the client implemented the new technology, they saw savings in excess of €180,000 with downtime and waste factored in.

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About the Author

Christopher Hallum Regional Manager UK & Ireland, UE Systems Europe B.V.

An experienced electrical engineer with 13 years experience in the Royal Air Force. Qualifying as a technical trainer in his time, teaching many engineering principles and gaining qualifications and experience in Railway Signalling Engineering, teaching the railway engineers of the future. Highly knowledgeable and motivated, gaining Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional status. In the past few years he has began to spread the knowledge of Ultrasound as a tool to aid in predictive maintenance strategies in every industry.