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SENSORS & SYSTEMS Condition Monitoring


Intelligent sensor simplifies condition monitoring tasks


A new compact online sensor, launched at Maintec 2012, can monitor the condition of vibrating screens, pumps and motors


as flow rate, can provide an early warning of impending problems. By monitoring these parameters, users are provided with a broad basis of information, in real time, which enables the accurate assessment of machine condition. Condition monitoring technology has moved on at


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quite a pace over the last few years, with a myriad of options for users. Areas such as vibration monitoring and subsequent failure detection which once required the most complex analysis software and a wealth of practical experience can now be accomplished by simple sensing devices. One such product is the FAG SmartCheck from Schaeffler, an online condition monitoring device that meets the needs of users in a diverse range of industries and applications, including monitoring of vibrating screens, motors, pumps, compressors and decanters. FAG SmartCheck is extremely compact, easy to install


and is typically mounted direct to the machine housing. Small and lightweight, the device can fit into areas on a machine where space is restricted. Due to its patented self-learning (Teach-In) mode, FAG SmartCheck’s alarm thresholds are adjusted automatically. After set up and commissioning, the device operates autonomously. The relevant machine parameters are measured and saved continuously in the system. In this way, a substantial database of historical data is created over time. Users can also access the FAG SmartCheck web


server via a standard Internet browser in order to configure the system and visualise the latest data in real time. The recorded data can be retrieved directly and easily via FAG SmartCheck’s Ethernet interface and analysed using the analysis software supplied.


Monitoring vibrating screens As vibrating screens are normally positioned at the beginning of production lines, unplanned downtime or production stoppages are very costly. What is


housing temperature were recorded and correlated with the vibration signals to enable intelligent process monitoring. However, the customer’s main priority was the vibration measurement results, which gave an early indication of any damage to the rolling bearings.


useful, then, is a reliable online monitoring system to maximise the availability (uptime) of its vibrating screens for customers. FAG SmartCheck has already proven itself under these extremely harsh operating conditions for vibrating screens. This intelligent measuring system has been installed on vibrating screens to detect key parameters and to ensure high machine availability. As vibrating screens generate high vibration levels, a key challenge is to filter out the correct information to enable accurate diagnosis and early detection of signs of damage or wear to machine components before they lead to or component failures and machine breakdowns. One vibrating screen customer for FAG SmartCheck is


German manufacturer Spaleck. Here, FAG SmartCheck is not only providing accurate, reliable monitoring of vibrating screens, but also is easy to set up, configure and operate – users require no specialist knowledge or software programming skills. As standard, each device is supplied with more than 20 different parameter templates, which help to ensure problem-free operation of Spaleck’s vibrating screens.


Monitoring electric motors Bearing defects in electric motors can also be detected early by monitoring vibration and noise levels. Schorch Elektrische Maschinen und Antriebe, for example, required a reliable, cost-effective method of monitoring its motors, in terms of both monitoring bearing damage and other parameters such as temperature, load and speed. This comprehensive source of data would provide continuous information about the overall


condition of machinery, including difficult-to-access machines or ones installed in remote locations. In order to provide information about the long-term


condition of machines in the field, access to historical data was also needed. Schorch therefore installed FAG SmartCheck on the drive motor of a piston compressor. Further parameters such as room temperature and motor


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Decanters, pumps and compressors FAG SmartCheck is also proving to be an attractive, reliable solution for other OEM applications. For example, the device was installed on a decanter machine to accurately detect whether any machine imbalances were caused by problems with either the worm gear or the drum. In this case, identifying the root cause of vibrations was critical because maintenance procedures differed depending on the source of the imbalance. Other types of condition monitoring systems are often unable to reliably identify these ‘floating imbalances’ between the worm and the drum. On vacuum pumps, FAG SmartCheck is helping to


identify imbalances, incorrect shaft alignments and bearing damage. These critical operating conditions, if left undetected, could lead to the stoppage of a complete production line. Due to its flexibility, FAG SmartCheck is an attractive


solution for machines that are installed in remote locations, for example, flood control pumps in reservoirs. Here, the measurement data from the pumps can be accessed remotely using secure, remote Internet connections. Operators are permanently informed about the condition of their machines without having to be on- site and if necessary can take immediate counter- measures if alarm thresholds are exceeded. FAG SmartCheck is also being used successfully for


monitoring the condition of compressors. These units are often subjected to heavy loads and considerable vibrations, which means unplanned downtimes can occur suddenly without warning. By installing FAG SmartCheck, it was possible to reduce this risk. For example, bearing damage was detected by FAG SmartCheck at such an early stage that contact between the screws was prevented. This allowed maintenance to be scheduled accordingly, which was much more cost effective for the customer. The device can easily be retrofitted to existing compressors because fitting requires no mechanical modifications. www.schaeffler.co.uk


INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY • July 2012


here are few industries these days where downtime isn’t critical, so the ability to monitor vibration and temperature, as well as a range of machine and process-specific parameters such


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