Preventive maintenance (PM) of mechanized production lines often requires visual inspection of moving parts such as motors, gears, belts, pulleys, chains, etc. Some parts may be obstructed from view by other machinery or hidden from view in enclosures or cabinets while the line is in operation. While conducting PM procedures, service personnel may routinely shut down a line, open the cabinets or enclosures, and check mechanical parts for wear.
To improve the effectiveness of preventive maintenance and minimize downtime, high speed imaging can be used to perform PM while machines are left running. This will require gaining visual access to the moving parts in question, as well as developing a way to thoroughly inspect them while the machinery is running. In some cases, windows and LED lighting will need to be installed in the cabinets or enclosures in a way to afford an adequate view of the moving parts to be inspected.
High speed cameras can capture enough freeze-frame footage of the parts so they may be inspected in detail without shutting down production. Frame rates and capture times can be tuned to ensure that every tooth of every gear and every inch of every chain or belt has been clearly imaged for accurate inspection.
• Reduced downtime means increased production time. Allowing the production lines to run during PM yields an immediate production increase.
• Machines will exhibit normal working behavior while running at production speed, allowing insight into causes of wear or malfunction.
Additional archiving advantages:
Once PM procedures using high speed cameras are in place, images may be archived for comparison over time. With enough data, Preventive Maintenance procedures may evolve into a Predictive Maintenance program to fully optimize system upkeep and efficiency.
• If a repair or adjustment is made, “before and after” video can be used to confirm that the corrective measures are effective.
• Subtle timing changes may cause problems. Fastec Imaging high-speed cameras have exceptionally accurate frame timing that may be used to track speed changes of any moving parts from one PM to the next.
• If a part or system fails, you can review prior video of that part to see if there is anything that may help “telegraph” similar failures in the future. This will improve the capacity to do preventive repairs and adjustments to avoid costly future failures.
• Review the PM after the fact to confirm the process and share the results with others.
Example Workflow using a Fastec TS5 high-speed camera:
Recommended Imaging Setup:
• Resolution: 1280 x 720 (TS5Q supports resolutions up to 2560×2048)
• Frame Rate: Up to 1400 fps in Standard Mode, or 500fps in Long Record Mode
• Mode: FasCorder (images automatically saved to SSD—all clips on one timeline)
• Transfer: entire timeline (all clips of PM) to PC ( a single AVI) via FasMotion
Recommended Line Setup:
• Windows installed for all cabinet or enclosure views.
• LED lighting installed where necessary.
• Small placard with line # and view # for each required view to be placed such that it is within the field of view of the camera. (An alternative might be to tape off the desired view on the panel window so that the exact same framing is used each time the PM is performed.
• If consistency is an imperative, markings should be made on the floor where the camera’s tripod should be placed for each shot .
• Mark parts such as motors, belts, pulleys, chains, etc. such that cycle timing is obvious when reviewing video.
1. Power up the camera before entering the production area. This will give the camera a few minutes to get up to operating temperature, minimizing the need to recalibrate the camera during the PM.
2. With the camera in FasCorder Mode (it will power up in whatever mode it was previously powered-down in), confirm that the camera setup is appropriate for the PM (up to 8 presets may be saved in the Setup/Recents dialog for simple setup).
3. Set the camera into position for the first capture location on the line. The camera will exhibit a live image that can be used to set the frame, focus, and aperture.
4. Click on the “Arm” button to ready the camera for recording.
5. Click on the “Trigger” button to begin saving frames to the SSD.
6. After the desired interval or machine cycle, click on the “Trigger” button again to stop recording.
7. Click on the “Arm” button to enter Review mode—the recorded images will appear on the camera in playback mode.
8. Review the video on the camera to confirm that the shot adequately depicts the desired parts and behaviors. If it does not, it may be erased and adjustments made before re-shooting.
9. Upon completing the review of the video, the operator will note any issues with the machinery or whether there is an issue that needs further immediate attention.
10. Once satisfied that enough data is collected at the first capture location, the camera may be set into position at the next location.
11. Steps 4-9 are repeated for each capture location on the line. All video will appear on one timeline in playback with markers showing the beginning of each capture. Jumping from one video to the next is done with special buttons on the playback screen.
12. Note that steps 4-9 can also be performed remotely, using a PC connected to the camera on the production line via Gigabit Ethernet, running the FasMotion camera control software. This may be the preferred configuration if PM videos will be recorded over an extended period of time.
13. Once all video required for the PM of one line is captured on the camera, the camera may be removed from the production area. It may be attached to any display (PC monitor or TV with an HDMI input) and any interesting video may be reviewed on a large screen to examine details.
14. The entire video timeline (as a single AVI or image stack) or any portion of it may be archived via FasMotion software.