How Vibration Monitoring is Changing

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Q&A with Scott Breeding, President of Metrix, talks about his company and the dynamic field of vibration monitoring.

What should our readers know about Metrix and its history?

Founded in 1965, Metrix traces its roots to seismic measurement technology. Initially focused on geophysical exploration, this technology found applications for vibration measurements on industrial machines. As a result, machinery condition monitoring emerged as our sole focus and has remained so for 50 years.

In 1998, we acquired electronic vibration switch vendor PMC/BETA. In 2007, we acquired the vibration monitoring division of Hardy Instruments along with their portable vibration calibrators. Metrix has been ISO- 9001 certified for more than 20 years. We operate as a unit of Roper Technologies.

What does Metrix do?


Metrix pioneered the concept of simple, affordable machinery protection. We were the first company to patent and manufacture 4-20 MA vibration transmitters, and this continues to be one of our best product lines. Our products monitor machinery condition of gas and steam turbines, motors, compressors, pumps, generators and other critical rotating machinery. We serve power generation, oil and gas, water, waste treatment and cooling tower markets.

What trends are emerging?

The field of vibration monitoring has been without change for 30 years. Now we’re seeing a trend towards miniaturization and digitalization. New digital technology allowing development of lower cost probe drivers and transmitters will drive market changes in the near future. Also, it’s been all about eddy currents, moving coils and piezoelectric technology for a long time. Emerging Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS technology) offer a broader measurement technology that we haven’t seen for a couple of decades. MEMS is basically miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical devices and structures created though microfabrication techniques. There is the potential for big breakthroughs in MEMS as well as developmental work centered around hybrid approaches that are a combination of MEMS and piezoelectric. As a result we are increasing our engineering team to incorporate this new technology into our current and upcoming products.

How is the technology changing?

The biggest change is a technological convergence of best features of multiple products into a singular product. We’re combining the functionality of three or four products into one product.

How is the technology likely to evolve?

We’re becoming a digitalized world with products that allow us to do our jobs more efficiently, remotely and easily. Tools are becoming smaller, faster, more technologically advanced. Think about being able to put the probe driver into the probe so you don’t need a separate junction box to house those drivers. That enables you to take the field wiring directly to the transducer.

Which of your products apply to turbomachinery?

We supply high-temperature velocity sensors to the gas turbine market. Our proximity probes and transducers are API 670 compliant and are interchangeable with systems from our competitors. Our new Digital Proximity System (DPS) transmitter provides a single instrument that can be configured for vibration, axial, position or shaft speed measurements directly to PLCs, DCSs, SCADA systems or other instrumentation that accept an ISA standard 4-20 mA signals without the use of a separate monitor system.

The Metrix DPS combines the performance of an API 670-compliant eddycurrent proximity measurement system with the flexibility of digital configurability. For the first time, users can configure their transducer system in the field using a custom field-generated curve as well as factory pre-configured calibrations for a variety of probe tip diameters, manufacturers, extension cable lengths, target materials, and linear ranges.