The effects of vibration can be severe, and if left unchecked can accelerate rates of wear and lead to costly equipment failure and downtime. Vibration can be destructive if a motor drive shaft, for instance, has loose bearings or is loosely attached to its mounts.
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 allows tiny vibrations to cause damage, such as further bearing wear, wear and fatigue in equipment mounts as well as 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 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 or analyzer can determine whether or not a rotating machine is suffering from looseness.
Indeed, a vibration tester such as the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester and Analyzer 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.