Categories: Machinery Diagnostics,Condition Monitoring,Machinery Maintenance,Other Topics

Using the Smart Machine Checker as a Lubrication Tool

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By on July 10, 2018

The Fixturlaser Smart Machine Checker (SMC) is a great mechanic’s tool, for evaluating the overall health of rotating machinery.  But did you know it’s also a lubrication tool for greasing bearings?  Let me explain.

One of the vibration measurements in the SMC is called Bearing Defect Factor.  The Bearing Defect Factor is a measurement of high frequency impacting, such as occurs when grease is not lubricating a bearing.  The scale measures:

  • 0-6 Typical bearing measurement.
  • 6-9 Questionable bearing problem, early failure, or inadequate greasing.

If the SMC report indicates a lubrication problem, it typically recommends lubricating, and rechecking the bearing.

To use it as a bearing greasing tool:

Once the measurements for a bearing are collected, choose Measurement List.  This will show the vibration data on the bearing.

If the Bearing Defect Factor numbers are high, leave the sensor in place.


Once you switch to Measurement List, look on the right side of the screen, and press See.





From here, you can see overall values.  Press Next to display:

  • Velocity in three directions (if using the triaxial accelerometer. Press Next.
  • Acceleration in three directions. Press Next.

This will display the Bearing Defect Factor, in three directions.  Press Live.

While watching these overall levels, grease the bearing.  Wait a moment between strokes, to assure grease reaches the bearing.  You should see the numbers drop once the grease is delivered to the bearing.  To assure proper lubrication, additional strokes may be required, depending on the size of the bearing.

BEFORE GREASING                                                AFTER GREASING


Be aware that the Bearing Defect Factor is used to detect more than just lubrication problems.  It is recommended to recheck greased bearings with the SMC after 24 hours.  If defect numbers increase again, one additional greasing may help.  If you repeat this process once, and Bearing Defect Factor numbers come back high again, the bearing could be damaged, and should be replaced.

About the Author

Stan Riddle joined VibrAlign in 2008. He has over 35 years experience in aligning industrial machinery. Stan received his AAS Degree in Machinist Technology from Surry Community College in Dobson, NC, and also holds a diploma in Industrial Systems Technology from Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC, where he was also an instructor in the program.

Stan began his maintenance career working as a machinist and millwright for companies such as Weyerhaeuser, R.J. Reynolds, and Tyco Electronics. He also has over 25 years experience in Predictive Technologies, such as vibration analysis, thermography, oil analysis, and ultrasonic inspection. He is a certified Level III Vibration Analyst with the Vibration Institute, and is a Past Chairman and Board Member of the Piedmont Chapter.

Stan and his wife live in Yadkinville, NC.

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