Condition-based monitoring

Condition-based monitoring for industrial refrigeration & heating equipment

GEA’s proactive maintenance approach to maintaining process-critical components including compressors, heat pumps and chillers.
pressure gauges on an industrial compressor refrigeration system

Traditional interval-based maintenance can be viewed as ‘reactive’ with a greater margin for error due to the fact it relies on refrigeration technicians performing a series of equipment health checks at a particular ‘moment in time’.

Technology allows us to move beyond the traditional reactive maintenance approach by implementing proactive measures, such as condition-based monitoring. Condition-based monitoring is a modern, proactive approach to improve the efficiency and reliability of refrigeration equipment, and importantly, to help plant operators optimize performance.

Continuous, or more frequent, monitoring of critical equipment helps to fill the gap between scheduled maintenance visits by refrigeration technicians meaning faults can be foreseen, inefficiencies can be promptly corrected, and unreliable or potentially unsafe operation can be mitigated at the source. 

This means the optimal efficiency of the equipment is constantly monitored and will help to reduce unnecessary business operating costs.

Condition-based maintenance techniques, which deliver key benefits, include:

Oil monitoring & analysis: There are many different substances which can cause oil contamination including wear metals, insolubles and general dirt or debris. Contaminated oil is likely to cause premature failure of components and will affect the performance of the compressor and the refrigeration system which could result in reduced efficiency.

 

Benefits:

Oil can be changed precisely when needed, no guesswork. 

Optimizes oil usage for maximum performance, protection, and service life.

Protects equipment better by detecting early problems and ensures correct lubrication.

Monitors oil condition for rate of change to identify compressor and system problems early.

a uniformed gea field service engineer drawing an oil sample for analysis

Vibration monitoring & analysis: Monitoring vibration levels is key to early identification of problems or predicting failure of compressors, drive motors and other rotating equipment.  GEA VTrac utilizes permanently mounted vibration sensors for continuous monitoring of screw compressors and drive motors.

Vibration analysis is a more in-depth interrogation of the equipment using hand-held vibration measuring equipment to analyze the cause more accurately. Vibration analysis can be used in conjunction with monitoring or at a regular frequency to suit the equipment.

Benefits: 

Emergency repairs are reduced as failures can be predicted and planned for.

Reduces unplanned downtime.

Increases plant safety.

Reduces service and maintenance costs.

Extends the life of the compressor and drive motor.

Reduces the chances of refrigerant leakage.

gea vtrac sensors on industrial refrigeration compressor and motor

Laser alignment: Incorrectly aligned direct drive compressors will cause failure of the compressor and/or drive motor. Even simple misalignment has the potential to cause a shaft seal to fail and release refrigerant and oil. On ammonia systems this has the potential to be damaging to the process operation and the safety of personnel which is why this type of work should only be carried out by specialist refrigeration technicians. Often perceived as a one-off task at the commissioning stage, annual laser alignment is recommended to ensure compressor and motor operate safely and reliably.

Benefits:

Improved reliability.

Better compressor efficiency.

Increased safety.

Lower operating costs 

Ammonia analysis: Checking the quality of ammonia refrigerant is especially important as a reduction in cooling capacity with rising energy costs can occur should the water content be too high. It is not uncommon for ammonia systems to ‘function’ with high water content, however it will cause many other problems including oil contamination leading to premature failure of components and increased operating costs. A simple refrigerant quality check once or twice a year could save a lot of money.

Benefits:

Reduces operating costs.

Increases equipment reliability.

Thermography scans: This involves a comprehensive scan of all electrical control panels using an infrared camera. The objective is to identify any ‘hot spots’ within the control panel itself, focusing on all components and devices including the wiring. This should be carried out at least annually or at an increased frequency depending on the size of the electrical installation.

The thermography scans can also be used to monitor/identify problems with other items for example, mechanical defects on electric motors and temperature losses in insulated spaces.

Benefits:

Highlights problems prior to failure.

Less downtime.

Increased safety.

Improve operational planning – repair works can be scheduled to suit customer.

infrared thermography of electrical system in industrial refrigeration equipment

Contact us today to discuss how you can benefit from GEA’s proactive approach to condition-based monitoring.

Certain products and services may not be available in all areas. 
Please contact your local GEA office for additional information. 

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