Predicting Gearbox Failures with PeakVue™ and Wireless Monitoring

Predicting Gearbox Failures with PeakVue™ and Wireless Monitoring

How Can You Be Sure You Won’t Miss a Problem?
Not long ago at SABIC UK Petrochemicals, vibration data collection and analysis for their olefins cracker pumps were performed manually. Between the manual readings, however, potential problems sometimes arose that led to higher maintenance costs and reduced plant availability.
Simply put, SABIC “wanted to improve the monitoring of critical pumps at the Olefins plant in Teesside,” according to David Hambling, SABIC instrument electrical technical engineer.

Continuous Monitoring in an Easily Created Wireless Network
The SABIC olefins team chose to install a wireless condition monitoring and prediction system that included the AMS 9420 Wireless Vibration Transmitter and PeakVue technology.
Since the plant already had an Emerson Smart Wireless network, the installation of the wireless vibration transmitters was simple, and the devices started broadcasting machinery health alerts based on the vibration readings to the distributed control system almost immediately. In the future, the established mesh network will simplify adding or relocating wireless-enabled devices for additional process information from remote or difficult-to-access locations.
At the site, the AMS 9420 measured overall vibration and temperature, while PeakVue technology detected faults that could cause friction, impacting, and fatigue—particularly in gearbox and rolling element bearings. The monitoring system reported machinery health alerts every 30 minutes and conducted an in-depth, full-spectrum analysis once every day.

Detection before Failure
Since installation, Emerson’s online vibration monitoring system has detected a number of problems that could have resulted in equipment failure, including a chipped tooth on a gearbox gear and an impending bearing failure.
Identifying and rectifying potential problems earlier has helped minimize pump failures and maintenance costs and has improved maintenance scheduling. It also has helped reduce the risk of unexpected failures that can result in lost production as well as safety and environmental incidents.


“Wireless monitoring has shown itself to be a valuable tool in our condition monitoring armory. Predicting failures in gearboxes of this type can make considerable savings on any subsequent turnaround and help to keep equipment available.”
- David Hambling, Instrument Electrical Technical Engineer, SABIC UK Petrochemicals

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