All machines generate mechanical forces as part of their normal operation. As the machine condition deteriorates, these forces change causing an increase in vibration amplitude and frequency which can be measured and analyzed. Therefore machinery vibration analysis can be a very good indicator of the machine's health and operating condition.
Baseline vibration signatures (graph of amplitude versus frequency) recorded on the bearings and structure of a good operating machine show low vibration energy, and are used for comparison with future vibration signatures measured over time. If this trend shows an increase in vibration amplitude, its level or rate of change can be used to prioritize the severity of the growing problem in the machine. Analyzing the frequency response of this growing vibration can be used to diagnose the problem in the machine by correlating these frequencies to the forces that are generated by the various components (bearings, couplings, gears, rotors, etc.) which could be wearing or failing.
Therefore vibration analysis has become a very useful tool in day to day maintenance by predicting machinery problems before they become catastrophic, and for planning inspections and maintenance actions, which minimize downtime and costs in both parts and labor. This technology can also give you peace of mind that there are no mechanical problems in your machine and therefore can continue to operate and avoid unnecessary maintenance. The result is that machinery reliability increases, thereby increasing production and potential profits!