Vibration Spectrum Analyzers for Machine Diagnostics and Predictive Maintenance

Nov. 8, 2006
Datastick Systems, Inc., today introduced the VSA(TM)-1214 and VSA-1215 Vibration Spectrum Analyzers, its new-generation PDA-based vibration data collectors and analyzers that enable facilities of all sizes to use vibration analysis in machine-condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and routine troubleshooting to reduce costs and downtime. The announcement was made by Michael Scandling, Vice President of Marketing, at the Datastick Systems, Inc., headquarters in Silicon Valley. The pocket-sized system includes the all-new Datastick® VSA-1214 or VSA-1215 Vibration Spectrum Analyzer module attached to a state-of-the-art Palm T|X handheld computer with Datastick Spectrum version 1.6 software, which collects vibration measurements and displays and stores them as time waveforms and FFT spectra. The system also includes the new version 1.6 of Datastick Reporting System(TM) (DRS) for VSA, which imports the data from the handheld into a special Microsoft® Excel®-based application on the PC. The new products are shipping this week. "Datastick continues to knock down the barriers that prevent facilities from taking advantage of the cost savings, reduced downtime, and increased reliability that result from vibration analysis as part of predictive maintenance," said Scandling. "Starting with price, going on to ease of use, and finally to the big hurdle of lack of in-house vibration expertise in many facilities, Datastick eases the way. Our entry-level VSA-1214 sells for under $4,000, and operational training is quick and easy. Most important, customers don't need in-house vibration analysts because our completely open PC software is based on Excel -- they can email their data to the consultant of their choice." Datastick customer Craig Clark, Manager of Engineering and Maintenance for BBA Fiberweb's Industrial Division said, "In my opinion, the Datastick VSA handhelds offer the highest capability-to-cost ratio. Think about it: for less than $5,000, I can avert a $200,000 bearing failure. In terms of ROI, I can't think of a better investment." The new system features a new Datastick hardware module with a completely redesigned, extremely low-noise analog input for standard ICP®-type accelerometers and velocity sensors, optimized digital circuitry, and a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery with proprietary power management circuitry to allow the VSA-1215 to operate and power ICP sensors far beyond an eight-hour shift. The VSA-1215 system displays and records overall vibration and ISO vibration severity alerts, as well as acceleration waveforms with a resolution of up to 6,400 points (3,200 points for the VSA-1214); and acceleration, velocity, or displacement spectra with up to 3,200 lines of FFT resolution (1,600 FFT lines for the VSA-1214). User-selectable maximum frequencies range from 20 KHz down to 50 Hz (10 KHz to 50 Hz for the VSA-1214). The tenth-order hardware antialiasing filter provides an extremely clean signal, while new low-noise electronics and specialized algorithms keep the noise floor so low that velocity signals are useable down to 1 Hz (60 CPM - cycles per minute). "The VSA-1215 shows low-frequency velocity and displacement peaks that get buried in noise with many other handheld units -- even systems that cost two to four times as much," said Steve Sabram, Datastick Chief Technology Officer and President. "Some handheld systems can't go below 10 Hz for velocity and displacement. The VSA-1215 allows the user to go down to 1 Hz and even below that, if he needs to, so he can actually see what's happening at low frequencies -- especially subharmonics on machines with operating speeds from 1,800 RPM to below 600 RPM." The new version 1.6 Datastick Spectrum software for the Palm handheld computer takes full advantage of the Palm T|X's bright, high-resolution 320 x 480 pixel full-color display--the largest display in any non-tablet handheld vibration analyzer. The display can be oriented to either portrait or landscape views to make it easier to see nuances in FFT spectra. The spectrum, overall vibration, and ISO-based alert levels are all encompassed in one comprehensive view. Cursor-position readouts show specific values and harmonic orders when the user touches a data point with a finger or the handheld computer's stylus, and the stylus and touch screen can also be used to zoom and pan directly to areas of interest. Datastick Spectrum version 1.6 allows users to record vibration data directly onto removable Secure Digital (SD) cards that have been inserted into the Palm handheld. SD cards with capacities of 2 GB and higher are commonly available, and users can use as many cards as they like, so overall storage capacity is unlimited. Users transfer vibration data to a PC either by using the Palm handheld's pushbutton HotSync® feature or by copying the data directly from the SD card. Datastick Reporting System (DRS) on a Windows® PC automatically organizes the information by machine and creates histories so you can analyze the machine behavior over time. Reports are created with just a mouse click, and since DRS is based on Excel, Datastick users can share data freely across a network or by email.