Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Software Sage--Value of the "Walk Through"

I like to think of a facility’s condition based monitoring program as a big jigsaw puzzle.  You’ve got to gather the necessary pieces-a plan, the equipment, the skills and of course, the software to track and report results.  Of course the bigger challenge is then getting everything to fit.  As the Chief of Technology and Software Support, I spend a good portion of my days helping our customers integrate the data found with their Ultraprobe into our two software platforms, Ultratrend DMS and Spectralyzer.  Together, we tackle new challenges and continue to push the software to the limits. In this new feature on our blog, I hope to share tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way that will help you to fit this sometimes jagged puzzle piece into the big picture! 

Today, we’ll focus on the “Walk Through.”  As you are setting up your routes in our Ultratrend DMS, take the time to literally “walk through” the route before you enter it into the program.  While you may feel you know your plant well, there’s always the possibility of overlooking something or not fully thinking through the logical test sequence.  I often get phone calls when a route has to be changed and users are concerned with losing data.  Many times this can be avoided by simply walking through the route with a pad and pen in hand to create the route as you walk.  You can see the logic you may have overlooked.  For instance, one common mistake is that while in the office a user created a route that included a motor drive forgetting that the test points were split where some bearings were on one side of a conveyer and others on the opposite side.  During the first run, the inspector had to take data on one side, then walk all the way around to the other side, take the data and then walk all the way back to resume.  This could have been avoided by just observing this during his walk-through. 

Without a “walk through” you might also find yourself missing machines and other test points what will then have to be manually entered into DMS, one at a time.  The “walk through” will also allow you to set up the most efficient route as possible—picture a straight line!
For those of you who want a little “refresher” course in Ultratrend DMS, we have tutorials on line for you.  You’ll need to log-in first and then set about 30 minutes aside to view them.  It will be worth the time. Just click here:

I hope you find this information useful and also hope you’ll share with me any tips you’ve picked up along the way or questions you’d like to see me tackle on an upcoming post.  Just email me at

Stan Hewlett


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