Vibration Sensor Data can Help Prevent Major Equipment Problems at Sea

Seattle-based data analytics specialist ioCurrents and has joined forces with the Malvern, Pa., based ifm group of companies to provide ship operators with a solution that enables data from ifm’s sensitive vibration sensors to be analyzed to avoid serious equipment deterioration and misalignment by analyzing vibration sensor data.

Image: iO Currents

While annual vibration surveys can pinpoint anomalous equipment behaviour, this does not help identify potential issues caused by vibrations when at sea so that corrective action can be taken before a serious engine or generator malfunction causes major voyage disruption.

However, ioCurrents has teamed up with ifm to produce vibration data analytics that give notifications in real time so that Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) plans can be created, allowing repairs to be made before a serious issue arises due to equipment breakdowns.

Working with equipment manufacturers, ioCurrents can build a complete vibration analysis report which will summarize all vibrations on a vessel to show looseness, friction and impact across all equipment onboard the vessel. Alerts can be set-up if vibrations fall outside prescribed vibration specifications.

Crews can then use this information to schedule appropriate maintenance work in good time to avoid expensive delays or off-hires.

As an example, ioCurrents cites the case of a customer whose problems with loose mechanical components due to excessive vibration had resulted in multiple failures in the $40,000-80,000 range, plus further expenses caused by downtime, labor, drydock time and additional parts.

Using ifm’s sensors, ioCurrents was able to use the high frequency vibration data to prescribe thresholds on friction, looseness and impact. Since onboarding the vibration sensors, says ioCurrents, within 90 days, impact and looseness alerts had caught two imminent failures and prevented $100,000-plus in parts, downtime, drydock time and labor costs.

“ifm has a long pedigree of supplying hyper-accurate vibration data which we can use to determine when the crew needs to be alerted once manufacturer’s thresholds have been breached. In this way repairs can be affected before serious equipment malfunctions happen saving ship operators time and money,” said Kiersten Henderson, Ph.D., senior data scientist at ioCurrents.

“Teaming up with ioCurrents was a great way to ensure that maritime clients received actionable insights from the data picked up by our sensors,” said Jordan Annunziato, application engineer at ifm. “Equipment malfunctions due to vibrations can be costly, not only from an operational point of view, but can also adversely affect the crew’s mental and physical well-being. Being able to react quickly to alerts so that potentially serious problems can be nipped in the bud is so important. Not only does it save money but it is important from a safety and sustainability perspective, too.”



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