Condition-based Monitoring (CbM), or the maintenance process where the condition or health of a machine is monitored for the earliest signs of impending failure, is how thousands of plants worldwide are saving billions of dollars annually. Early predictions of machine illness is essential to reducing energy waste and eliminating downtime while increasing production output as well as asset availability.

Establishing an effective predictive maintenance program that utilizes powerful and accurate technologies such as Ultrasound and Infrared, enables maximum profitability through the ability to see and hear areas of concern we never could before – with precise, timely results, granting an enormous advantage over standard predictive maintenance practices.

Integrated Ultrasound and Infrared – the Power of Two

Condition-based Monitoring is nothing new to the industry. Today, every company is utilizing at least one system for inspecting potential problems within plant operations. What is relatively new to the industry however, is the combined power of using multiple technologies such as ultrasound and infrared.

Since we were born, we have been taught that if you can’t see it or hear it, it is not there. Through the ultrasound and infrared, we are able to eliminate this picture from our mindset and extend our senses and creative problem solving through technologies that have been developed to see and hear everything we can’t.

Combining ultrasound and infrared testing methods is the safest and most un-intrusive way of testing that allows inspectors to easily see, hear and record areas of concern that have been difficult to detect before, extending the ability to accurately diagnose all areas of potential failure within a plant environment

Industrial Inspections
Detection of Bearing Failure

It is a fact that inboard bearing failure is certain. Specific to motors, most run hot due to an overload from bearing drag – likely caused by over greased bearings. Infrared thermal imaging will show immediate signs of the motor being over greased while ultrasound can identify the exact problem and determine how much grease to apply to a motor. After detecting the problem via infrared and then listening to the bad bearing via ultrasound, inspectors can ensure that the motor runs cool and it has even heat inboard to outboard – making sure the centre of the motor is the only part of the machine that is warm, thus eliminating overheating and pending failure.


As is often the case during inspection, several machines may appear to be running fine. However, when checked closely you may notice quite a bit of vibration or other causes of alarm. Infrared inspection may show a bad misalignment, indicating inboard bearings are hot and the centre of the coupler is showing heat where it should not be warm at all. After seeing this problem through infrared, ultrasound could quickly hear the problem in both inboard bearings. This allows inspectors to immediately act on the concern with the justification that both detection tools found fault within the system.

From loose or dirty connections where an infrared camera can detect areas of concern through heat discoloration while ultrasound hears arcing in the loose connection, to loose fuse clips where ultrasound tracks the looseness of the fuse and infrared can detect that the fuse clips have lost tension or where the wire on the fuse appears loose, both technologies complement each other in several ways – helping inspectors determine the most appropriate next steps, whether trending and reporting over time or immediate part adjustment or replacement.

Avoid Potential Catastrophes with Infrared and Ultrasound

By combining these two technologies, plant managers can easily and quickly avoid potential catastrophic events while maintaining the most efficient plant operations possible. An advanced warning to potential danger, decreased production and downtime, both ultrasound and infrared offer quality and accurate diagnosis to ensure productivity, safety and profitability – enabling plants to remain one step ahead of the potential for failure.

Going Green-the colour of monetary anti-waste:

Billions of dollars are lost every year when calculating total energy waste. due to poor energy conservation through compressed air leaks alone. Another way of relating that figure and what most companies don’t realize is the total profit loss from compressed air leaks can amount to 40% of their electric bill. When taking those numbers into perspective, a large percentage of those figures could have been eliminated and utilized as company profit with the combined technology of ultrasound and infrared.

There is yet another upside to the use of ultrasound and infrared technologies. It’s a way for organizations to ͞go green͟. In addition to adding to the benefit of monetary increase, the conservation of energy is a global health necessity, especially now with the political upheaval that is stirring in regard to global warming. By initializing combined technologies of ultrasound and infrared there is a significant energy waste decline, which is an environmental effort to control the amount of wasted fuels, and control conditions that are presenting themselves as alarming hazards.

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