The Father of Vibration Analysis: Art Crawford

Art Crawford, Father of Vibration Analysis

It was in the 1950s that Arthur Crawford first accepted a challenge to come up with an effective way to achieve a successful vibration analysis of all machines. This was the second great development of machinery vibration monitoring. It was an era when the need for effective ways of monitoring and assessing the condition of machinery for safe operations during processing, production and manufacturing became eminent. Art Crawford was among the many practitioners who believed that it was possible to use frequency and the severity of the frequency patterns to determine the type of defect present in a machine.

Today, Crawford is famous as one of the founding fathers of the current era of vibration analysis, which is a key component in predictive maintenance. He has also become a highly reputed figure and author in the industry. With over fifty years in experience, he has become a great advocate and a leader on the field of vibration analysis, especially in frequency analysis, condition assessment and dynamic balancing. His contribution in this field is currently being used to find the accurate nature and location of machinery problem. It is also used to come up with effective ways of solving machinery problems.

laser vibration analysis The Father of Vibration Analysis: Art Crawford

A field service technician from L&S Electric performing laser vibration analysis

Crawford’s major contribution to the current era of vibration analysis took place when he was still a graduate student. As his first challenge, he was to come up with the most reliable way to be used in balancing high speed spindles. Over the years, other individuals have built upon this study to come up with more effective ways of monitoring and analyzing amplitude and frequency patterns. This has made it possible to establish common machinery problems such as unbalance, misalignment and looseness. It is these problems that lead to poor production processes or even complete failure of systems operations.

Art Crawford as an Author

The first book by Art Crawford, “Simplified Handbook of Vibration Analysis, Volume 1,” was published in June 1992. This is a 175 paged hardcover copy where Crawford gives an introduction to the fundamentals of vibration analysis. The book combines history, concepts and practices of vibration analysis. It also gives the reader the various techniques used in vibration analysis. This book provides an easy read and one that can be easily understood because it comes in three levels. The book is based on the Novice, Practitioner and Expert levels making it a book anyone can read and use to understand the basics of vibration analysis as a major area in predictive maintenance. It is designed and written in a language a novice will find both informative and satisfying. To the practitioners and experts, the book provides a perfect balance between a practicable and challenging read.

The various areas covered in this first volume include:Background information and the theory of vibrationSystems response to vibration caused by mass, stiffness and dampingTransducers Application and mounting techniquesGeneral techniques of analysis for solving problems caused by vibrationsPhaseBalancingAlignment

Each of these topics is discussed in details. Crawford has also gone further to provide examples, practical experiences and realistic problem solving ideas.

In his second series “Simplified Handbook of Vibration Analysis Volume 2,” Crawford built upon the first volume. This second edition provides more applied vibration analysis. The book offers an application of vibration analysis theory to various machineries such as industrial fans, pumps, turbines, gears and engines. The book has a chapter on the modern digital instrumentation as well as analog that are currently being used in predictive maintenance. The reader will find the book quite easy to read and understand as Crawford has tried to simplify the language for both Novices and Experts.

Arthur Crawford and Modern Vibration Analysis Techniques

From the start, Crawford is known to advocate for vibration analysis as a key component in any condition monitoring program. He is fondly quoted as saying that there is no single measurement able to provide comprehensive information about the workings of a machine other than the vibration signature of that machine. Through his contributions, many people have come to realize how an effective and reliable initiative in using vibration analysis can provide focus and also empower technicians involved with the planning and scheduling process of any systems operations. Therefore, it becomes easy to find out the root cause of a problem and its location. The analysis also makes it easy to come up with viable ways to mitigate the problem before it gets any worse.

Today, vibration analysis is commonly used in:BearingsMisalignment of machineryGearsElectrical issuesMachine or component unbalancesBent shafts Impeller issuesLoose bolts, fasteners or mounts

Importance of Vibration Analysis Programs Today

Due to the contributions made by Art Crawford, vibration analysis has become a major focus for most manufacturing and production companies. This interest has been enhanced by the fact that vibration monitoring and assessment has made it possible for most of the organizations to enjoy a variety of benefits. With the help of vibration analysis organizations are now able to:Diagnose machinery problems quickly – Vibration analysis is often done on different pieces of equipment to determine the performance of each system. When performed in a timely manner, it is easy for an organization to determine the real cause of machinery problem and make appropriate repairs or replacements before the defect worsens.Easy identification of the latent cause of the problem – Vibration analysis offers a great way to know the main physical cause to a machinery problem. This allows an organization to analyze the situation and find effective solutions immediately. Focus resources on the main issue – It is possible to pinpoint the real cause to a machinery problem using vibration analysis. The organization can focus on the right resources of solving an issue without wasting time and in a cost-effective manner.Cost effective planning and scheduling of operations – Detecting any anomalies in the working operations of a machine enables an organization to plan on how work can be done without overworking the machinery or workers. It also makes it possible to schedule around the defects without loss of production time or incurring more costs.

There have been major contributions made by other individuals. However, Arthur Crawford’s contribution to vibration analysis acts as a guideline on what to expect and how to deal with condition monitoring programs. The information obtained can be used in any areas where predictive maintenance and operations are significant factors for the success of an organization.


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