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DIGITAL MANUFACTURING


Digital Monitoring Keeps the Lines Flowing


Digital condition monitoring of overhead material handling systems can help to reduce downtime in aerospace production facilities.


R


esponding to the surge in digital manufacturing technology as part of wider Industry 4.0 implementations across the aerospace and other industries, German connectivity,


monitoring and digital manufacturing specialist, Harting is making use of its MICA Edge computing platform to reduce production downtime. A condition monitoring system based on MICA


Edge is being used for the early detection of wear in the overhead conveyor systems used in production lines in the aerospace, automotive and other industries. The failure of individual support frames in these conveyors can lead to the stoppage of entire production lines, but the MICA-based system detects wear at an early stage and thus prevents unplanned downtime.


DIGITAL CONDITION MONITORING Overhead conveyor systems in production lines transport components or subassemblies through individual assembly sections. Worn rollers or damage to drives can lead to the failure of individual support frames, which inevitably leads to a bottleneck of the entire production line due to the serial guidance of the overhead conveyor. To prevent failures, the Harting monitoring system offers a means of performing digital condition monitoring of the supporting frames. Here, creeping wear is detected and a warning of a potential failure is issued in good time. The system helps reduce unplanned failure of the overhead conveyor. Maintenance costs can also be significantly reduced by condition-based maintenance. The goal is to achieve higher overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of the suspended conveyor. Since the condition- monitoring system is designed to retrofit to existing equipment, it is also possible to extend the lifetime of legacy material handling systems.


6 /// Aerospace Test & Validation Vol 2 No. 1


❱ ❱ Expensive downtime due to failures


of overhead material handling


systems in


aerospace and automotive industries can be reduced with the use of digital condition monitoring


VIBRATION DETECTION The method developed by Harting consists of two highly sensitive sensor boxes and a MICA Edge computer which directly evaluates the sensor values and transmits them to the control system via an integrated Wi-Fi function. The sensors continuously detect vibrations in the bearings, rotors and motors as well as motor frequency, the motor current and the temperature of the drives. Threshold values are input to the MICA Edge system


by material handling system experts based on known parameters and the effect of wear on these parameters. As experience is gained in the use of the system, parameter value combinations can be modelled to gain more accurate predictions and develop a more precise maintenance strategy for all moving equipment in the production process. If a threshold value is exceeded, the moving-state monitoring set sends a message to the operating equipment via the control system. Affected supporting racks are taken out of service in a targeted manner and serviced.


RETROFIT CAPABILITY The condition monitoring set can be retrofitted for all types of transport systems with slow moving components, such as escalators, elevators and conveyor belts. Thanks to the IP 65/67 protection class of the sensor boxes and the MICA, the system can be operated without problem in numerous ambient conditions. The approach taken by Harting is in keeping


with Industry 4.0 practices enabling manufacturing organisations to make use of the Industrial Internet- of-Things (IIoT) to improve performance in design, manufacture, maintenance and distribution. The ability to retrofit I4.0 systems such as the MICA Edge monitoring system is a key enabler in transforming existing legacy manufacturing lines into digital enterprises.


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