Industrial motor supplier opts for in- house bespoke test equipment with simple to configure contactless torque sensing to monitor performance.


olutions Engineering, a manufacturer of specialist industrial motors based in Stoke on Trent, has chosen to use an in-house testing process for its re- engineered range of motors. The company produces a wide range of bespoke slip ring motors for driving equipment such as vibrators and pumps. These currently range between 4kW and 55kW but larger units are also in the planning stage. Using a bespoke testing station that the company built to its own specification using a piezo electric torque transducer from Sensor Technology, it has the capability of testing the performance of both its current motors and those it plans to produce in the future.

According to Solutions Engineering’s Managing Director,

David Wood, the company’s motors are very robust and are often returned after 20 or 30 years arduous service for re-engineering. “Because most of our motors are one-offs, we couldn’t find an off-the-shelf test rig that met our wide ranging needs so we set about building our own. The mechanical side of the design had to allow for a considerable variation in motor sizes but by using a TorqSense transducer, we were able to keep the electrical engineering commendably simple.”

CONTACTLESS TORQUE MONITORING The test load is created using an eddy current brake, which was made by replacing the armature of a DC motor with a solid block with a large integral cooling fan for thermal management during heavy duty testing. In fact there are two brakes, large and small, which can be easily interchanged to match the motor being tested. “During tests, we vary the load by injecting a field into the

brake using a variable output DC drive,” says Wood. The brake aligns with the TorqSense, which is mounted on

two fixed pedestal bearings, and is connected to its output shaft. The test motor is mounted on a variable height bed and connected via a cardan shaft to the input shaft of the transducer. TorqSense monitors the torque in a rotating shaft without

actually contacting it, thus doing away with slip rings and other delicate components. Instead, it uses a radio frequency transmission head to monitor ‘surface effect waves’ which are created by all rotating bodies.


Output signals from TorqSense are fed into a PC for analysis: Solutions Engineering chose to use TorqView, dedicated

❱ ❱ Torque sensing equipment

provides contactless monitoring capabilities for re-engineered electrical motors

software that generates a real time visual instrumentation display as well as logging the data for later analysis. TorqView was introduced by Sensor Technology to make the technology as user friendly as possible. It provides fully configurable and scalable graphics modules so that the information can be presented in a number of different formats including discrete digital readouts, analogue dials or bar graphs, for example. User configurable inputs, such as 4-20mA signals from accelerometers, allow complete customisation of TorqView for every application. Data such as peak values, time-sequenced and time-

stamped values can also be collected and stored in text files or spreadsheets and exported to other programs for subsequent analysis. Text comments can be incorporated into the data, either using an auto-trigger function or discretely as the user requires. “TorqSense transducers are the easiest and most reliable

way I have found to collect real-time performance data from machine drive shafts,” says Wood. “TorqView’s user friendliness continues this ideal of simplicity. All our engineers and technicians use the test rig with a fluency that is only possible because of the simplicity inherent in every aspect of its design.”

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