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The Augury Resources » Podcasts » Episode 2

AMA: Best Vibration Analysis Setup?

Apr 22, 2024 29:37 Min Listen

In their first Ask Me Anything episode, Ed and Alvaro answer the burning question: what is the best vibration analysis setup? (Here’s a hint: it doesn’t involve a broomstick anymore.) They also cover how to convince the boss to adopt new technology.

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Full Transcript

Ed Ballina Hi there. I’m Ed Ballina.


Alvaro Cuba And I’m Alvaro Cuba. Good morning, good afternoon, good night, wherever you are listening to us, whatever time zone you’re in.


Ed Ballina So, Ed and Alvaro, I always get tempted to say the Clackett brothers because that used to be an NPR show of two car buffs. We’re not the  Clackett brothers, but we’re kind of manufacturing folks that want to join you and, maybe have the opportunity to answer some of your questions. can’t always guarantee the right answers, but we will give you an answer, right?


Alvaro Cuba That’s for sure. And we were discussing with Ed prior to the show the importance of this. Ask me a question. We wish we would have that in our old times. Sometimes you don’t have and you want an external perspective, and you just throw it out. As Ed says, we always have an answer, not always the correct one. But, yeah, we’ll do it. And the show really gets interesting if it brings your input and the ideas that you are experiencing or the things that you want to know or things. We just want to chat. This is a meetup, very casual, and that’s the idea. So please send us your questions, your jokes. We can tell your jokes, on the podcast, and anything that crosses your minds.


Ed Ballina Yeah, we want to make this fun. We want to make it interactive. And it’s really about you, right? Stories. Think of us as two manufacturing buddies who are sitting at the coffee shop after a hard day in the plant. And maybe you just joined manufacturing a few years ago, and you want to tap a little bit of experience that we’ve gathered over our decades in manufacturing for some ideas. I kind of compare this to whenever you have a chance to go to another manufacturing plant. Every single time I’ve walked into a facility, I learn something new. Every facility has a little trick that they’re really good at. And sometimes that information doesn’t get shared widely. Right. This is your opportunity. Let’s share this knowledge. That’ll make manufacturing a much more interesting place for all of us. Welcome to the Manufacturing Meet Up podcast, the show where we kick back on our downtime and get real about efficiency on the plant floor.

So, a little bit about, our backgrounds. Right? And if you want more details, refer to our previous podcast, where Alvaro and I go into a little bit more information about our backgrounds. I’ve spent roughly 40 years in manufacturing for three CPG companies, Procter and Gamble, Scott Paper, both paper making. I held paper-making roles there and then joined Pepsi in 1995. Worked there for 25 years and retired. And since I wanted more, I came back out of retirement to do some more consulting work for the beverage industry and kicked off a business doing filler valve rebuilds with my sons at the beginning of the year. So, it’s been busy. and I’m going to turn over to my partner in crime here, Alvaro Cuba, because he has an even more fascinating background than I do if that’s possible.


Alvaro Cuba No, no, no. Equally fascinating background. Anyone in manufacturing, I’m sure has plenty and plenty to share and discuss and all that. But we are lucky, my friend, we are lucky to have this experience in manufacturing. And I can tell you that because part of my background has been diversity. I’ve been in manufacturing, but I’ve also been in logistics, in sales, marketing. I had the opportunity, thanks to manufacturing, to work in six countries and well, lived in six countries and worked in many more and also in different industries. And all thank you to manufacturing, which is where I started. So, as Ed says, it’s plenty of opportunity. If you are open, you are curious, and you put yourself in. It’s a wonderful career. And yeah, we want, to share it with you, our experiences and our thoughts.


So, let’s go into it. let’s say you found a technology that you think will help in the plant. How would you sell the idea to senior leadership? So I will say two or three things that come to my mind is, one, if it’s really helpful in the plant, for sure you will have data. it’s important. The second one is the company has, it’s a strategy, and the senior leaders are bound to that strategy. So when you want that, and that’s sometimes different than the plant, no. In the plant, you are probably talking about GE or safety or quality. Senior management is probably talking about more sales or bottom line or cash flow.


So translate your results and the benefits into what senior management is looking after or is working for, then it’s going to be much easier for them to understand the impact on the business, not only in the plant, but on the business. And the third will be hard data, but also, technology today brings benefits on many levels. And Ed and I always talk about this; you can get OEE. But for sure, you are impacting safety, and you are impacting quality, and you can impact morale. So, bring also those elements into the discussion with senior management because they normally are seeing the big picture and the impacts on people, in business, in customers, consumers, and across. Ed, your thoughts?


Ed Ballina No, you’re spot on. I mean, the benefits that you get from employing technology to leverage your results are very widespread, right? Even when it comes down to morale of the workplace, if you have less failures, there’s less cleanup, there’s less, inherent danger in exposing folks to, you know, sharp objects, etcetera. So, it really does, help leverage across the whole supply chain.


And one key topic these days, right? We all want to be better when it comes to sustainability, right? And carbon footprint, etcetera. And sometimes, frankly, I struggle because I see companies spending a lot of time and energy, as well as they should. Right. On very, pinpoint sustainability solutions, which are great. Solar, you know, cogen, et cetera, leak detection. But in some cases, I wonder if we wouldn’t get a bigger return on our sustainability efforts if we put some of those resources to work on getting our lines to run better. Because we all know a good running line generates less waste, it uses a lot less electricity and whatever other utilities you use. so that was a quick aside, but specific to this topic. the only thing that, two things that I would add. One is don’t get enamored with the technology. Right. I had a conversation with a technology company, and they were asking me, I had been their customer, so what do we need to do differently? I said, listen, you’re a bunch of really, really capable and smart folks, but you’re trying to explain to me what happens in your black box when you gather the data and how you put that to different places. At the end of the day, most of us are intellectually curious, so we want to hear and we’re interested. But after about two minutes of that, I’m like, I got it. Not real deep, but enough to understand. Show me what you did for me. Right. So show me how that piece of equipment that you were monitoring. Right?


Alvaro Cuba show me the money.


Ed Ballina Show me the money. Absolutely. And the higher you go up the ladder, right? The more is, oh, well, we were going to prevent this motor from failing. Well, that’s great. So you got it. How much did we save? Well, the motor is probably $7,000, you know, 5 hours of downtime. I mean, at the higher levels, they. They don’t care what’s in the black box. They kind of do, but they don’t. They need enough to know how to trust it, but then show me how it really impacts. And one of the most powerful demonstrations that I had, I had somebody trying to sell me some predictive technology and I invited them to come to one of our plants, and I walked them out into our ammonia compressor area, which is some of the biggest equipment that we have. And I told them, use your tool. Tell me how these motors are running. Three of the motors, perfect. Not an issue. On the fourth one, they detected an anomaly that came back 24 hours later as a bearing, on the non-drive side of the motor that was starting to fail. Sure enough, a week and a half later when we took the motor apart, we found a cracked inner race; the bearing would have given out in X amount of time. Right. When I saw that I was sold, I was like, understand your technology enough to get a sense of why it works, right? And now you actually showed me proof of concept in the real world that you just, you probably just saved me 20 grand. Right. So that put together really, really helps sell the story. I think most people now are tech-savvy enough and open to new technology that what they don’t want to wind up with is serial number one right on your plans. A lot of us have experienced that and that’s not fun. You don’t want to be somebody’s R and D project. But if their technology’s got legs and it’s well established, absolutely. It’s a great sell.


Alvaro Cuba Yeah. In Ed’s example, that’s the money. And if it’s a constrained line, that’s sales, because that’s volume, that’s inventory.  And I’m sure it also impacts quality. So go for the big picture and go for exactly what they are looking for, which is related to the strategy of the company. In that moment we were talking with that, for instance, in the pandemic, everything was about cases out the door. Now, things are changing. Things are more about efficiencies and productivities or, strategies to bring the production. We were discussing about the bridge that collapsed, in Baltimore and the huge impact in supply chain.


Ed Ballina It’s interesting, as you mentioned, the bridge, if you think about it, over the last several months, we have had a number of supply chain disruptions past COVID. Everybody thought, okay, we’re good now. Well, we know what’s going on out in the Middle East and the impact it’s having on ship traffic through the Suez canal, et cetera. And now we have this bridge situation in Baltimore. I mean, but these things happen right, and the supply chain has to be resilient enough to deal with those. Five or six years ago, frankly, I looked at a number of AI Iot companies, and there was a lot of vaporware folks. It was like, oh, we can gather every piece of information from every sensor you have on your line, and we can show it to you. And I sat in a presentation, and what they showed me were some fancy excel graphs, and I was like, not quite what I had in mind. And I have to use the analogy of the mama bird, right? I said, hey, think about me as a baby bird, right? You can’t. If you’re the mama bird, you can’t give me a full worm for me to eat, right? You need to break up the worm. I hate to be too graphic, but you need to chew it up and make it digestible for me, the baby bird. So, as manufacturing folks, don’t give me the whole worm.


Alvaro Cuba You are more like the daddy bird.


Ed Ballina You’re right. I was. You always see the mama bird. It doesn’t matter.


Alvaro Cuba And good, you are talking about technology, because that is exactly the second question. A, traditional vibration analysis; B, AI-driven tech; C, a combination of both or something else. Floor is yours.


Ed Ballina I was extremely fortunate that when I worked in the paper industry, I was exposed to vibration analysis. I ran a product supply system composed of paper machines and converting assets. And in this facility, we had three vibration techs. These folks had retired from the US submarine service, where a lot of this vibration stuff was born. Because a loud sub, or a broken down sub, is usually a dead sub. So they pioneered the use of vibration analysis, which essentially is measuring the amount of force that a piece of equipment is being exposed to over a certain frequency. So how much movement? So amplitude and also displacement. And I love these guys. They would come in, and they would say, hey, Ed, we just checked tow roll number two on your paper machine. You’ve got a crack. They would be able to tell. Here’s what we think the problem is. Here’s the vibration spectrum. It happens at this frequency; it correlates with the. Anyway, I trusted those guys. They came into my office and said, hey, you got a problem, I’m shutting down. I worked for a person at that time that did not believe in vibration analysis, right? And I was getting ready to shut down our paper machine to preemptively change out a roll. This guy was my boss came out; he said, what are you doing? I said I’m getting ready to shut down. We’re going to take this out. He goes, oh, hold on. I’ve had a maintenance. I was a maintenance man for a long time. I kid you not. This man ran to the paper machine, put his hand on the bearing block, and said, oh, we’re not shutting down. This will run for weeks. I said, are you sure we have the data? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. 09:00 that night, I got the phone call. We’re down. The bearing went out. So I went into the plant, and at about 08:00 the next morning, we’re starting up, and my boss comes out and says, what’s going on? How come we were down? And despite my better judgment, I couldn’t help myself. I said to him, you know that bearing that you put your hands on yesterday and told me it’s going to rain for months? Yeah, 8:30 at night. I got a phone call in my house that it had ripped apart, and it took $50,000 worth of fabric with it. And he just looked at me, turned around, and walked away. So, believe in vibration analysis, right. And when I came into the bottling industry, I saw the opportunity. But, we typically couldn’t have a dedicated vibration analyst in our plants. And vibration analysis is something that if you don’t do it and if you’re not a professional in it, it’s almost impossible to make sense out of the data you get. So, long way to say there is a marriage between the traditional science of vibration analysis with AI and the Internet of Things, as we want to call it. So, for me, the perfect solution was when I found a company that could gather my vibration data without any interaction from me, send that information to an AI engine that would be able to analyze, compare the equipment to its history, compare equipment to, theoretical vibration, data as well as, like, pieces of equipment. That was the big deal. And then that actually got backed up by a vibration expert, an engineer that would make sure that the AI engine, you know, responded correctly. And I fell in love with that opportunity because I don’t need to hire full-time vibration analysts. I have a service that can provide that for me. Because going back to the, you know, my answer on the previous question, I don’t really care what goes on inside that little box. They stick on my piece of equipment, and I don’t know enough to analyze the vibration spectrum, but somebody can, and somebody can then provide me with the information I need to fix that piece of equipment and correct an issue before it creates a failure. So, yes, if you’re large enough and you wanna have a traditional vibration analyst or technician on your staff, go for it, right? Hugely effective. you have a person who can take those readings for you on an ongoing basis, very programmatic. Most facilities don’t have that capability. And here is where remote sensing and, ah, an AI engine backed by human beings make the difference. There are companies out there that will sell you a vibration sensor, right, that you put in a piece of equipment and it’ll alarm based on some algorithm. I’m sorry, I’ve seen these things in industry, and they are the equivalent of the check engine light on your car. So when that goes off, the filler operator or the packer operator may go, oh, I got to shut down, I have an alarm. But that’s as far as it goes. Now you’re left to wonder, what was it? Was it real? What was the root cause? Was it, you know, what’s going on here? So those kind of check engine lights really are not very efficient and usually get ripped out in a short period of time, many times because they provide a lot of false alarms and, you know, we’re like the village after the boy cries wolf about the second time. And it’s not real; we’re done with it. We’re like, we have no time for that kind of distraction. So couple it together. The technology, first of all, vibration technology, is amazingly mature. This stuff goes back to the fifties, if not earlier, but now, coupled with AI, perfect.


Alvaro Cuba I would echo what Ed is saying. His example with his boss, from touching to measuring, it was one leapfrog in that vibration and machine health. I think we are living now the next leapfrog, right? No, it’s from sensoring to this. Fully automatic sensors, AI, because the difference is not only that, now the technology can give you 99% accuracy on the failure or not failure, but it also tells you when artificial intelligence, which is the next generation, is learning from what is happening and based on that is, forecasting what is going to happen. The value of that for a maintenance team or for a production team is huge because it’s not only saying it’s not failing; you don’t need to change it. It’s saying the next three weeks will not happen, and most probably, you need to prepare for the fourth week to do it. But next week, I’ll give you an update, and then you can plan. And planning is money. Planning is calming the floor. There are many things that come with that, so. And Ed said it’s not rocket science, it is something you can do quickly and put it in your plant. So don’t be afraid. Just go for it. It’s a leap frog.


Ed Ballina Yep. as you were talking about technology, I just have to share with you. My first exposure to vibration analysis happened in a paper mill in Mahoopanyi, Pennsylvania, when I was a maintenance manager. And I went out just doing the job I’m learning. I went out to do a round, you know, with my maintenance tech. Right? So, for those of you who are in manufacturing, you know what this is. But, essentially, when you have these large processes, you assign your maintenance technicians to walk a prescribed route every – maybe it’s once a week, maybe it’s every two or three days, right? Well, this guy, it wasn’t quite that perfected back then because it was vibration analysis, right? Now imagine a paper mill, a very loud place. Everybody wears headphones. Preserve your hearing. Okay? So I’m walking out with him. We walk up to the first motor, and he’s got a broomstick with him. I’m like, that’s kind of interesting. He goes up, and he places one end of the broomstick right on the bearing housing and the other end of the broomstick on his on his muffs. I’m like, what? He goes, yeah, you can hear. And so he goes, yeah, you try it. Literally, you can. You can take a broomstick, put it on a bearing housing, put it on your ear muffs, and you can hear how that equipment is running. Right. And you can actually hear bearing noise if it starts going bad. This person did this three times a week, right? Do you think they had a database in their head of what normal looks like and sounds like? Absolutely. They may not have been a vibration expert, but that man, Bob Bauer, I still remember him today, knew what that bearing sounded like when he was running. Well, so, yeah.


Alvaro Cuba Okay. One bonus question for today, and the question was: how are you using mobile devices today on the plant floor? So you just show it, Ed. And you mentioned to me one great example the other day when you visit a plant, and you take the picture.


Ed Ballina Oh, yes. So one of the services I offer is called “two and a half”. It’s a deep dive. So I will go into a plant, a bottling line, let’s say, and I’ll spend two and a half days on the floor, essentially observing the operation, looking for anomalies or issues. And you’re out on the floor. I don’t like to carry a lot of stuff with me. In food plants, you’re really not supposed to have anything loose above waste, right? And you have to have all the proper PPE. So I take my phone with me. I use my phone. I’m a bit of an Apple fanboy. I use my phone, the Notes feature, to write down what the anomaly is. So the dead plate on that depalletizer is set way too high and is causing drop bottles. And then, I will take a picture or a video, and they form my report, right? I do a summary, kind of top line, but then I provide those notes with pictures and videos. And let me tell you, they are incredibly convincing when I’m trying to show somebody how they’re releasing pressure from a container after filling too abruptly, and it’s causing agitation. I can describe it, but if I can show them a video of those of you in bottling will know what a sniff rail is, right? It’s how you relieve pressure off a container after filling. If I show them their sniff rail exploding every time a container comes by because they’re releasing the pressure too fast, I don’t have to say much of anything else. They’re like, oh, my God, look at all that product that we’re losing. So, yes, this is an amazing tool. I just can’t believe all the uses this has.


Alvaro Cuba There is plenty of ways to use mobiles these days. I’ll just leave you with two: one – training. You can buddy someone with the mobile, you can share videos, you can talk, live, and the other is, nowadays, you go and see alert, actions come straight to your mobile. You don’t need to be running around. No, everything is in one. You don’t need to go look at five screens  and it comes when you need it because it’s the time to react. So there are plenty of ways to use mobiles these days. and I’m sure as new technology comes, but also the new job force that is coming, they are very tech savvy and are genius with mobiles. They are going to bring much more ways to be efficient and effective in the lines, in the plants.


Ed Ballina Yep, I agree. I never thought that I would be face-timing somebody as they’re showing me the transfer from their filler. Right? I mean, something as simple as that, right? there’s no motion capability on our phones to detect tripping points. It’s insane.


Alvaro Cuba Remember, in COVID times, everyone was videoing and mentioning and helping each other. So plenty of ways. Guys, thank you for participating in watching us. It’s great to have the meet up, but remember, a meet up is only valid if all the friends come around and we start bantering and discussing what happened to us in the shop floor that day. So please do that. Come with what happened to you that day and share with us, and we’ll discuss. So if you liked it, and you are in iTunes, please write us a comment and like us if you are in YouTube and it has been a pleasure.


Ed Ballina Oh, no, terrific. this is for you, by the way. Also send us, like, funny stories, right? 


Alvaro Cuba Yeah, manufacturing jokes.


Ed Ballina Alvaro and I were going to go on the road and do, like, some, you know, some mic, auditions, you know, with stand-up comedy, but we couldn’t. We tried that, we failed. So we need your help to make us a little more funny. But anyway, if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please follow us. Subscribe. Give us a like; if you’re on YouTube, leave us a review. If you’re listening on iTunes, share the podcast with your friends again; the more the merrier, right? Eventually, Alvaro, and I believe it or not, will run out of material. There’s only so much that we can remember from the last 40 years. Okay, so, anyway, look forward to seeing you next time and ask us anything.


Alvaro Cuba Yes. See you guys.

Meet Our Hosts

Alvaro Cuba

Alvaro Cuba has more than 35 years of experience in a variety of leadership roles in operations and supply chain as well as tenure in commercial and general management for the consumer products goods, textile, automotive, electronics and internet industries. His professional career has taken him to more than 70 countries, enabling him to bring a global business view to any conversation. Today, Alvaro is a strategic business consultant and advisor in operations and supply chain, helping advance start-ups in the AI and advanced manufacturing space.

Ed Ballina

Ed Ballina was formerly the VP of Manufacturing and Warehousing at PepsiCo, with 36 years of experience in manufacturing and reliability across three CPG Fortune 50 companies in the beverage and paper industries. He previously led a team focused on improving equipment RE/TE performance and reducing maintenance costs while improving field capability. Recently, Ed started his own supply chain consulting practice focusing on Supply Chain operational consulting and equipment rebuild services for the beverage industry.