First Impressions for IMT

First Impressions for IMT

Although the technical operatives of IBT’s Industrial Maintenance Technologies (IMT) travel with kits of very sophisticated and complicated equipment, we start our work at any new job site with empty hands and open minds.

For our initial inspections, we generally use the best and simplest tools – ones that every person can put to use: our senses. Here’s how we do it.

These are some of the first steps that IMT takes when troubleshooting and diagnosing machinery issues.


Look at the situation closely and carefully.

What do you see? What is the overall appearance of the machine? Look at the condition of the base and foundation. Check the piping supports. Examine the expansion joints.

Always, always, always look for leaks.

Leaks are one major cause of long-term foundation and framework deterioration. Plus, even the smallest leak is costly, as well as hazardous, to people and property.

Look carefully and thoroughly.
Ask yourself: What other surrounding factors that I can see might affect long-term condition of this equipment?


As with sight, using your ears can frequently identify other factors that might diagnose current problems or potential problems with equipment.
What can you hear? How does the equipment sound?

There are a number of potential problems that you can start to identify merely by ear.
Some include: squeaks, whines, grating sounds, clunks – you probably can add a whole collection of sounds and noises that suggest all is not well inside the machinery.


Your hands are remarkable. Put them to use when analyzing machinery.

Can you feel any heat? Is it at the right level? Or is the equipment too hot or too cold? Do you get “bad vibes” when you assess the vibration of the machinery by placing your hand on it? Does anything feel “funny?”

Feel around joints and terminations and check for unusual movement.

A simple loose bolt or nut can have a dramatic impact on machine reliability. Partially loose bolts and nuts can work their way completely off. Big trouble can usually follow.


Your nose is no less important than your other sense organs.

It can smell lube that is melting or burning. It can note that other aspects are not right. It can pick up the effects of leaks: mold, mildew, chemical smells. So give a good sniff when you are taking stock of the situation. You may get a major idea of what might be wrong – or heading that way soon.

While these initial steps might not reveal the main problem, they can usually help in finding the root cause of failures.

Predictive maintenance finds that a bearing does not fail because of an actual bearing defect. Far more often, there is a hidden problem in the machine that caused the failure. Simply replacing the bearing will not fix the issue. It will just buy a little more time before the bearing fails again and it must be replaced. And there’s no telling what sort of collateral damage may come along with the multiple failures.

It can be a vicious circle. However, by doing complete inspections with your senses as well as specialized instrumentation, we can source out the actual problems. Here are some additional recommendations:

  • Look Closely – Inspect closely and in detail. Start with the foundation and work your way through the machine paying very close attention to anchors and hardware.
  • Take Notes – Detailed reports on any maintenance or upgrades will be of great value, later. When you find and correct flaws on one machine, keeping tabs will be beneficial if there are several of the same or similar machines.
  • Keep House – Keeping areas presentable makes it easier to see flaws or defects. Cracked welds, loose anchors or leaks will not be hidden by product build-up or dust in a tidy plant. People cleaning the area also offer opportunity for a quick machine inspection.

To learn more about our products and services, contact us today!


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Our head office address:

9400 W 55th St, Merriam, KS 66203

Call for help:

(913) 428-2858

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