[Event Wrap-Up] Basics of Vibration Analysis

By MarEx 2013-09-30 09:02:00

On Thursday, September 12, MarEx attended a Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers (SNAME) Southeast Section event presented by Advanced Mechanical Enterprises (AME) and Wartsila North America. The presentations highlighted the basics of vibration analysis, and the benefits of this process for ship maintenance.

In layman’s terms, vibration analysis is a highly technical diagnostic procedure in which machinery is surveyed in a vessel and the vibrations can pinpoint the problem.

“Ships are complex structures. You must collect the data correctly or you cannot analyze it.” – Rich Merhige, President, AME

Rich Merhige, President, AME has more than 30 years of experience in the maritime industry. He led a highly insightful discussion on why vibration analysis is a necessity for ship maintenance. It diagnoses major machine faults including imbalance, misalignment, mechanical looseness, bearing fault frequencies, gear mesh faults and more. Vibration is broken into three categories: comfort level (for passengers and crew), machinery reliability, and structure.

Merhige detailed a time when he worked on a platform supply vessel (PSV) that suffered from noticeable hull structural vibration, mainly in the forward ballast tanks and intensified with speed. His vibration analysis data determined that resonance was an issue, along with vortex shedding – which probably would not have been identified without this diagnostic analysis. To resolve this issue, AME advised the customer to add transverse stiffening to significantly reduce the vibration. The solution proved successful following structural bump tests and follow-up operational testing.

Paul Nailor, Area Sales Manager, Wartsila North America finished out the night with an informative presentation on water lubricated sealing products. He noted: “Seals and bearing support global fleets.” He introduced Wartsila’s new Bio Seal Ring that meets all new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations set for 2015. This product has a 5-year tested lifeline, and works with environmentally acceptable lubricants.

He continued on detailing seal/bearing solutions for the future. The company would like to completely remove the presence of oil under waterlines by using water lubricated seals and bearings. Currently, this offer mainly applies to military and commercial vessels, and provides them with environmentally sound alternatives and easy maintenance.

Also announced was a recently formed synergy between Advanced Mechanical Enterprises and Wartsila. AME has been named Authorized Distributor for Wartsila Seals, Bearings & Stern Tubes for the state of Florida.