Online condition monitoring is a crucial element in maintaining zero downtime in the pharma industry. Recognized for its commitment to quality and precision, pharma manufacturing requires machinery that maintains the highest operational standards. A typical mill in a pharma company site, plays a critical role in the production process, ensuring the fine grinding and consistent quality of ingredients. In May 2022, to further increase the reliability and efficiency of their operations, the production site integrated the Eastway Safeguard® System. This online condition monitoring system not only continuously monitored equipment health, but also relates to the company’s internal software, ensuring real-time updates and data-backed insights into its performance.

Case description

At the end of January 2023, the Eastway Safeguard® System began to detect high values in the mill’s operation within the pharma company. The online condition monitoring system recorded an increase in both velocity and acceleration values of the mill’s motor. Such irregularities, especially in an environment where maintaining zero downtime is crucial, raised immediate concerns. Figure 1 provides a visualization of the vibration velocity (mm/s) trend observed from January to April 2023, highlighting the gradual increase in spikes.

Figure 1. Mill Motor Non-Drive End Velocity Trend from Jan to April 2023

Recommended Action

Upon detecting unusual patterns through the Eastway Safeguard® System, our remote monitoring team investigated further into the vibration data emerging from the mill’s motor. Using a series of advanced tools, the vibration FFT spectra (Fast Fourier Transform) and time waveform signatures were carefully examined. This analysis showed clear indications of anomalies in the motor. The FFT acceleration spectra (displayed in Figure 2) and the time-waveform (highlighted in Figure 3) showed signs that the motor’s internal balance was compromised, indicating potential internal abnormalities or even mechanical looseness. It was recommended to carry out an inspection of the mill’s motor internally.

Figure 2. FFT velocity spectra (mm/s RMS) recorded in March 2023

Figure 3. Time-waveform (g RMS) recorded in March 2023

Action taken

Following Eastway’s recommendations, the maintenance team decided to replace the motor mill in May 2023. This proactive decision, supported by the data-driven insights from the Eastway Safeguard System, played a crucial role in maintaining the operational efficacy of the mill. Following the planned motor mill replacement, a significant decrease in vibration values was recorded, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Mill Motor Non-Drive End Velocity Showing Values After Motor Replacement


After the planned maintenance corrective actions, the Eastway Safeguard® System’s data indicated that the mill motor’s vibration levels returned to satisfactory levels. At present, there is no need for additional interventions. This early detection was essential for maintaining zero downtime through resource planning and preparation, optimizing repair times and ensuring that production schedules were not affected as planned.

Table 1 highlights the importance of continuous monitoring. In this case, early detection of the motor’s deterioration condition via the Eastway Safeguard® System allowed for timely corrective actions.

Table 1. Estimated cost savings

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