This case study demonstrates the measurable value of early detection of pump bearing deterioration in a global pharma company. With a vision to further improve their operational efficiency and reduce unplanned downtime, the company took a strategic step in July 2022. They integrated the Eastway Safeguard® System into their facility to proactively monitor equipment health. Eastway has been providing predictive maintenance services for this pharmaceutical company in two different countries, reinforcing its commitment to ensure the health and longevity of the equipment.

Case description

In February 2023, the Eastway Safeguard® System detected a gradual increase in both acceleration and velocity vibration values from the pump drive end side of a critical vacuum pump. While the trends at the pump non-drive end did not have a significant increase, only a slight jump in values. Figures 1 & 2 illustrate the unexpected increase in acceleration and velocity values from the pump drive end test point. Alerts were sent to site key personnel and the Eastway team and further analysis was initiated.

Figure 1. Vacuum Pump – Pump Drive End Acceleration Trend from Dec 2022 to Feb 2023

Figure 2. Vacuum Pump – Pump Drive End Velocity Trend from Dec 2022 to Feb 2023

Recommended Action

Based on the increasing vibration trends and detailed signature analysis of the FFT spectrum and waveforms, the Eastway team identified initial signs of bearing noise-related issues at the pump’s drive-end. This was further supported by a waterfall FFT comparison, as shown in Figure 3. The comparison highlighted both high and low-frequency noise increases, along with non-synchronous peaks, strongly suggesting bearing deterioration. The amplitudes of these frequencies were also noted to be intensifying over time. Given the critical nature of the equipment and its role in the company’s production line, the Eastway team recommended to carry out an inspection of the pump bearings at the next downtime.

Figure 3.  Acc FFT comparison for Vacuum Pump – Pump Drive End test point: Dec 2022 vs. Feb 2023

Action taken

Following the recommended actions from Eastway, the production and maintenance teams scheduled a maintenance intervention for the pump at the end of February 2023. During this intervention, the old bearings were found to be in the early phases of deterioration, showing clear signs of wear and stress. Following their replacement, vibration measurements indicated significant improvements. The vibration trend levels were stable and returned to acceptable limits. Due to these positive changes and the effective mitigation of potential risks, no further action was deemed necessary at this stage, see Figure 4.

Figure 4. Vacuum Pump – Pump Drive End Acceleration Trend from Jan to Aug 2023 showing a high decrease in values after Pump Bearings replacement.


This case confirms the benefits of using the Eastway Safeguard® System, by demonstrating the measurable value of early detection of pump bearing deterioration. This early detection enabled the rapid organization of the necessary tools and components, streamlining the maintenance process. Thus, in addition to identifying problems and dramatically reducing downtime, the detection also significantly increased the production uptime and lead time to plan and carry out maintenance work.

Table 1 highlights the importance of online monitoring. In this case, early detection of pump bearings was detected by the Eastway Safeguard® System, allowing timely corrective action.

Table 1. Estimated cost savings

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