Products & Solutions
Condition Monitoring Overview
Condition monitoring is a necessity in modern production and business models. Condition monitoring (or, colloquially, CM) is the process of monitoring a parameter of condition in machinery (vibration, temperature, et cetera) to identify a significant change that is indicative of a developing fault. It is a major component of predictive maintenance.
Companies cannot afford any unexpected downtime caused by machine malfunction and power. Taking precautions to monitor the health and viability of equipment is a must. Condition monitoring allows to operate old machines and infrastructure (e.g. conveyor systems) longer than originally planned. This way, investments can be minimized and shifted to strategically important topics.
What Can You do with Condition Monitoring?
1. Monitor machines remotely
Injection molding machines have a lifetime of up to 30 years. There was no internet or cell phone available 30 years ago. These olden-but-golden machines can be operated in many more years, even concerning the mechanical parts. With MICA, you can digitally retrofit your legacy machines and retrofit excellent condition monitoring. MICA speaks all major protocols of the injection molding machines (Euromap 15, Euromap 63 and OPC-UA). This way, you can connect your machines to new information technology systems and the cloud.
2. Collect and visualize data in real time to predict errors
In manufacturing, unexpected downtime has far-reaching and expensive consequences. Condition monitoring with MICA gives transparency to the health status of the equipment. As soon as a parameter is outside of the expected norm, it can be addressed in a controlled manner. This prevents downtime during normal working hours.
3. Use condition monitoring information to remotely prevent issues
Some applications can only be monitored remotely. An example of this is a gearbox on wind turbines. Insights provided by condition monitoring, such as the temperature in critical points, and adjustments can be made to fix those conditions should they be outside of the norm. For example, changing the speeds of the turbine rotation can reduce temperatures inside the turbine.
4. Reduce service and travel cost by allowing remote access
One of the unexpected costs of downtime is service and travel costs. Using sensor data and displaying machines as digital twins is the fastest way to avoid downtime. Maintenance can be scheduled when it is cost effective and convenient.
5. Have access to real-time data in your pocket
Never worry about your machine late at night or while you are on the road. Conditions can be accessed anytime and anywhere, so you are never unprepared.
How Do I Get Started With Condition Monitoring?
MICA CISS Kit
Get started prototyping your solution with the HARTING MICA CISS Complete Starter Kit. This kit contains everything needed for a basic condition monitoring application.
A gearbox manufacturer needed to maximize the output efficiency of wind power stations to reduce the need for maintenance. To do this, they needed a solution that constantly monitors the temperature within the gearbox. Sensors on the gearbox would read the temperature and shut down the wind turbine/motor or reduce the speed in case of abnormal temperatures. The turbine speed would return to normal once the gearbox reached a normal temperature. In addition to preventing overheating, the information would be used at a central location to gather insight on the overall health of the wind power plant.
Temperature measurement from inside a gearbox or motor is especially difficult because sensors cannot be connected to long cables because they would get tangled up during rotation. The unique inaccessibility associated with wind power stations means that a maintenance-free solution is required. This need would not be met if power source needed to be replaced periodically (i.e. no batteries allowed). Despite these strict requirements, this kind of solution is possible using UHF passive RFID, as the power can be harvested directly from the RF signals transmitted by the RFID antenna. The HARTING ETBv2 sensor simultaneously absorbs RF energy to activate the temperature sensor, as well as transmits the dynamic temperature reading over RFID, back to the reader. In addition to these communication requirements, the solution needed to be able to process the information locally, so that abnormalities in temperature could be processed and reacted-to appropriately, directly at the source.
- Antenna: Ha-VIS RF-ANT MR20 or Ha-VIS LOCFIELD®
- Transponder: Ha-VIS ETBv2
The perfect solution used the MICA RF-R350 combined with one of HARTING's RFID sensor transponders: the Ha-VIS ETBv2. The ETBv2 is approved for use on-metal and rated to IP67, making it suitable for the application's environment. The transponder contains a power harvester, which allowed it to capture temperature readings from an attached PT1000 temperature sensor. Since the transponder is passive, it could gather power wirelessly and then power the temperature sensor. This enables the temperature sensing location to be different than the transmitting location. This features allows temperature values inside a metal axis to be detected, which is critical to accurately monitoring the condition of the gearbox. The ETBv2 is located in the gearbox and passes through the antenna field of the Ha-VIS RF-R350 during each rotation. The antennas are located on the nonrotating parts of the gearbox, connected to the power stations systems.
Once the transponder passes through the antenna field, it is read and transmitted to the HARTING MICA RF-R350 for processing. The flexibility of the software allows the MICA to both read the raw data and process it locally. The MICA also could send a directive to the gearbox to reduce the speed if temperatures exceed a certain limit. Furthermore, the MICA stores and sends information to the cloud so analytics on the individual gearbox could be processed to provide insight into the overall health of the application. The combination of the HARTING MICA RF-R350 with RFID provides a completely automated solution for ensuring efficiency and preventing downtime.
A automobile manufacturer needed to extend the life of their equipment by 10 years as well as prevent unexpected downtime and operate at optimal efficiency. The company needed to monitor the parameters of their equipment in real time so that if anything was out of the ordinary, maintenance could be performed immediately. The company also needed to ensure that downtime would be minimized. This means that they would need to know whenever a parameter was out of operating range so that they could fix it before it caused a machine or conveyor breakdown.
The company used a HARTING MICA with MODBUS/RTU interface, MODBOX (by partner Formsmedia) and a customized sensor. This solution monitored vibration, temperature and current of the electrical drive and conveyor. If anything was out of operating range, the company would be informed immediately and the issue resolved before any unexpected downtime occurred.
Long-Term Benefits of Monitoring a Machine's Health
Machines, like everything else, have a lifespan of useful function that depends heavily on a variety of factors. The better the machines are taken care of and their needs addressed, the longer their lifespan and the better they function throughout that lifespan.
For people, there are a variety of factors, such as weight blood pressure, that are used to determine a person's health. When one of those factors is outside of a normal range, changes are recommended, either in diet or through prescription, to bring those conditions back to a normal range to prolong a person's life expectancy. While the conditions are different, this is the same idea behind machine health. If a parameter on a machine is operating outside an acceptable range, this is an indication that the machine needs maintenance performed to bring that condition back to normal range. For example, if a machine is drawing substantially more power than normal or than another machine of the same model, it is indicative that there is something that needs to be addressed on the machine. Problems with machines may not be visible or noticeable until the machine breaks down. This is why special hardware and software is needed. Over time, monitoring a machine's health and performing maintenance will increase operational efficiency, reduce costs associated with downtime and extend the useful life of a machine.
How-to Monitor Your Machine
How to monitor a machine's health
To monitor a machine, various Nondestructive Testing Technologies (NDT) are used, such as vibration, light and temperature. This is achieved primarily through sensors that are connected directly to a machine. The sensor data needs to be connected to a device that can collect and collate the data and software that can visualize the data so an operator can review the conditions.While there are various ways to process data, such as sending it to the cloud or another computer on a network, the best way is to process the data right at the device. This is known as "the edge," and a computer operating here is an edge-computing device. Edge-computing devices can filter out important data and send only what's valuable to the cloud. In addition, if there is an urgent issue, the edge-computing device can address it much quicker than if all computation happened in the cloud. For example, if the temperature on a machine reaches a critical high the edge-computing device can shut it down immediately.
How to start monitoring a machine's health
A good way to start is with one machine to prototype your solution and see the benefits before making a larger investment. The best place to start is with the HARTING MICA CISS Complete IIoT Starter kit. This kit has everything needed for a basic condition-monitoring application, including the HARTING MICA industrial edge gateway, a Bosch CISS sensor that monitors eight conditions, and software. Best of all, you can get up and running monitoring of your machine's health in less than 10 minutes.