Paul Seammen is a PEME Operations Manager with a wealth of experience from working on our maintenance outsourcing contracts and introducing reliability improvement initiatives. He has introduced a predictive maintenance task that avoids costly down-time, delivers real benefits to our client and reduces the risk from a potentially dangerous atmosphere.
Paul is shown alongside the reverse jet diaphragm valves associated with the powder silo’s in a chemical manufacturing plant.
- The valves pulse air into filter bags to clean them so they do not blind.
- Due to the local operating context the valve diaphragms perish leading to inappropriate operation, powder build-up on the filter bags causing them to blind, loss of compressed air and potentially an explosive atmosphere.
- Safety systems stop production and production does not resume until the valves are repaired, the effected filter bags replaced and the atmosphere made safe.
- This was having a significant, uncontrolled impact on production and posed an unacceptable risk to safety.
Paul advises “the equipment was being operated on a run-to-failure basis, which meant no attempt was made to spot any degradation, in this case the onset of the diaphragms perishing, and we were suffering significant secondary damage as a result of the failure effects. This was hurting us, so I looked to see if a smarter approach could be introduced”.
- The solution that Paul has successfully trialled, with the PEME CBM team, is the introduction of an acoustics technique.
- Use of a touch probe with acoustic equipment set to identify ultrasound in the 25kHz region allows for non-intrusive identification of developing defects.
- Acoustic identifies the baseline readings of a serviceable valve and then routine monitoring identifies an increase in decibel level associated with the leakage of air from a perishing diaphragm.
- This allows the failing valve to be scheduled for corrective maintenance at a time that suits production.
- Prevents a potential explosive atmosphere.
- Achieves maximum economic life of the filter bags and diaphragms because they are only replaced when they are failing and secondary damage, which causes premature failure, is avoided.
- Energy savings by averting wastage of compressed air.
- Avoids production downtime by predicting failure and conducting the remedial action when the asset is not in production.