Vibration can be destructive if a motor drive shaft, for instance, has loose bearings or is loosely attached to its mounts. The effects of vibration can be severe, and if left unchecked can accelerate rates of wear and lead to costly equipment failure and downtime.
Mechanical looseness occurs when there is excessive clearance between parts. Such looseness may or may not be caused by the underlying vibration. Whatever its cause, any amount of looseness will allow tiny vibrations to cause further wear and fatigue in equipment mounts, bearings, and other components. Looseness can occur in several places.
- Rotating looseness is caused by excessive clearance between rotating and stationary elements of the machine, such as in a bearing.
- Non-rotating looseness happens between two normally stationary parts, such as a foot and a foundation, or a bearing housing and a machine.
As with all other sources of machine vibration, it is important to know how to identify looseness and resolve the issue to avoid losing money from destroyed equipment or downtime. A vibration tester can determine whether a rotating machine is experiencing looseness. The Fluke 810 Handheld Vibration Tester can be used in a preventive maintenance program as an indicator of machine condition that not only includes looseness but also unbalance, shaft misalignment and bearing failures.
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