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Red Wolf Reliability

Papers and Case Studies

The Right Tool For the Job

Customers contact Red Wolf Reliability often with a good understanding of exactly what they need and why they need that particular service. However, sometimes customers call Red Wolf Reliability simply with a problem and don't have the internal expertise to know exactly what should be done to troubleshoot the problem to drive to a solution. This case study is example of the latter.

A Pharmaceutical manufacturer reached out requesting vibration troubleshooting on a vacuum pump and needed support ASAP. The team of personnel at the pharmaceutical company had been troubleshooting high particle counts in a cleanroom environment for more than a week without developing a solution. The Red Wolf Reliability analyst decided to take an ultrasound probe in addition to the vibration data collector.

During the initial review of the problem with the customer, it was noted the particle counts in the cleanroom increase when the vacuum pump, which is external to the room, turns on. Using portable particle counters, the internal team was not able to find any specific local sources from where the high particles were coming. So, the theory was the vibration from the pump was causing structural vibration resulting in the generation of high particle counts in the room. After running through multiple cycles of the vacuum pump turning on, vibration data collected showed no vibration transmissibility to the cleanroom. This was able to eliminate the vacuum pump vibration as being the cause of the high particle count.

Since the ultrasound probe was available, the Red Wolf Reliability analyst performed a thorough scan of the outside of the cleanroom to detect any leaks. The scan was performed trying to detect leaks from the positive pressure environment to the outside as well as using a tone generator to detect leaks. No issues were detected from the outside, so our analyst suited up and entered the cleanroom and performed a scan. Within a few minutes the analyst was able to pinpoint the exact location of a positive pressure leak into the room from an autoclave. The door to the autoclave had previously been scrutinized with repeated visual inspections, functional testing, and a portable particle counter without success.

In this case the right tool for the job was able to pinpoint the problem which had been investigated over numerous days, many trial-and-error fixes, and involved well over ten industry professionals.