How important is certification for vibration analysis?
July 6, 2017
Category I, Category II, Category III and Category IV – What are they and what do they have to do with vibration analysis? Why should they matter to my corporation?
Through The Vibration Institute, Mobius Institute, Technical Associates of Charlotte, and various other groups offer certification in vibration analysis. More importantly, they are certification to ISO 18436-2 Vibration Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics.
What are the certification levels?
The levels are all specified in the ISO 18436-2 Specification. I recommend purchasing a copy of that specification to see what ISO’s requirements for each category are. Not only are there technical competency requirements, there are also experience requirements and training hours required, this is all in addition to the certification exam that must be taken. Since, we at HECO, are actively involved in The Vibration Institute, i will use their information describing the levels (Reference: http://www.vi-institute.org/analystclassifications):
Category I – Vibration Analyst:
Category I Vibration Analysts are qualified to perform a range of single channel machinery vibration condition monitoring and diagnostic activities including data acquisition on predetermined routes, machine steady state testing to predefined procedures, and comparison of readings against pre-established alert settings.
Minimum Recommended Experience: 6 months
Minimum Training Hours: 30 hours
Category II – Vibration Analyst:
Category II Vibration Analysts are qualified to perform basic vibration analysis using single-channel instruments according to established procedures, set-up instruments, and maintain a database of results.
Minimum Recommended Experience: 18 months
Minimum Training Hours: 60 hours (38 hours + VI Category I)
Category III – Vibration Analyst:
Category III Vibration Analysts are qualified to establish, direct, and\or perform programs for condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines including spectral, waveform, and orbit analysis. Category III certified Vibration Analysts shall be qualified to perform minor corrective actions involving operating deflection shapes, single-plane balancing, and diagnostic testing.
Minimum Recommended Experience: 36 months
Minimum Training Hours: 90 hours (38 hours + VI Category II)
Category IV – Vibration Analyst:
Category IV Vibration Analysts are individuals who understand the theory of mechanical vibrations, advanced vibration analysis techniques, and signal analysis. They shall be qualified to direct condition monitoring programs, perform major diagnostic efforts, and perform and recommend corrective actions and design modifications.
Minimum Recommended Experience: 60 months
Minimum Training Hours: 130 hours (64 hours + VI Categories III)
Why should these matter to your corporation?
Like any certifications, they should be understood first before you require them. As you can see above, there are distinct differences in the different Category levels of certification. Category I analysts can collect data properly, Category II Analysts can collect and analyze most problems, Category III analysis can establish and direct PdM programs, and Category IV Analysts can solve and diagnose some of the most complicated problems out there.
Why these matter is that there is some meat behind what a person says they can do. When someone becomes certified in vibration analysis it means that they have the experience and the technical aptitude to perform the functions within their level of certification. That’s the important factor to remember, within their level of certification. Understand what their certification is and what they are certified for and what they are not certified for.
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About the author:
Justin T. Hatfield is Vice President of Operations at HECO. He is responsible for Electric Motor & Drive Sales, Electric Motor & Generator Repairs, Spare Solutions, and Predictive Services. Justin was instrumental in developing HECO MAPPS (Motor and Powertrain Performance Systems) <LINK TO: https://www.hecoinc.com/heco-system/electric-motor-repair-heco-system> which focuses on “why” you have a motor problem instead of simply “What” product or service should be recommended. HECO is an EASA Accredited Service Center for Electric Motors as well as a provider of predictive maintenance services and products throughout the United States.
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