In the beginning of this episode on Rob's Reliability Project, Rob asks Adrian Messer, the manager of US operations at UE Systems, about vibration and ultrasound analysis before diving deep into ultrasound.
"Some of the hardest people to talk to about ultrasound technology were people with extensive backgrounds in vibration technology," said Messer.
But that is changing. These people are learning that ultrasound analysis complements vibration analysis and vice-versa for mechanical-type inspections.
"We're not trying to rely solely on one technology, but we're trying to use a multitude of technologies to acquire as much information as possible on an asset to determine the state of its condition."
For instance, if you take an ultrasound reading and discover something suspect, you can take a vibration reading to confirm there is a problem.
But when it comes to assets with slow-speed bearings, ultrasound is more reliable and using vibration is often not necessary.
"If you have the data collector, software, and of course the time, you can certainly do vibration on slow-speed applications but it's faster and easier to use ultrasound."
But does ultrasound give you the granularity that you get from vibration?
In short, yes. For example...
"We have started to see examples of people detecting fluting or electrical current into their bearings and that will typically give you a 50 to 60Hz harmonic on your FFT."
Also, finding early-stage bearing defects with ultrasound is more effective than vibration, but the failure mode you're trying to detect will determine which type of analysis you should use as your primary.
What do you use vibration and ultrasound analysis for?