Staying Ahead of Breakdowns: The Role of Vibration Data in Runtime Monitoring

Machine runtime monitoring

Staying Ahead of Breakdowns: The Role of Vibration Data in Runtime Monitoring

As with all manufacturers and industrial businesses that rely on machinery, maintaining optimal machine performance is of paramount importance. Machine runtime monitoring has emerged as a critical tool for ensuring efficiency, reducing downtime, and preventing costly breakdowns. This article delves into the key factors that impact machine runtime monitoring, including the implications of machinery left running, the benefits of preventative maintenance on legacy machines through vibration and environmental data monitoring, and the overall impact on operations.

The Factors at Play

1. Preventative Maintenance and Legacy Machines

Legacy machines often lack the built-in sensors and connectivity of modern equipment, making them susceptible to unexpected failures. Here, the application of machine runtime monitoring becomes crucial. By installing vibration sensors and utilising environmental data from these machines, operators can gain visibility into their internal workings. Abnormal vibrations can signal impending malfunctions, allowing for timely maintenance interventions. This data-driven approach maximises the lifespan of legacy equipment while reducing the risk of catastrophic failures.

2. Vibration and Environmental Data Monitoring

Vibration analysis is a cornerstone of machine runtime monitoring. Vibration sensors detect irregularities in machinery operation, such as misalignments, imbalances, or deteriorating components. By interpreting these signals, maintenance teams can proactively schedule repairs, reducing unplanned downtime instead of just maintaining the machines on a periodic schedule. Coupled with environmental data like temperature and humidity, operators gain a comprehensive picture of the conditions affecting machine health. This holistic view enables precise adjustments, further optimising performance and longevity.

CNC machine runtime monitoring

3. Machinery Left Running

Leaving machinery running continuously might seem like a strategy to avoid startup and shutdown costs, but it comes with its own set of challenges. While continuous operation minimises startup-related wear and tear, it can lead to increased energy consumption, accelerated component aging, and unnecessary wear. Machine runtime monitoring helps strike a balance by providing real-time insights into the operational health of machines, enabling operators to make informed decisions about when to power down equipment to save energy and extend equipment lifespan and when to leave it running.

Balancing Tradeoffs

The benefits of machine runtime monitoring are clear, but implementing it effectively requires a careful consideration of tradeoffs. The cost of installing sensors and implementing monitoring systems must be weighed against the potential savings from reduced downtime and optimised maintenance. Additionally, the data generated by monitoring systems can be overwhelming, necessitating robust data management and analysis capabilities. Striking the right balance involves aligning monitoring efforts with operational goals and budget constraints. 

Pathfindr eliminates the complexity of understanding the runtime data this by displaying it in a manageable and concise online platform. This data can then be extracted and used across different software, such as PowerBI thanks to our API, or exported into Excel and used in graphs and tables.

Runtime data

Considering the Impact

The decisions regarding machine runtime monitoring reverberate across the entire organisation. Efficient monitoring enhances uptime and production consistency, directly impacting revenue and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, optimised maintenance schedules result in extended equipment lifespans, reducing the need for frequent capital investments. By factoring in these impacts, companies can make informed choices that align with their long-term operational and financial objectives.


In the ever-changing landscape of industrial operations, machine runtime monitoring emerges as a key strategy for maintaining efficiency, reducing downtime, and increasing equipment longevity. The considerations of machinery left running, preventative maintenance on legacy machines, and the integration of vibration and environmental data are pivotal in ensuring success. The delicate balance of trade-offs, the challenges of implementation, and the overall impact on operations underline the significance of informed decision-making. With the right approach, organisations can harness the power of machine runtime monitoring to drive reliability, sustainability, and competitive advantage.

Book a meeting in with Alessandro today to see how Pathfindr’s Machine Runtime Monitoring can help with your operations.