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Monitoring solutions for rotating machinery based on Industry 4.0

07/12/2018

Maintenance work on machinery in the industrial sector is essential to ensure personal safety and the productivity and efficiency of the machines. The right maintenance can also minimize unprogrammed production downtimes and avoid the extra costs these represent. In the particular case of rotating machinery, maintenance needs to be specialised because the machinery undergoes very different operating conditions, depending on the process and the task it performs.

Within systems that include one or more rotating machines, initial operating characteristics are essential to ensure correct maintenance during their working life because they act as a reference when it comes to detecting errors. This sensing work is only possible with the right  monitoring and frequency of systems, together with the comparison of data extracted against their original state. In this way, it is possible to detect inappropriate use or operation of machinery in advance, achieving a higher level of reliability in industrial processes.

 

Industry 4.0 and condition monitoring

 

In recent years, the concept of maintenance has undergone a major evolution in the industrial sector. Predictive maintenance has taken the place of reactive: we no longer wait for the machine to fail to act and proceed with its repair, we check its operation on a regular basis to anticipate any failures and minimize any consequences. To carry out predictive maintenance, it is necessary to perform continuous monitoring of the condition of the machinery.

 

The development of monitoring techniques has enabled the optimization of industrial maintenance process, avoiding non-foreseen production shutdowns that generate big revenue losses. They also mean that shutdowns can be programmed to carry out adjustments and repairs. There are many ways of carrying out condition monitoring of machines, one of the most comprehensive being vibration checks. Through it,  it is possible to locate the wear and tear of a mechanism, check the damage that its use has caused over time, and even identify the root cause of the failure.

 

Rotating machinery monitoring

 

Vibration-based condition monitoring is the best technique to make diagnoses of rotating machinery, as the measurements allow the accurate identification of the origin of failures. Thanks to this technique, machine operators can interpret the data easily and take the necessary maintenance steps to avoid unnecessary shutdowns, hazardous situations and secondary damage.

 

Two methods are used to measure vibration: manual and online. The first is used by operators to take measurements manually on the machines at regular intervals. To reduce the margin of error during the process, an initial level of automation has been incorporated that provides graphic functions for in-process measurements. The system also automatically identifies the location of the measurements to guide the operator and help him/her to complete the entire measurement process correctly. Although this procedure already incorporates an automated process, it cannot be considered integrated into the Industry 4.0 strategy because the automation element does not cover the entire range of components; in this modality, it is necessary to enter data so that the measurements can be transferred and processed analytically by the maintenance management system.

 

Online monitoring systems, in contrast, act as autonomous 'black boxes' that collect an enormous range of data from a network of strategically located sensors. Solutions based on Industry 4.0 not only allow online systems to be connected to a company's network, but also to SCADA systems that monitor and control industrial process remotely. This facilitates the bidirectional exchange of data such as speed, temperature, pressure and the start and finish of the process. It also means that all the information can be used by one or more systems to achieve good, secure data management through the use of Smart Data tools.

 

Online condition monitoring also enables the autonomous measurement of the vibrations that occur in each process or stage of an operation, to check correct operation independently and with a selective alert system. These variables help to identify a process in which changes or major disturbances have occurred. These can then be analysed through Smart Data tools to apply corrective action.

 

Dominion’s value proposal

 

The most reliable monitoring solution combines the manual and online systems. The result of this combined system is a condition monitoring program that is robust, safe and maximizes productivity levels. It also helps to reduce the workload and redistribute tasks in a more efficient manner.

 

Pruftechnik Condition Monitoring GmbH has developed solutions for highly reliable predictive maintenance systems, with vibration-based condition monitoring systems adapted to the parameters of Industry 4.0. It also offers solutions for the identification and correction of the root cause of failures in rotating machinery.

 

The expertise acquired by Dominion in the Industry 4.0 sector, together with the solutions provided by Pruftechnik, contribute to creating safe industrial environments based on the optimization of costs, precision, reliability and high availability under the slogan: “Move Data, not People”.

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