The Causes of Machine Vibration and the Solutions

Machine vibration is common, but there does come a point where excessive vibration can become dangerous to operators, the surrounding environment, and the machine itself. What causes vibrations to go beyond the “normal" range? What damage could it do? And how can you fix the issue?

What are the Risks of Excessive Machine Vibration?

Unusually high levels of machine vibration can have negative impacts that transcend your machine’s immediate environment. It’s concerning for more reasons than just your machine moving around a bit more than usual.

  • Increased Noise

Seemingly not too severe at first glance, high noise levels caused by your excessively vibrating machine can lead to your operatives developing hearing problems. This could be sensorineural hearing loss or nerve deafness, which are caused primarily by long-term exposure to extremely loud noises, which a vibrating machine could cause.

  • Unsafe Working Conditions

Your operatives could develop Hand-Arm Vibration syndrome, characterised by permanent, painful numbness and tingling in the muscles and joints of the hands and arms. These symptoms are caused by the transfer of vibrations from tools and machines into the hands of their operatives.

  • Reduced Lifespan of the Machine

There are several problems associated with excessive machine vibration that can drastically affect the lifespan of your machine as a whole. The first is that the components inside your machine may become displaced or break as a result of the constant shaking, so they’ll need to be replaced more frequently.

The second is that your machine will require more maintenance to ensure everything is in working order. This will be costly and time-consuming and greatly increase the downtime of your machine, reducing productivity.

Lastly, if your machine is placed near another machine or a wall, it will repeatedly collide and corrode its external components over time.

What Causes Machine Vibration?

There’s a range of minute and major problems that could cause your machine to vibrate excessively.

  • Natural Wear and Tear

The components and body of your machine will degrade over time, and there’s not a lot that can be done to prevent it. Bearings and gears are possibly the most vulnerable parts, and when pitted, chipped or damaged, they can greatly increase the vibration levels of your machine.

  • Rotating Unbalance

Rotating unbalance occurs when mass is distributed unevenly, creating ‘heavy spots’ and distortion that increases vibration. It can also happen when your machine is manufactured incorrectly when it warps due to high temperatures and after exposure to chemicals.

  • Shaft Misalignment

There are two types of shaft misalignment, angular, and offset. Angular misalignment can occur from human error, issues during startup and thermal expansion, which causes a misalignment between two shafts. Offset misalignment is when the centrelines of two shafts have been misaligned.

  • Looseness

Looseness of rotating elements and stationary components such as bearings, gears and couplings can cause excessive vibrations. So can structural looseness, which refers to the foundations, insufficiently tightened bolts, and distorted or flexible mountings.

How can I Isolate Machine Vibration?

Machinery Vibrations, and the transmission of Machinery vibrations, can be addressed by using anti-vibration mountings, through proper maintenance, regular monitoring and replacement of components.

  • Install Anti-Vibration Mounts

Rubber vibration mounts are extremely effective at reducing the transmission of machine vibration. Rubber boasts excellent energy absorption and vibration-dampening properties.

Anti-vibration mounts can help to stabilise your machines and keep them level to prevent ‘heavy spots’ and ensure your machine fulfils its lifespan.

At AV Industrial Products Ltd, we supply many types of different anti-vibration mountings . From rubber bobbin mounts to Captive Mounts and Levelling Feet, our range of products is designed to cover a range of different applications and machinery.

If you’re not sure which type of anti-vibration mount your machine needs, give us a call and we’ll guide you in the right direction.

  • Monitor Vibration Levels

With close monitoring, you’ll notice any variations in the vibration levels of your machine and identify the source of the problem before it becomes too severe. You could purchase a vibration meter to quantify and monitor actual data to discover if the vibration is actually increasing. Or alternatively our applications engineers are at hand to offer vibration testing and analysis of machinery.

  • Proper Maintenance and Upkeep

Ensure you stick to the correct maintenance schedule for your machine to prevent the deterioration of components that could lead to excessive vibration. If you do notice that any parts are beginning to appear weathered, assess whether they need to be replaced or schedule a replacement.

  • Replace, Realign and Lubricate Parts Regularly

Whether you need to disassemble your machine, fix the alignment problems or simply lubricate the parts, you’ll notice vibration levels decrease.