Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery by Robert X. Perez and Andrew P. Conkey
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Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery by Robert X. Perez and Andrew P. Conkey

Troubleshooting is part science and part art. Simple troubleshooting tables or decision trees are rarely eff ective in solving complex, real-world machine problems. For this reason, the authors wanted to off er a novel way to attack machinery issues that can adversely aff ect the reliability and effi - ciency of your plant processes. Th e methodology presented in this book is not a rigid “cookbook” approach but rather a fl exible and dynamic process aimed at exploring process plant machines holistically in order to understand and narrow down the true nature of the problem. Th roughout this book.

The term process machinery will be used to refer to rotating machinery commonly encountered in processing plants, such as centrifugal pumps and compressors, reciprocating pumps and compressors, fans, steam turbines, and electric motors. Our fi rst book in this series, Is My Machine OK? deals, in large part, with assessing process machinery in the fi eld. Th is guide takes the assessment process to the next level by helping operators, mechanics, managers, and machinery professionals better troubleshoot process machinery in-situ, i.e., in the fi eld.

To be successful, the troubleshooter must be persistent, open-minded and disciplined. Once fi eld data is collected, an unbiased, logical approach to the fi nding is required to hone in on the most probable source of an observed symptom (or symptoms). Without a comprehensive and logical analysis of the fi ndings, the investigator is only guessing, which wastes valuable time and resources.

We hope those reading and using this guide will fully utilize the ideas and concepts presented to minimize maintenance cost and risk levels associated with machinery ownership.  Process machines are critical to the profi tability of processes. Safe, effi cient and reliable machines are required to maintain dependable manufacturing processes that can create saleable, on-spec product on time, and at the desired production rate.

As the wards of process machinery, we wish to keep our equipment in serviceable condition. One of the most challenging aspects of a machinery professional or operator’s job is deciding whether an operating machine should be shut down due to a perceived problem or be allowed to keep operating and at what level of operation. If he or she wrongly recommends a repair be conducted, the remaining useful machine life is wasted, but if he or she is right, they can save the organization from severe consequences, such as product releases, fi res, costly secondary machine damage, etc. Th is economic balancing act is at the heart of all machinery assessments.

Th e primary purpose of this guide is to help operators and machinery professionals troubleshoot machines that are in a process service and operating at design process conditions. Th e reader may ask: What is the diff erence between fi eld troubleshooting and other analysis methods such as a root cause analysis, failure analysis, and a root cause failure analysis?

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