The Power of Video Vibration: Understanding

By Chad Pasho

Using a high resolution, high-speed optical sensor to collect vibration data has several advantages, such as collecting many data points at once to save time, and not having to put yourself or your equipment in harm’s way to do so. However, there are some innate benefits to using video as a sensing and analysis platform that warrant some reflection, since they represent a significant shift in the status quo.

Comprehensive Understanding for Analysis

Historically there has been a trade-off when doing vibration analysis between the number of data points sampled and the time required to do so. Since time is the equivalent of money in most diagnostic contexts, the cost of the problem often drives the extent to which data is gathered, leaving many resolvable problems under-evaluated, and time (money) wasted on living with the problem, or trial and error solutions. More data is generally better for understanding complex situations, but we’ve learned to make do, and get by with a limited perspective.

Using video, this threshold for understanding vibration behavior in a multi-component reality has effectively been removed. Now in a matter of minutes, a diagnostician can collect and analyze data for an entire machine train, including the associated piping and foundation. In hours, a plant’s entire piping network can be surveyed, analyzed, and then tracked over time. No longer is there a want for vibration data with no reasonable means to attain it. This is changing the way we do things, and takes some adjusting to, but we’re excited about it, and think you will be too.

Understanding Throughout the Organization

Oftentimes, coming to a technical understanding of a problem is only half way there. The ultimate path to resolution lies in convincing decision makers to take action. It is up to them to balance many factors, including environmental and financial risk, as well as more challenging dynamics such as “politics”. Ambiguity and lack of data make this balancing act much more difficult. Data presented as FFTs and modeled “artificial” operating deflection shape (ODS) animations still require an uncomfortable leap of faith for many. Having comprehensive data that is presented in a clear, easy-to-understand, reality-based visual medium helps reduce some of the risk involved in decision-making, and facilitates organizational alignment toward solutions, not fretting over ambiguity from lack of data.

We readily admit this is not a panacea for all vibratory woes, but we also understand that many of the previous challenges originate from not seeing the entire picture, and once seen, this literal picture tends to reveal both the problem and the solution. To learn more about video vibration and motion magnification and if they might be helpful for your organization, click here.


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