We asked Dr. Peter Kytka, Product Manager of the Portables Product Line at B&K Vibro, to comment on the features and on the role these instruments play for a modern predictive maintenance strategy.

What characterizes a modern portable vibration measurement device?

Dr. Peter Kytka: "Modern devices such as the VIBROPORT 80 or the VIBROTEST 80 are not only easy to use but offer a whole range of options and features to the user. They provide general information on machine health as a result of overalls measurements. A deteriorating machine state will be reflected by increased overalls. Analysis tools are available for further diagnosis, such as the FFT analysis function. For example, imbalance of a shaft - a very common fault in rotating machinery - can be clearly identified in a FFT measurement.
There is a high demand for a powerful field balancing capability and B&K Vibro have been renowned for their expertise in this area for decades. Last but not least, the Data Collector functionality helps the user perform route-based inspections at regular intervals. In short, a modern portable vibration measurement device is an essential component of every predictive maintenance strategy for rotating machinery."

Do the B&K Vibro portables offer a choice of functionality or do customers have to buy the full set?

Dr. Peter Kytka: "Basically, both instruments – the VIBROPORT 80 and the VIBROTEST 80 – offer the same functionality. Depending on the application, the user can of course choose what is needed. Our instruments are based on scalability and a modular system configuration, so there are packages that suit specific needs. You can start out small and add more functionality later as you become more experienced or as the need expands. Instrument size may also be an important consideration. If, for example, you do a lot of data collection, the smaller, light-weight VIBROTEST 80 might be the better choice. If, on the other hand, multi-channel analysis or field balancing is a large part of your daily routine, the bigger VIBROPORT 80 instrument with a larger screen is preferable."

Will this type of instrument continue to play an important role in the machine monitoring market?

Dr. Peter Kytka:"I am convinced it will. Many types of machines simply don’t justify the up-front investment of a large plant-wide online monitoring system. Still, any asset has an influence on a company’s profitability.  Accordingly, many machines will be monitored offline at regular intervals. Portable measurement instruments are perfectly suited to this need because they are flexible, powerful and easy-to-use. In many cases, they are used to complement an existing online system, should the need for a spontaneous measurement or a service arise. The next generation of these instruments will be more diversified or differentiate more between user types, and of course adapt to general technological market trends – but they will continue to play a vital role in predictive maintenance, I’m sure."

Read more about our portable vibration measurement instruments.