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Top 10 Rotating Equipment Issues Manufacturers Face

Rotating equipment refers to machines that utilize rotating parts to perform their primary function. These machines or equipment, including engines and valves, play a pivotal role in many different industries, including manufacturing, power generation, oil and gas, and more.

Some examples of rotating equipment include:

Pumps: Pumps move liquids or gases from one place to another. They use mechanical action to create a vacuum, enabling the fluid to flow into valves and other types of equipment and then pushing it out to its destination.

Compressors: Compressors increase fluid pressure, which can then be used to power other machinery or stored for later use.

Turbines: Turbines convert energy from a fluid flow into mechanical energy, which can be used to drive other machines or generate electricity.

Motors: Motors convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, often used to drive other rotating machinery like pumps and fans.

Fans and Blowers: Fans and blower devices move air or other gases, often for cooling or ventilation purposes.

Gearboxes: Gearboxes alter the speed or torque of the output shaft from a motor, allowing the connected machinery to operate at the necessary speed.

Each piece of rotating equipment requires specific maintenance and operating practices to keep it running efficiently and reliably. Their role in manufacturing processes makes them critical for the smooth operation of many industries. However, like all mechanical systems, they are not exempt from potential problems. This post will discuss the top 10 rotating equipment issues that manufacturers often grapple with and possible solutions to mitigate these challenges.

  1. Poor Maintenance Practices: Even the most robust rotating equipment will fail without proper maintenance. Lack of regular inspections, inadequate lubrication, or deferred maintenance tasks can lead to premature failure and unscheduled downtime. Adopting predictive maintenance and condition monitoring techniques can reduce these issues.
  2. Misalignment: Equipment misalignment is a frequent problem that can result in excessive vibration, bearing wear, shaft damage, and equipment failure. Monitoring harmonics allows you to catch misalignment early and prevent further damage.
  3. Incorrect Installation: Missteps during installation, like over-tightening belts, incorrect mounting, or unbalanced rotors, can cause severe issues. Manufacturers should ensure technicians are properly trained and provide clear documentation to ensure installation is done correctly.
  4. Inadequate lubrication, especially in rotating equipment like gears and reciprocating compressors, can lead to significant wear and tear.: Under- or over-lubrication can lead to equipment wear and failure. It's crucial to use the correct type of lubricant in the right quantity and at appropriate intervals. Regular training on lubrication practices and having a robust oil analysis program are recommended.
  5. Vibration Issues: Excessive vibration can cause considerable damage, including bearing failures, structural damage, or even machinery failure. Implementing vibration monitoring and analysis tools can help detect and correct these issues before they cause damage.
  6. Operational Overload: Operating equipment beyond its designed capacity can cause undue wear and tear, overheating, and premature failure. Always adhere to manufacturer specifications and operational limits to avoid overloading.
  7. Temperature Fluctuations: Extreme temperature changes can cause components to expand and contract, leading to misalignment, wear, and failure. Monitoring and maintaining proper operating temperatures can help avoid these problems.
  8. Contamination: Dust, dirt, and other contaminants can significantly affect the performance of rotating equipment, leading to issues like bearing failure or lubrication problems. Implementing contamination control strategies can help prolong equipment's lifespan.
  9. Component Wear and Tear: Regular use of equipment leads to inevitable wear and tear on components. Regular inspections, timely replacement of worn-out parts, and use of high-quality components can help manage this issue.
  10. Inadequate Training: Improper equipment handling due to lack of training can lead to many issues, from incorrect installation to poor maintenance. Ensuring that all staff members handling the equipment are adequately trained is key to avoiding many potential problems.

While rotating equipment can present numerous challenges, understanding these potential problems and implementing proactive measures can significantly reduce their impact. Regular maintenance, continuous training, and advanced monitoring tools are critical in managing these challenges and ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your rotating equipment.

How can mechanical failure in rotating equipment be prevented?

Mechanical failure in rotating equipment can be prevented through regular maintenance, monitoring operating conditions, and using high-quality materials and seals.

How do gas compressors play a crucial role in the petroleum and petrochemical industries?

Gas compressors are crucial in the petroleum and petrochemical industries for maintaining the flow rates, densities, and specific motion required for various processes such as supply, discharge, and heat transfer.

Why are centrifugal compressors widely used in natural gas and chemical processing facilities?

Centrifugal compressors are widely used in natural gas and chemical processing facilities due to their high efficiency, reliability, wide operating range, and ability to handle various differential pressures and flow rates.

What analytical and laboratory techniques are relevant in determining rotating equipment performance and potential defects?

Analytical techniques such as vibration analysis, lubricant analysis, and laboratory tests for material and seal integrity are relevant in determining the performance and potential defects in rotating equipment.

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