The objective of good reporting is to provide information and build awareness to those who need to be informed. They need to know what work they must do to bring an asset back to best condition. They need to know when that work should be done and the consequences of not acting on the work in a timely fashion. The job of the report generator can be compared to that of a translator. This job normally falls on the person responsible for collecting condition-monitoring data. CM data is the
machine, the valve, the pump, the motor, the “whatever it may be” talking to you in an ultrasonic language. You are trained to understand that language. It is your job to translate what the asset is telling you into meaningful information that the planner, the repair crew, production and management can understand. That is what a good report should be; a product of considered engineering opinion based upon the facts you have gathered.
A report should NOT be data spewing. Time signals and spectra are merely hieroglyphics to most and while they may look pretty to techies, they will not impress upper management. Should they be included? Absolutely. But only include illustrations that support a clear explanation of the problem. Indeed, using the graphics in the example above, including explanations and best recommendations form the essence of any good report.
What message should you be conveying then? Your report should start by stating the problem: “There is an issue with this machine, or this valve, or this bushing, or this transformer. Additional follow-up with vibration analysis and an oil lab report is recommended to confirm the problem.” Identify the asset and the issue. Then clearly state what needs to be done to bring it back to best acceptable condition. A good report should also include a message about the consequence of doing nothing: “You can fix it now and the cost for the repair, including spares, labor and scheduled downtime, will be $500. Or you can leave it alone. However, besides continuing to impact production and product quality, the cost to fix it on an emergency basis will be $50,000.”
What is wrong with writing a strong messaged opinion such as this in your report? Is it politically incorrect to make that assertion and state the blindingly obvious? Or is there lingering fear of making a bad call. The latter is a confidence issue that relates either to distrust in the technology used for CM or the person charged with collecting the data. Both can be addressed through expert training.