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  1. Real-time maintenance
  2. Vibration


What if your equipment could provide alarms before it fails? The detection and integrated evaluation of vibration signals serves as the basis for the seamless integration of online condition monitoring and real-time maintenance into automation and control systems.

  • Eliminate unplanned downtime due to equipment failures.
  • Monitor key machine condition indicators to predict and plan maintenance activities.
  • Implement advanced real-time vibration monitoring without the complexity of traditional systems.
  • Integrate easily into your process systems.


Systems for vibration monitoring -- from sensor to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

ifm provides a wide range of vibration solutions from simple switches to fully programmable systems aimed at improving your machine uptime and overall profitability.

Comparison of ifm vibration instruments in regards to application flexibility

Which solution below best describes your application or machine? Click on the desired platform to learn more.

    Vibration sensor platform
Single point Multiple points IO-Link monitoring Programmable Edge controller
Application Machines



Type 1 machines
Basic monitoring

Simple machines, single switch / analog output

Simple motors and fans ++ ++ +++  

Type 1 machines
Multiple measurements and locations

Multiple indicators for broad range of fault conditions

Indirect driven fans and pumps   ++ +++ +

Type 1 / Type 2 machines
Multiple measurement Ethernet system

Easy to deploy, multiple points, networking capability

Blowers and simple speed reducers     ++ +++

Type 3 machines
Complex machine and process monitoring

Machines requiring multiple points with root cause capability and process monitoring

Multi-stage compressors and machine tools
* -- use VV for process force monitoring only
    +* +++

Vibration behavior and excitation

To understand the best applicaton solution, we must differentiate the forces that cause vibration and excitation.

  • Construction-based excitation (C-forces) -- defined by the construction and geometry of the machine.
  • Process-based excitation (P-forces) -- caused by dynamic forces of the running process
  • Failure-based excitation (F-forces) -- occur when a machine component no longer performs its intended purpose

Construction-based forces

  • Predefined by the construction and geometry of the machine
  • External sources excite the machine's construction, amplifying the excitation frequency
  • C-forces are always present, but controlled in properly operating machines
  • Examples
    • Unbalance
    • Gear mesh
    • Fan / pump blade pass
    • Motor rotor / commutator pass

Process-based forces

  • Dynamic forces resulting from a process
  • Occur from the work the machine is performing 
  • Vibration is only high while the work is performed
  • Baseline must be established while the machine is idling
  • Examples
    • Forming
    • Cutting
    • Grinding
    • Moving
    • Separating

Fault-based forces

  • Occur when a machine component no longer performs its intended purpose
  • Usually lower in amplitude than P-forces
  • Caused by a fault or failure
  • Examples
    • Misalignment
    • Damaged bearing
    • Looseness or excessive clearance
    • Damaged belts
    • Cavitation

Machine type classification

Machines are classified by the type of forces they experience

  • Type 1 -- simple machines, dominated by C-forces
  • Type 2 -- simple machines, dominated by P-forces
  • Type 3 -- complex machines, dominated by high C-forces and P-forces 

Type 1 machines

  • Simple machines normally running at constant speed
  • C-forces occur at low levels
  • Fault-based changes are easily monitored during operation
  • P-forces are low and do not have an influence
Examples C-forces P-forces F-forces
Pumps Unbalance Flow noise Bearing damage, alignment, cavitation
Motors Unbalance Electric fields Bearing damage, alignment, coupling
Blowers Unbalance Flow noise Bearing damage, alignment, stripping, belt resonance


Type 2 machines

  • Simple machines with high process forces
  • Clear P-force dominance with a low C-forces
  • Fault-based vibrations are lower than process-based vibrations
  • P-forces depend on the type and step of the process
  • Machine operator can influence the process and create overloading
  • Operating excessive P-forces will reduce machine lifetime
  • Determination of F-forces is only possible in a reference run during machine idle
Examples C-forces P-forces F-forces
Simple machine tool Unbalance Cutting forces Bearing damage
Hammer mills Unbalance, couplings Striking forces Bearing damage, alignment
Shredders Unbalance, couplings Cutting forces Bearing damage, alignment

Type 3 machines

  • Complex machines
  • Continuously high C- and P-forces during machining and in idling modes
  • Fault-based vibrations are significantly lower than process-based vibrations
  • Simple strategies (e.g. reference run) do not work here
  • Diagnosis algoritms are required to detect F-forces
    • High frequency-resolution and narrow bands
    • Separation of carrier and interference frequencies by appying H-FFT filter
Examples C-forces P-forces F-forces
Multi-axis machine tools Unbalance Cutting forces Bearing damage, process damage
Multi-stage compressors Unbalance, couplings Pumping frequency Bearing damage, alignment
Multi-stage blowers Unbalance, couplings Blowing frequency Bearing damage, alignment

Integration methods

Online condition monitoring and real-time maintenance can easily be added to your existing controls and network architecture. It can be upscaled as your needs change.

Overview of different integration methods between vibration instruments and ERP systems