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CBM = Condition Based Maintenance the not-so-new Tool for Reliability.  

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Propelled by the fast development of new predictive technologies in the last few decades, this discipline originally created in the 1940’s has taken a new spin and turned into a “popular science” these days. Indeed, the Rio Grande Railway Company developed some simple oil analysis process to tell when the lubricant in the engines would show contaminations with water and other coolants, and glycol from the fuel. The drastic reduction in maintenance cost they achieved brought this primitive CBM to the attention of the US Army. 

Far from the current sophistication of technologies such as thermography, ultrasound, and numerous types of sensors, the humble beginnings of CBM=Condition Based Maintenance produced good results by observing off-balance rotary components; loose foundations; unacceptable heat, misalignments, and noises in the equipment. 

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Condition Based Maintenance sensors and instruments… 

A concurrence between the development of sophisticated sensors and leap advances in the IT=Information Technology arena have led to the current concept of CBM=Condition Based Maintenance. Adventurous entrepreneurs and researchers have worked together to bring this process to new altitudes. The massive production of these sensing and monitoring elements has made this trend evolve for the benefit of everyone. 


Based on infrared radiation thermic radiation allows cameras to detect and pinpoint even minimal deviations of temperature in machine components. They are also applicable to health care and even sports. These infra-red cameras were seen as miracle machines in their early versions, when they were extremely heavy, very expensive, and cumbersome. Today these devices are easily portable and have reached a high level of precision. At the same time their cost has drastically dropped and is within the reach of any mechanic, physician, or researcher.  

This way, mechanics, electricians and many other technicians can detect even minor changes in the performance of parts that may have abnormal temperatures because of frictions, poor cooling, overloads, and other issues. 

Physicians can pinpoint cancerous developments at very early stages. 

Sports gear researchers can “see” the effect of the molecular friction in balls, golf clubs, bats, rackets, when they are hit or stressed, etc. 

The applicability goes on and on. What a wonderful era we are living today! 

Back to Condition Based Maintenance… 

Our application of thermography, vibration analysis, ultrasound systems, oil analysis, and numerous less sophisticated instruments in maintenance is a key element to determine condition, but the advances do not stop there: The merging of information from these PDM=Predictive Maintenance devices and the IT=Information Technology, is bringing substantial useful information to make valuable decisions in parts replacements and repairs. Of course this is still in its infancy, but already being successfully applied to major assets. Still the investment can be relatively high compared to the benefit in minor equipment, but is very justified in major assets, especially those which components are pricey and their criticality is high.  

The combination of the readings and monitoring of thermic, vibration, ultrasound, oil analysis, alignment, and other instruments, when correctly fed into a computerized system can render critical information to help us make timely decisions and produce successful scheduled maintenance events. We can help you decide on whether the implementation is timely and cost-effective; we do not sell instruments or equipment. 

The Trend of CBM=Condition Based Maintenance 

Without a doubt, in the very near future any manufacturer, maintenance manager, or technician will be receiving automated emails from their machines telling them about an abnormal situation or condition variation that demand their attention and services. 

The automobile industry  

The automobile industry, thanks to their production volumes have been pioneering in CBM through its long history. Beginning with thermometers on the radiator cap of the 1910’s and following with countless instruments and lights in the dashboard, now your car can tell you among others, when oil pressure is inappropriate, engine temperature is abnormal, brakes need fluid or adjustment, and even if the air pressure in the tires is uneven. Two or three PSI of difference trigger the warning light that in many cases can help you avoid anywhere from a road problem to an accident.  

MIMOSA a Service Oriented organization. 

This organization has been the liaison between the potential users of these technologies and the industries devoted to taking the research and development to the next level.  

The MIMOSA Objectives 

  • Publish open specifications for Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and Condition-based Maintenance (CBM). These XML-based specifications enable end-to-end, vertical & horizontal information integration. 
  • As a trade association, promote cooperative O&M and CALM market development 
  • Provide a forum for the O&M and CALM Community, bringing together experts in cross-disciplinary technologies, products and services to enable complex O&M and CALM solutions for:  
    • Equipment Operators & Maintainers 
    • Equipment OEM's 
    • Fleet Managers 
    • HMI Industry 
    • EAM Industry 
    • PAM Industry 
    • ODHS Industry 
    • MES Industry 
    • CM Industry 
  • Be an industry advocate for the capture, use and reuse of consistently defined O&M information in collaborative asset lifecycle management (CALM). 

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