GENSET Condition/Health

Measuring vibration levels at strategic locations on a GENSET’s structure is a common method for determining its condition/health.  Operators typically acquire baseline vibration measurements after the initial installation and then periodically collect vibration data sets to see if the vibration levels have changed.  By monitoring the vibration levels and spectra, vibration analysts can determine when maintenance is required.

Vibration Monitoring Types

In general, operators implement one of three types of vibration monitoring plans. Which plan is implemented depends on manpower availability and the funding available for sensors, hardware and infrastructure.  This table lists the three vibration monitoring plans and the pros and cons associated with each plan.

Genset Vib Monitoring3

Genset Vibration Testing Standards

Vibration testing and analysis for gensets (generators) are crucial for ensuring their reliability, durability, and operational efficiency. Several standards and guidelines can be applied to evaluate vibration levels, diagnose potential issues, and guide the design and maintenance of these systems. Here are some key standards relevant to vibration testing and analysis of gensets:

ISO 8528-9:

This part of the ISO 8528 series specifically addresses measurement and evaluation of mechanical vibrations of reciprocating engine driven generator sets. It defines the terms used, specifies the principal measurements and evaluation criteria, and outlines the typical vibration levels that might be expected.

ISO 10816 / 20816:

This series of standards, particularly parts applicable to industrial machines, offers guidance on evaluating machine vibration by measurements on both non-rotating parts and rotating shafts. ISO 20816 provides general criteria and specific guidance for different machine types, including large machines with low operating speeds, which can be relevant for some genset applications.

API 546/ISO 10440-1:

These standards focus on large rotating machines and provide specifications for vibration analysis and balancing. They can be applicable to generator sets, especially in terms of the components like the rotating shafts and bearings.


Though not specifically for gensets, this standard provides recommended practices for the repair of rotating electrical apparatus. It includes guidelines for vibration testing as part of the quality control process after repairs, which can be relevant for gensets undergoing maintenance.


This military standard includes methods for environmental testing and could be relevant for gensets used in military or similar demanding environments. It covers vibration testing to simulate conditions that equipment might face during its lifecycle.

IEC 60034-14:

This standard relates to the mechanical vibration of certain machines with shaft heights 56 mm and higher. It includes measurement, evaluation, and limits of vibration severity.

When applying these standards, it’s important to consider the specific operating conditions, configurations, and requirements of your genset. Additionally, industry-specific guidelines or company internal standards might also exist, complementing the above standards to ensure comprehensive vibration analysis and testing protocols are in place.

Vibration Testing Resources

Our engineers, analysts, and technicians have been implementing plans and testing GENSETs for years.  They are available to support your GENSET planning and testing.  Let us know how we can help.


Mark Yeager

CAT III Vibration Analyst

Ryan Welker

Ryan Welker

VP of Operations