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Vibration Monitoring Services

Monitoring Overview

Response Dynamics Vibration Engineering Inc. provides professional monitoring services for the construction and mining industry, and also for ultra sensitive equipment and facilities, such as those of the semiconductor, biotech, and nanotech industries. We provide remote and on-site monitoring that can be customized for the needs of each unique project.  For many construction projects our basic seismograph monitoring systems are appropriate, for other projects our advanced customizable VMS1 vibration monitoring system is the best choice. The duration of the monitoring programs may vary from hours, to week, to months, to permanent installations.

Response Dynamics VMS1 Vibration Monitoring System - The VMS1 is a state of the art monitoring and analysis system designed by our team of vibration engineering experts. The VMS1 will capture events, spectra, and waveforms that can be sorted, tacked as trends, and compiled in multiple ways to provide a statistical characterization of the environment in a concise and meaningful manner.  It also allows us to move though time, space, frequency, and amplitude with ease. We can find the "needle in the hay stack" immediately. There is no system like it in the world for creating powerful, useful, analyses from data sets both large and small. 

Vibration monitoring at a steam turbine installation
Clean room vibration monitoring

Although we use many basic analysis systems in our consulting work, we rely on the VMS1 monitoring system for multiple projects every year to quickly solve problems involving complex systems, devices, and facilities. 


On large scale problems, like a vibration issue in a large manufacturing plant, we can gather terabytes of vibration data from dozens of sensors in a short time.  The VMS1 allow us to sort through an otherwise staggering amount of data to “finger print” offending disturbance and track the problem vibration to its source. 

Photo links below provide specific information by topic

Facility & System Monitoring

Facility & System Vibration Monitoring

We most commonly use Response Dynamics VMS1 Vibration Monitoring Systems to perform extended duration vibration monitoring of critical facilities and systems.  We also use VMS1 systems to monitor vibration small devices and systems when the vibration disturbances are changing quickly and we want to be able to capture every event and then have the ability to quickly sort through and analyze the events in terms of the time waveforms and frequency content.

The flexibility of the  VMS1's digital signal processing allows for creating a customized analysis tool for every situation.  This is flexibility is critical to creating data sets with the right temporal and spectral resolution to actually identify, characterize, and solve the problem at hand with confidence and accuracy.

VMS1 Continuous Monitoring / Triggered Alerts – The VMS1 continuously monitors the signals from vibration, acoustic noise, magnetic field, or any other sensor, while performing spectral analysis, logging events, compiling statistics, and setting off various alarms(via text, email, and/or flashing lights and sirens) to alert the team that the environmental parameters exceed client thresholds. It is capable of continuously monitoring large arrays of sensors, tracking disturbances over time, powerful statistical analysis to provide meaningful characterizations.  It can be setup anywhere in the world and operated remotely.  

Vibration monitoring services for implant tool
Proving vibration monitoring for pumps at a semi-conductor facility

Some projects we recently used the VMS1 Monitoring System on are as follows:

  • Semiconductor facility multi-source identification of vibration disturbance on stepper pedestal

  • Particle accelerator facility at a national lab, large multi-week characterization of entire facility that included ground vibration attenuation, structure vibration including, cooling towers, cryopumps, compressors, sources such as traffic, trains, aircraft and process and experiment equipment. 

  • Paper mill drive motor and support structure vibration analysis and diagnostic trouble shooting.  Response Dynamics had provided the structural dynamics consulting and performed modal testing and then FEA modeling of various support structure designs.  This was the final step to qualify our design work.

  • 250 Megawatt steam co-gen turbine diagnostic testing for intermittent vibration issue using accelerometers, displacement proximeters for case movement, and strain gages on force members, while monitoring existing bearing vibration signals and shaft vibration.  Our analysis of the data was a key part of solving the intermittent vibration issue

  • 4 Megawatt aero-derivative gas turbine vibration characterization

  • Building vibration and magnetic field survey for a new location for a medical research facility (small VMS1 system 16 channels), monitoring for several days to capture and fully characterize the vibration environment and all transient events that could affect research equipment (note many high resolution tool manufacturers use a brief 5 minute "snap shot" of the environment and often miss many important disturbance sources)

  • PC Board stain testing during complex assembly process to de-bug component failure (small VMS1 system 16 channels), setup experiment to efficiently go though entire assembly process in multiple ways to capture peak strains at each step

In a semiconductor facility, for example, a high resolution tool is suspected of having a vibration related problem.  It may be a tool problem, or a facility problem. The tool is located in a facility with changing excitations, from multiple types of sources throughout the fab, with various stop/start times, and as a result the system has failures that may, or may not, be related to certain processes within the plant.  The 1st generation VMS1 was, in fact, built to address this all too common problem back in the early 1990s during the boom in the manufacturing of memory.  The VMS1 has since been deployed in many semiconductor plants around the world.  The VMS1 monitoring system has evolved into a system we use routinely in our work in all industries, including heavy industries, as well as bio-tech, and the high-tech industries. We continue to improve the system to help us perform our work more efficiently and effectively.  It has become indispensable. 

Intermittent Vibration Issue in Large Semiconductor FacilityWe were asked to identify vibration problems on a stepper pedestal in a large semiconductor manufacturing plant. Monitoring of the pedestal showed vibration sources at multiple frequencies, each of which needed to be identified and the vibration transmission addressed.  The plot below presents frequency components that most often exceed the stepper vibration specs.

1 spectra of stepper pedestal vibration

​We tracked the vibration disturbance and found it had a time domain pattern.  It appeared for exactly 6 minutes and 45 seconds every time.  The plot below is a trend of the vibration disturbance on the pedestal over a typical hour in which the disturbance was present.  The time wave form periodicity gave us the clue we needed to ID this source.

1 trend 17.15 Hz disturbance stepper ped

The time histories in the plot below show the modulation associated with the periodic translation of the ion implant tool wheel, as expected for this process tool.

1 time waveform of ion implant tool dist

Ground Motion Survey at Critical Facility – The plot below presents a summary of the ground vibration measured during a 750 hour survey.  We can go into our data at the sites with maximum disturbance and trend the frequency components, or look at individual offending events to understand the different types of sources that disturb the facility.

1 ground vibration summary chart multi c

The example below shows a single snap shot of a transient disturbance that created a max event.  The transient has the time signature of an impulsive source exciting a soil resonance. The timing correlates with the arrival of a liquid nitrogen truck. 

1 ground vibration road traffic transien

The plot below is of a very large low frequency vibration transient.  At the national lab there many possible sources that were possible sources of low frequency ground vibration.  With over 60 triaxial ground motion geophones spread over the nation lab facility we could see that this low frequency transient was all over the facility suggesting a large source at a large distance from teh lab.  A look at the train schedule showed that the timing of these transients correlated with the passenger train timing of it weekly schedule. 


The triangular shape shows the train’s approach and its moving away from the side.  The dynamics of the stairwell appear to amplify the train induced ground motion.

1 time waveform of ground vibration tren

Time Trend of Vibration Measured During a Passing Train

Train noise monitoring.png

Amtrack train passing causing Vibration

Circuit Board Component Failure – Recently, we have used the VMS1 to de-bug an intermittent component failure issue on a PC board thought to be due to an assembly issue.  The PCB was instrumented with strain gages and the strain monitored by the VMS1 while it was assembled in the product.  We were able to capture the short time domain strain transients associated with different in assembly techniques and show why the PCB component was failing and how to change the assembly procedure to remedy the problem. 

Strain sensors installed on a circuit board to debug intermittent component failure

Strain Sensors Installed on a Circuit Board

strain measurement using the VMS1 system

The VMS1 System is an extremely versatile and powerful continuous monitoring system that is often used to simultaneously monitor vibration and numerous other system parameters that may be potential causes of the excessive vibration.  For example, the plot below shows a 6 hour duration time trend of steam turbine vibration and numerous steam turbine operation parameters such as shaft speed, power, intake and exhaust temperatures, etc.

example of a vibration event graph

Construction Vibration Monitoring

Construction Vibration
Professional construction vibration monitoring services for the construction industry

We provide professional construction vibration monitoring services for the construction industry. Our remote and on-site monitoring systems can be customized for the needs of each unique construction and demolition project. Vibration and acoustic noise monitoring is often required under many local, state, and federal regulations. As part of our construction vibration monitoring services, we guide our clients through these laws and codes, evaluate our clients needs given the project plan, provide training where necessary. The project can then proceed forward as efficiently and aggressively as possible while meeting the project requirements.

We also setup monitoring equipment for commercial property owners to help protect them from incurring damage from undocumented levels of ground motion when a potentially aggressive construction or demolition project is planned to occur near the property.

From a practical standpoint, vibration monitoring is often prudent for both the contractor and neighbors affected by the project. Complaints from neighboring facilities and residences can bring construction to a standstill. Accusations of vibration induced settling and/or damage can be costly and time consuming. Monitoring ground or structure vibration provides an independent objective measure of the sound and vibration levels. Starting a project with vibration and acoustic noise monitoring in place shows the concerned parties that their needs are an important part of the planning process.


We use dedicated construction vibration monitoring equipment capable of logging ground motion and acoustic noise for extended periods. The vibration monitoring equipment is available with remote operation, downloading capability, triggered alarms, text messaging and email alerts. Large vibration and acoustic event triggers can be set to industry standard thresholds, or to any arbitrary trigger level, to capture the vibration and acoustic noise disturbance.


Stand Alone Sound Level Monitoring - When acoustic noise is the primary concern, we provide Acoustic Monitoring Services that involve logging sound level meters that perform triggered event capture as well as characterizations in the time and frequency domain, and statistical summaries.

Response Dynamics was founded by Reuben Hale in 1984 and is now in our 36th year of providing vibration monitoring services, to a wide range of clients.  Response Dynamics has provided vibration monitoring services and instrumentation on numerous projects associated with the control and monitoring of construction-induced vibration and/or acoustic noise, including monitoring of vibration on levees during nearby construction activities.  A few representative projects include the following:

  • Monterey Pipeline Project - Development and implementation of a plan for control and monitoring the construction-induced Noise and Vibration during nearby construction associated with installation of 7 miles of 48” diameter pipeline through residential, commercial and historic areas of Monterey and Seaside, California.This project duration was more than 1 year.

  • San Francisco Cesar Chavez Flood and Stormwater Management Sewer Improvement Project - Development and implementation of a plan for control and monitoring the construction-induced Vibration during nearby construction associated with installation of miles of pipeline through residential and commercial areas of San Francisco, California.This project duration was more than 5 months

  • PG&E Humboldt Power Plant Project - Development and implementation of a plan for control and monitoring the construction-induced vibration during nearby construction associated with installation of sheet piles in the vicinity of the Power Plant operating at the site.Project duration about 1 year.

  • Development and implementation of a plan for control and monitoring the construction-induced vibration during nearby demolition activities in preparation for new construction at the Downtown Berkeley BART station

  • Development and implementation of a plan for monitoring the acoustic noise at numerous locations near the property line of a swim club facility related to concerns of potential disturbance to the residential neighbors.

  • Numerous projects involving monitoring of vibration and/or acoustic noise in or near structures in the vicinity of construction and demolition activities.These projects typically involve the deployment of portable battery powered vibration and noise monitoring seismographs that communicate with the outside world via Verizon cellular modems.In the event of measured signal peaks exceeding specified trigger levels, alarm messages are sent out via email and/or text messages which our customers receive on their smart phones.Additionally these portable units upload (via the Verizon wireless modems) their daily measurement files to our computers for our report preparation.

  • Monitoring of vibration and noise from dozens of quarry production blasts in an ongoing project located adjacent to residential structures.

  • Monitoring of construction-induced vibration at critical facilities such as facilities for semiconductor wafer fabrication, pharmaceutical quality assurance testing, health information data processing and storage. This monitoring was performed to document the levels of vibration and to provide prompt feedback to the construction crew in the event that vibration exceeded specified threshold levels

  • Monitoring of drilling operations in the vicinity of nearby existing structures to document the levels of vibration and to provide feedback to the drilling crew in the event that vibration exceeded threshold levels.


Blast Vibration Monitoring Data Plots

Response Dynamics offers two systems for construction vibration monitoring:

  • Compact Construction Monitoring system - This compact system monitors vibration and acoustic noise using a three axis geophone for X, Y, and Z vibration velocity, with an external remote microphone and windscreen that is located separately. This system is compact, cost-effective, and will continuously log, capture transient events that exceed user defined trigger levels, send alert texts and emails, and report vibration levels in the correct format to compare with standards for assessing risk of structural damage. Detailed reports can be downloaded that include plots of peak particle velocity as a function of frequency with a comparison of the widely accepted standards developed by the mining industry, and OSMRE, to asses when structural damage is likely. Multiple systems are often used together to monitor large projects. This compact system is battery or line powered and can be unattended for many days or weeks with remote operation.


  • Response Dynamics VMS1 Vibration Monitoring System - The VMS1 is a very powerful monitoring system suited for challenging projects with unique requirements. Response Dynamics has been developing VMS1 Vibration Monitoring System for over two decades to efficiently gather the data our clients need. The VMS1 offers a continuous characterization of the environment that can be reported in a concise and meaningful manner, allowing us to move though time, space, frequency, and amplitude with ease. We can find the "needle in the hay stack" immediately.

    The VMS1 continuously monitors the signals from vibration, acoustics noise, magnetic field, or any other sensor, while performing spectral analysis, logging events, compiling statistics, and setting off various alarms that alert the team (via text, email, and/or flashing lights and sirens) that the environmental parameters exceed client thresholds.

  • Reuben Hale first developed the system to monitor vibration, acoustic noise, and other signals, for the semiconductor industry during the fab construction boom in the early 1990's. The system developed not only as a monitoring and vibration alert tool, but as a trouble-shooting and characterization tool. The system has been refined and has evolved to be a one of a kind, state of the art monitoring system that will collect thousands of measurements and yet provide you with the power to see exactly where, when, and how your facility is disturbed with a few key strokes. There is no system like it in the world. Some of the system attributes include:

  • Capable of measurement of Ultra-low vibration levels for high resolution sensitive equipment and processes

  • Custom frequency dependent thresholds that can be set in any units over standard, or user specified, frequency bands

  • Time domain custom thresholds and alerts

  • Unlimited measurement channels

  • Custom Function Channels that may depend on multiple channels and parameters

  • Custom text and email alerts

  • Capture, Trend, Sort

  • Spectral Analysis with custom filtering, spectral resolution, and bandwidth

  • Powerful Statistical Analyses and post processing for the concise characterization of the environment as well as all problematic events.

This monitoring system was developed for custom applications where our clients have manufacturing tools, processes, or systems with unique time and frequency dependent sensitivities. Response Dynamics developed the first VMS1 monitoring system in the early 1990s in response to a need in the semiconductor industry to monitor the vibration, acoustic noise, and magnetic field levels in their semiconductor fabs to insure that their processes were not being disturbed as the facility sites continuously changed with new equipment and greater facility demand. The VMS1 system has continued to evolve over the last two decades.

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