Documentation Tip – Document “As Found” Condition
Many vibration analysts make repair recommendations or create work orders for machines but never (or can’t) follow up to see if their diagnosis was correct. Certainly, one gains some peace of mind if one knows no one will ever check to see if they were right or not, but a lot of valuable and educational information is also lost. Accept that you will sometimes be wrong and do whatever it takes to find out the “as found” condition. This is often difficult to accomplish but it is well worth the effort and in the best circumstances this should be implemented as a normal procedure.
Ask for replaced bearings, cut them open and look at the wear. If you have a digital camera, take a photograph. If a balance or alignment job was called for, ask for the before and after values. Retrieve and inspect gears and impellers and photograph them. This serves two purposes. The first is you will learn something, hone your skills and become a much better analyst. The second is you will be able to educate others, justify your work and promote the value of what you do. Document your mistakes as well as your successes and you will become a much more successful analyst. You will also learn a great deal more about the machinery you are responsible for.