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Home » A Trade Transformed: 20 Years Of Vibration Analysis

A Trade Transformed: 20 Years Of Vibration Analysis

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Augury vibration analyst Timothy Fusch has watched his profession change radically over the last two decades. “It used to be that VAs were seen as the bringers of bad news. Now we’re seen as trusted partners in creating value on the manufacturing line. That’s a massive change.”

The Green Years

Portrait of Timothy Fusch
Timothy Fusch

“Around twenty years ago, I was working at a nondestructive testing company – industrial radiography, ultrasonic testing, things of that nature – and I was asked to help an injured colleague in collecting oil samples. I obliged: climbing the ladders and skimming off the oil. After a few months, they asked me if I would be interested in learning how to collect and analyze vibration data. I said ‘sure’ and they handed me a rather crude analyzer – smartphones were still a long way off. A month later the guys told me I was ‘qualified’. Later, I learned that these same guys were as green as I was. It was fresh for everyone.”

“But I’m a car guy through and through. I love having my head under the hood. So, machines make a natural sort of sense to me. And I was very eager to learn. I found it fascinating to figure out how to diagnose a machine – using data to get insight into what was happening internally. But I spent the first six months just guessing. Only when my employer finally sent me to a few training classes did I start getting these big a-ha moments. Fast forward five years and I was still totally engrossed. I earned my first Category II VA certificate in 2005 and it continued to evolve from there.”

That Eureka Moment

“Fast forward fifteen years and I really can’t believe I’m working from home. Before it was all about working in the field doing rout-based data collection. At the time I couldn’t imagine it ever being any different. I always felt in order to be a good vibration analyst, you had to be standing at the equipment and taking in all the available information. I would have never guessed that it would evolve to where we are today.”

“Even when I first started to hear industry buzzwords like ‘remote sensors’ and ‘wireless’, I was very slow to accept. But now I see what an incredible journey it’s been in terms of how we do our work. Of course, if you’re just entering the field, you still need to spend time with the machines to really develop your skill set.”

“This realization about constant learning was what turned me from being an okay VA to being a much better VA.”

“But at the same time, every analyst approaches their troubleshooting process a little bit differently. For me to learn these different approaches, I had to apply all my past experiences into moving forward. Someone else may follow a different process. But in the end, we both end up at the same spot and are able to make the same diagnosis. You can only use that experience and knowledge you have to help you be better than you were the day before. And this realization about constant learning was what turned me from being an okay VA to being a much better VA.”

Accelerated Learning

“Now at Augury, the learning is just obviously accelerating. I already saw this when I first discovered the company on LinkedIn and saw the sort of information they were sharing. It was the main reason why I applied. The culture was also attractive. And during the interview process while Augury was doing their vetting process, I was doing mine. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a ruse or a façade. But everyone I talked to had a smile on their face. That meant a lot to me. It meant they were happy. And now that I’ve been onboard for almost a year, it’s everything I hoped it would be.”

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that working remotely was also a big attraction. I used to be traveling 70% of the time and commuting to the office when I wasn’t at a customer site. Don’t get me wrong: I got to see lots of different places in the world. But now I have so much of my life back. I can spend more time under the car hood.”

“I’m just happy to be on this rollercoaster – riding the wave. It’s exciting to be part of something bigger than myself while still doing something I love.” 

Delivering On The Promise

“I’ve also witnessed what a good job Augury has done at positioning themselves with our speedy ROI. We’re able to provide value to the customer and show we can add value to their facility with our accurate analysis and solid recommendations. You can’t get far in this industry, if you can’t deliver what you promised.”

“And by delivering what we promise, we are also able to grow and get the attention of big industry players like Baker Hughes, Grundfos and GAF. If they believe so much in us then we must be doing something right. It’s crazy how fast it’s going. And I’m just happy to be on this rollercoaster – riding the wave. It’s exciting to be part of something bigger than myself while still doing something I love.” 

Building The Trust

“What it means to be a VA has changed a lot. It used to be that we were seen as the bringers of bad news. That’s a misconception that still lingers. Instead, we’re the ones customers can rely on to give them solid advice so they can make the best decisions about the health of their machines. It’s about guidance and support. It’s about building relationships on a foundation of trust.”

“And as long as I keep learning and keep my mind open, I’ll always be able to deliver the goods.”


Read the rest of the ‘Life of a Vibration Analyst’ series:

Aiming to Be Obsolete: Behind the Scenes with Augury’s Manager of Reliability Operations
Bringing The Factory Home: A Day In The Life Of A Vibration Analyst
A Fitbit For Machines: With Vibration Analysis, The Goal Is To Extend Life

Or learn more about Augury’s machine health and reliability solutions: reach out!

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