Junior Reliability Technician Compares Experiences Using Vibration & Ultrasound


Trevor’s Introduction to Maintenance, Reliability, and Condition Monitoring

Back in late 2020, Trevor Bruinix began his career with SDT Ultrasound Solutions as a Junior Reliability Technician and Condition Monitoring Data Analyst. With no prior maintenance and reliability or factory experience, Trevor was a true newcomer to this industry.

We had the opportunity to sit down with our fellow co-worker Trevor Bruinix this past week. Trevor is one of SDT’s Junior Reliability Technicians. His primary job responsibilities are ultrasound and vibration data collection and analysis to fulfill SDT’s service contracts across Ontario, Canada. He was in the office taking his CAT 2 Vibration Course under SDT Corporate Trainer, Gilles Lanthier. He shared with us his experiences as a junior reliability technician in his first two years at SDT Ultrasound Solutions, how his roles have shifted from primarily performing vibration analysis, to now mostly collecting ultrasound data, and how this change has affected his job.

Robert Dent, National Sales Manager & Partnered Ultrasound Program Coordinator put together a two-year training program for the new Junior Reliability Technicians brought onto the SDT Ultrasound Service Team. Trevor is the first set to complete the SDT Junior Reliability Technician training program.

  • After 6 Months take Vibration Analysis ISO Category 1 training
  • After 9 Months take Ultrasound ISO Category 1 training
  • After 18 Months take Vibration Analysis ISO Category 2 training
  • After 24 Months take Ultrasound Category 2 training

Successful completion of the training program will provide a promotion to “Reliability Technician.”

Trevor immediately began working under some of SDT’s most experienced condition monitoring technicians & data analysts. At first, his primary job responsibilities were collecting both ultrasound and vibration data fulfilling a service contract at one of Ontario’s oldest Pulp and Paper Mills. He would carry out daily vibration data collection routes that would then be analyzed by experienced vibration data analyst, Gilles Lanthier. Trevor’s schedule worked out to 20+ days of vibration data collection on high-speed assets and 1-2 days of ultrasound data collection on slow-speed assets every month.

            Trevor performing ultrasound data collection on a bearing inside one of Ontario’s oldest pulp and paper mills.

Trevor discovered that this bearing had an electrical current going through it that was causing significant damage.

After six months of data collection experience, Trevor scheduled his Category 1 Vibration Analysis Certification, which he took under instructor Gilles Lanthier, alongside several of his other SDT Ultrasound colleagues. With his new certification and the knowledge gained during the course, Trevor was able to include more vibration data analysis in his day-to-day activities.

New Job Responsibilities & Condition Monitoring Technologies

It’s been a year since Trevor completed his CAT 1 Vibration Course, and he just recently completed his CAT 2. A lot has changed about his job responsibilities in a year. Trevor is now the lead condition monitoring data collector for two new shingle manufacturing plants. He spends one day a week at one plant, and two days a week at the other, leaving two days a week to analyze data and create reports for SDT’s service customers.
                                                         SDT340 Ultrasound & Vibration Data Collector

Trevor expressed gratitude for his time spent as a vibration analyst. Being thrust right into that position early on greatly accelerated his learning of the technology, understanding of maintenance, reliability, and condition monitoring, and the development of key data collection and analyst skills that he uses every day. But the job of vibration analyst does not come without its share of frustrations and challenges, especially for those new to condition monitoring. Therefore, Trevor and other new condition monitoring technicians prefer a more user-friendly condition monitoring technology.

For anyone that has ever been in condition monitoring or held the title of vibration analyst, they know that vibration analysis has a steep learning curve, and it takes many years to become proficient and confident at the discipline.

Listening to Data as it’s Being Collected Makes the Job Easier

The biggest differentiator Trevor noticed when transitioning from vibration analysis to ultrasound, was the ultrasound detector’s ability to simultaneously listen to the data as it is being collected. Trevor often second-guessed himself when taking vibration data, wondering if it was good data, or if he would have to go back out into the plant to recollect after completing and uploading his route to the computer.

Ultrasound’s ability to listen to readings while collecting data not only improves inspector confidence, but it also saves time and improves data quality. Trevor admits he can often tell an issue with a bearing, whether it be a lubrication issue, or bearing defect, simply by hearing the heterodyned audio signal and listening for the presence of friction and impacting.

With the time he’s saved by not having to retake measurements, or take multiple measurements on every machine, Trevor finds time to use his SDT340 to perform operator-driven-reliability (ODR) inspections. These inspections are carried out to find non-binary defects within a factories manufacturing process. After Trevor carries out his regular rotating machinery inspections for the day, he spends time looking for failed steam traps and compressed air leaks at either factory he’s monitoring.

Today, Wednesday, July 19, 2022, Trevor passed his CAT 2 Vibration Exam and is one step closer to becoming the first of SDT’s Junior Reliability Technicians to complete the two-year training program. Congratulations Trevor!

Author: Tristan Rienstra
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