Machinery Noise And Vibration

Machinery talks to you. Are you listening? Listen to engines when they’re operating, and touch them. Noise, vibration, and harshness – or the lack of -  are good indicators of reliability. They can help you make comparisons between brands or models, and possibly determine life expectancy.

Ray Bohacz is Successful Farming’s engineman. He says just by using your ears and your hands, an engine should “speak quality” to you.

"Even if you’re not a machinery person, you can could glean what sounds very nice and very smooth, and then also if applicable, you want to be able to touch something and you want to feel how much vibration, or lack of vibration is in it," says Bohacz. "The less vibration there is, the better the quality because keep in mind that when anything mechanical that rotates or reciprocates has vibration, that creates an excessive amount of wear."

Bohacz says when comparing machines, tools, or engines for purchase, a low level of noise, vibration, and harshness usually comes with a higher price tag because it’s costly, in relative terms, to quell them.

On day one when you acquire a piece of equipment, listen to and feel it so you have a baseline to go from.

"And then you can say to yourself down the road, gee this is starting to sound a little bit funny or it’s sounding differently than it did before. That would be the trigger for you to start to investigate to see what’s going on," he says. "Also, at that particular point, a good tool to use is an infrared temperature gun, a non-contact thermometer, which usually if something is starting to fail it’ll have elevated heat."