Should I choose Online or Portable Vibration Analysis Instruments?

Choosing whether to go Online or Portable when it comes to Vibration Analysis

In this article, we will be comparing the difference between online and portable tools for vibration analysis.

Vibration analysis

Equipment vibration/motion reveal tell-tale indications of machine/equipment health. Vibration analysis is performed on the data which is captured from equipment through the conversion of this mechanical motion into digital signals that can be post-processed.

These signals are then evaluated against known failure metrics, which help predict potential failures and make it a useful tool for planned condition-based maintenance, increasing equipment safety, life cycle, reliability, increased productivity, improved return on investment and preventing unscheduled downtime.

Vibration analysis tools have grown from large bulky machines to lightweight handheld devices and cost-effective continuous monitoring instruments. Continuous monitoring instruments have even joined the Internet of Things (IoT) galaxy.   

It’s not a secret that vibration analysis is essential and will reduce your company’s expenses regarding machine failure and unplanned stoppages and breakdowns. There are many devices to choose from, and this can be overwhelming at first, but we will be discussing the various vibration analysis instruments and what will be the best fit for your plant and budget.

Online vs Offline – Either or both?

It is rare that all machines on a site are suited only to online or offline monitoring, usually a combination of both disciplines provides the optimal solution. In most FMEA analyses or similar processes there are five important factors to consider when determining which method and system are better suited for your business:

  • Safety
  • Production Loss
  • Capital Costs
  • Spares availability / Lead time to repair
  • Redundancy 






Production Loss


Capital Cost



Spares availability





These are very broad guidelines and will vary from plant to plant, and machine to machine. The best practice before deciding is to have the site Reliability/Risk Engineers evaluate Possible Maximum Loss for each machine (using unplanned failure and planned shutdowns after fault detection models), usually referred to as an FMEA Analysis. This exercise will also offer a great benefit after the systems have been implemented, as the cost analysis for prevented failures will be available for ongoing evaluation for the return on investment (ROI) of the condition monitoring project.

Portable Vibration Analysis Instruments

Portable vibration analysis instruments as the name implies are mobile digital signal analysers that can collect vibratory motion from a transducer that is connected to the machine either permanently (according to safety or environmental considerations) or temporary via studs, quick connects or magnet mounts. These devices enable users to collect data by measuring many points on one machine with one sensor. Portable devices are a lower-cost solution that has the added benefit of a technician making visual observations of an asset’s condition during collection. Portable devices are handheld and ensure that technicians can walk around and assess their machinery as and when needed.

They are generally used for less critical or semi-critical assets where periodic scanning is effective to detect changes in the machine condition, and interventions with the machine can be planned/executed to improve conditions detected. Yellotec has clients where overall plant uptime/reliability of machines on this system was permanently increased from 85% to 99.5% within the first 12 months after implementation.

What Portable Vibration Analysis Instruments does Yellotec offer?

At Yellotec we supply a variety of portable instruments with various functions and benefits that will be accommodating to either the expert or to the beginner. We supply the VibScanner II and the VibXpert series from Prüftechnik. Combined with the Omnitrend Analysis Software for analysis of online and offline data.

VibScanner II

The VibScanner II is a portable offline data collection system, having comprehensive measuring functions from either single-axis or triaxial transducers. This handheld all-rounder is the ideal partner for your daily measurement and inspection rounds, if the triaxial option is used it also speeds up data collection by reducing the time spent at the machine by capturing data in three directions of freedom simultaneously.

The VibScanner II is protected by a rugged, waterproof, and dustproof case. You are also able to order the Zone 2 version of this instrument. 

If the VibScanner II doesn’t sound like a portable instrument for you, it’s time to look at the VibXpert instrument series.

VibXpert II

The VibXpert II is a high-performance vibration data collector and signal analyser. It is known for its sophisticated and refined technology. The VibXpert II combines the proven features of its predecessor with the advantages of rapid processors and a brilliant energy-efficient colour display. This portable instrument demonstrates that the use of powerful components does not rule out low power consumption.

The VibXpert II allows easy condition monitoring of equipment found in many industries such as power generation, petrochemical, pulp and paper. The VibXpert II collects field data including the ability to perform extensive analysis functions. Facilitating data analysis and condition diagnostics at the machine. For in-depth analysis, archiving and documentation VibXpert II passes the collected information to the Omnitrend maintenance software. 

These portable instruments are great if you need a device that is easy to use, for daily vibration analysis and for machinery that does not need to be monitored 24/7.

The instrument is available in single or dual-channel configuration, as a Data collector or Data Analyser with the added option of including a balancing program

Yellotec also sells Ex versions of these instruments. These specific instruments are intrinsically safe and allow for easy condition monitoring and troubleshooting of rotating equipment in explosive environments such as petrochemical plants, refineries, offshore oil rigs, etc.

Online Vibration Analysis Instruments

Online vibration analysis utilizes a system of permanently mounted sensors to enable the recording of vibration measurements without human intervention. Online monitoring could consist of more than just vibration sensors, especially because there are many different failure modes, and it is best to utilize a variety of sensor types to monitor the necessary variables to ensure that early signs of wear and tear or failure are noted. 

Online monitoring systems can be wired, or wireless. With recent advances in battery and wireless transmission technology, wireless online monitoring of machine conditions has become easier, less costly, and technologically advanced as compared to traditional wired solutions.

There are two main types of online vibration monitoring: protection systems and continuous monitoring. Protection systems are typically wired solutions with permanently mounted sensors used to protect equipment. Protection systems adhere to the API (American Petroleum Institute) 670 industry standard. 

Continuous monitoring vibration analysis systems are vibration surveillance systems that are gaining popularity as the cost of these technologies continues to decline. These systems have also traditionally been wired but with new advances in technology, they are quickly adopting a variety of wireless options. Continuous monitoring vibration systems are not API protection systems, they are, however, very well suited for most rotating mechanical equipment and enhance your ability to diagnose machine health and warn of changing conditions remotely 24/7.

What Online Vibration Analysis Instruments does Yelltoec offer?

At Yellotec, we sell various online instruments that will be well-suited to any type of customer. The VibGuard platform is an easily scalable solution for various applications.

The VibGuard is a condition monitoring system that not only monitors your machine’s health but also provides production security and improves the efficiency of your assets. The VibGuard allows critical machines with highly dynamic processes and complex monitoring tasks to be included in a reliability-oriented maintenance schedule.

There are many great features that this online vibration analysis instrument has, it is safe, modular, autonomous, and flexible. Omnitrend Centre is the perfect companion for the configuration of measurement channels, data analysis and reporting. A clear structure makes it very easy to use and provides a working environment where the user feels at home immediately. Advanced functions and the perfectly tailored user interface fulfil even the highest requirements. 

VibGuard forms an integral part of the PRÜFTECHNIK condition monitoring concept which consists of handheld instruments and online monitoring systems. This allows the optimum monitoring solution that meets budgetary and technical requirements to be realized for each plant.

Choosing Online or Portable?

When it comes to choosing the correct instrument for you, there are many features that need to be considered. When choosing between portable and online, you really need to think of which instrument will be best for you and your situation. If you have a few machines that need to be constantly monitored, then online instruments will be the right fit for you. 

When choosing between portable and online, you really need to think of which instrument will be best for you and your situation.

If you have one or two small machines that need to be monitored every few days, then a portable device will be great for you. Portable devices are perfect for daily use.

For more about Online & Portable Vibration Analysis Instruments

We know this process can be overwhelming but at Yellotec we strive to give our customers the best and our competent sales team will walk through this process with you and give their expert opinion and advice on which device will suit you and your needs.

If you are looking for any more information on any of our products, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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