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  • Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery

  • Scrivener Publishing100 Cummings Center, Suite 541J

    Beverly, MA 01915-6106

    Publishers at ScrivenerMartin Scrivener (

    Phillip Carmical (

  • Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery

    Robert X. Perez and Andrew P. Conkey

    Including Centrifugal Pumps and Compressors, Reciprocating Pumps and Compressors, Fans,

    Steam Turbines, Electric Motors, and More

  • Copyright 2016 by Scrivener Publishing LLC. All rights reserved.

    Co-published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey, and Scrivener Publishing LLC, Salem, Massachusetts.Published simultaneously in Canada.

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or other wise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc., 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 750-4470, or on the web at Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at

    Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best eff orts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accu-racy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifi cally disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fi tness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. Th e advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profi t or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

    For general information on our other products and services or for technical support, please contact our Customer Care Department within the United States at (800) 762-2974, outside the United States at (317) 572-3993 or fax (317) 572-4002.

    Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic formats. For more information about Wiley products, visit our web site at

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    Cover design by Kris Hackerott

    Library of Congr ess Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

    ISBN 978-1-119-29413-9

    Printed in the United States of America

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


  • Th e authors would like to dedicate this book to their wives, Elaine Perez and April Conkey, for all their help and encouragement.

  • vii


    Preface xi

    Acknowledgements xv

    1 Troubleshooting for Fun and Profi t 11.1 Why Troubleshoot? 101.2 Traits of a Successful Troubleshooter 13

    2 An Insight in Design: Machines and Th eir Components Serve a Function 192.1 An Overview of the Design Process 302.2 Complex Machine Element Environments 34

    3 Machinery Design Issues and Failure Modes 373.1 Common Failure Modes 44

    3.1.1 Pluggage 453.1.2 Erosive Wear 453.1.3 Fatigue 463.1.4 Compressor Blade Fatigue Example 473.1.5 Bearing Failure 493.1.6 Rubbing 503.1.7 Unique Failure Modes 50

    4 Machinery in Process Services Th e Big Picture 53

    5 Causes Versus Symptoms 615.1 Causal Chains 665.2 Summary 71

    6 Approach Field Troubleshooting Like a Reputable News Reporter 73

  • viii Contents

    7 Th e What Questions 777.1 What is the Problem or What Are the Symptoms? 787.2 What Is Your Assessment of the Problem? 807.3 What Is at Stake? 857.4 What Risk Is at Hand? 867.5 What Additional Information Is Required? 87

    8 Who Knows the Most About the Problem? 91

    9 When Do the Symptoms Show Up? 97 9.1 When Questions to Ask 100 9.2 Ways to Display Time Related Data 101 9.3 Timelines 102 9.4 Trend Plots 106 9.5 Constant Amplitude Trends 110 9.6 Step Changes 110 9.7 Gradual Versus Rapidly Changing Trends 111 9.8 Correlations 113 9.9 Speed-Related Issues 1149.10 Erratic Amplitude 117

    10 Where Do the Symptoms Show Up? 12110.1 Locating a Machine-Train Problem 12210.2 Troubleshooting Problems Involving

    Multiple Machine-Trains 12810.3 Multiple Versus Single Machine Train Examples 13010.4 Analyzing Noises, Pings, and Knocks 13210.5 Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel 135

    11 Why Is the Problem Occurring? 13711.1 Fitting the Pieces Together 13911.2 Reciprocating Compressor Example 14211.3 Troubleshooting Matrices 14311.4 Assessing Machine with Multiple Symptoms 144

    12 Analyze, Test, Act, and Confi rm (Repeat as Needed) 14712.1 Th e Iterative Path to the Final Solution 150

  • Contents ix

    13 Real-World Examples 15513.1 Case Study #1 155

    13.1.1 Closing Comments 15813.2 Case Study #2 158

    13.2.1 Closing Comments 16313.3 Case Study #3 163

    13.3.1 Closing Comments 17013.4 Case Study #4 17013.5 Case Study #5 174

    13.5.1 Closing Comments 179

    14 Th e Hourglass Approach to Troubleshooting 18114.1 Th inking and Acting Globally 186

    15 Vibration Analysis 18715.1 Vibration Analysis Primer 18815.2 Identifying Machine Vibration Characteristics 201

    16 Applying the 5Qs to Rotordynamic Investigations 20716.1 Introduction 208

    16.1.1 Rotordynamics: A Brief Overview 20816.2 Using Rotordynamic Results for Troubleshooting 21316.3 Closing 222

    17 Managing Critical Machinery Vibration Data 22717.1 Vibration Analysis Strategies 230

    18 Closing Remarks 23518.1 Practice the Method 23518.2 Provide Training on Fault Trees and Cause Mapping 23618.3 Employ Team Approach for Complex Problems 23618.4 Get Managements Support 237

    Appendix A: Th e Field Troubleshooting ProcessStep by Step 239

    Appendix B: Troubleshooting Matrices and Tables 249

    Index 351

  • xi


    Troubleshooting is part science and part art. Simple troubleshooting tables or deci-sion trees are rarely eff ective in solving complex, real-world machine problems. For this reason, the authors wanted to off er a novel way to attack machinery issues that can adversely aff ect the reliability and effi -ciency of your plant processes. Th e meth-odology presented in this book is not a rigid cookbook approach but rather a fl exible and dynamic process aimed at exploring process plant machines holistically in order to understand and narrow down the true

  • xii Preface

    nature of the problem. Th roughout this book, the term process machinery will be used to refer to rotating machinery com-monly encountered in processing plants, such as centrifugal pumps and compres-sors, reciprocating pumps and compressors, fans, steam turbines, and electric motors. Our fi rst book in this series, Is My Machine OK? deals, in large part, with assessing pro-cess machinery in the fi eld. Th is guide takes the assessment process to the next level by helping operators, mechanics, managers, and machin-ery professionals better troubleshoot process machinery in-situ, i.e., in the fi eld. To cover the topic of troubleshooting, the authors will cover the following topics in this book:

    What fi eld troubleshooting means and entails

    How to use this guide as a complement to Is My Machine OK?

    Using the who, what, when, where, why troubleshooting methodology

    How to use cause maps to investigate possible causes

    Real-world case studies How to use machine-specifi c trouble-

    shooting tables

  • To be successful, the troubleshooter must be per-sistent, open-minded and disciplined. Once fi eld data is collected, an unbiased, logical approach to the fi nding is required to hone in on the most probable source of an observed symptom (or symptoms). Without a comprehensive and logi-cal analysis of the fi ndings, the investigator is only guessing, which wastes valuable time and resources. We hope those reading and using this guide will fully utilize the ideas and concepts pre-sented to minimize maintenance cost and risk levels associated with machinery ownership.

    Robert X. Perez and Andy P. Conkey

    Preface xiii

  • xv


    Th e authors would like to thank the following individuals for their help in reviewing this book and improving its contents with many useful sug-gestions. Th is book would not have been pos-sible without their contributions, inspiration and support:

    Ken Atkins, Engineering DynamicsDavid Lawhon, Shell Oil

    Julian LeBleu, Machinery ConsultantCarol Conkey, Copy Editor

  • 1

    1Troubleshooting for Fun and Profi t

    Process machines are critical to the profi tability of processes. Safe, effi cient and reliable machines are required to maintain dependable manufac-turing processes that can create saleable, on-spec

  • 2 Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery

    product on time, and at the desired production rate. As the wards of process machinery, we wish to keep our equipment in serviceable condition.

    One of the most challenging aspects of a machin-ery professional or operators job is deciding whether an operating machine should be shut down due