Efficiently and Automatically Detecting Machine Failure Before it Occurs

The early signs of an imminent breakdown in machinery are often small changes of vibrations that warn of extreme wear on bearings, on which the machinery’s efficient function depends on. If left unattended, as they are not easy to detect, these vibrations can result in under-performance, energy wastage and expensive inefficiency as slow-motion failure begins. If still undetected this leads to a full-scale loss of production, and the removal and replacement of damaged parts from the process machinery.

Until recently there has not been a scalable technique for easy vibration sensing, and preventive monitoring of components that incorporates low-cost real-time monitoring techniques. This article discusses a new device that detects small bearing vibrations in the early stages.

SmartCheck from Schaeffler

Intelligent machine monitoring is now a reality, through FAG SmartCheck from Schaeffler Australia (Figure 1). The system provides continuous online measurements to detect rolling bearing imbalances, damage, and misalignments, among other faults.

LEFT: 1 Status LED, red, yellow, green 2 Membrane key, alarm reset 3 Membrane key, activate teach mode 4 Interface: Ethernet, power supply, PoE 5 Interface 6 RS485, power supply 6 Interface: inputs and outputs, analogue and digital. RIGHT: Smartphone as alarm receiver

Figure 1. LEFT: 1 Status LED, red, yellow, green 2 Membrane key, alarm reset 3 Membrane key, activate teach mode 4 Interface: Ethernet, power supply, PoE 5 Interface 6 RS485, power supply 6 Interface: inputs and outputs, analogue and digital. RIGHT: Smartphone as alarm receiver

Applications

SmartCheck can be employed in various industry sectors such as manufacturing, minerals, energy, and petroleum, to detect vibrations in processing equipment, motors, compressors, gear boxes, pumps, fans and ventilators, machine tools, spindles, decanters, separators, and vibrating screens (Figure 2).

Machinery to which SmartCheck applies extends from major mineral, manufacturing, petroleum, energy and primary processing equipment through to diverse electric and geared motors, gearboxes and compressors, vacuum and fluid pumps, ventilators and fans, spindles and machine tools, separators and decanters and vibrating screens.

Figure 2. Machinery to which SmartCheck applies extends from major mineral, manufacturing, petroleum, energy and primary processing equipment through to diverse electric and geared motors, gearboxes and compressors, vacuum and fluid pumps, ventilators and fans, spindles and machine tools, separators and decanters and vibrating screens.

Other application sectors include food and beverage, agribusiness, water and waste water management facilities. Mr. Mark Ciechanowicz, Industrial Sector and Product Manager at Schaeffler Australia Pty Ltd, explained that SmartCheck is useful on assemblies in various industries, where performing such monitoring was previously an expensive option. Potential machine damage can be detected reliably at an early stage using this unique measuring system. As a result expensive consequential damage and unplanned downtimes can be avoided. FAG SmartCheck not only optimizes processes, it also decreases life cycle costs (LCC) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), thanks to the full machine operation, lubrication, diagnosis and service of the Schaeffler Group.

Features

Some of the FAG SmartCheck’s features include:

  • Providing comprehensive information on machine condition, based on process parameters including pressure, load, and flow rate
  • Quickly showing machinery condition in FAG SmartWeb
  • Making available machine condition information by utilizing integrated data memory
  • Allowing a connection to the control room or a controller through interfaces
  • Having a reliable alarm system and alarm threshold adjustment
  • Allowing direct system access through Web interface and Ethernet
  • Ensuring data protection through multistage access concept
  • Downloadable free-of-charge app for smartphones
  • A comprehensive service for rolling bearings, and for machinery diagnostics

Ready to Use

The SmartCheck is compact, easy to use, and simple to fit. It is scalable on a modular basis, and allows retrofitting when requirements are changed.

It is delivered in a ready-to-use condition, and it is supplied with a set of key data to facilitate general machine monitoring. Additionally, predefined templates for monitoring bearings, pumps, and fans are available.

In addition to monitoring vibrations and temperature, the SmartCheck can record other parameters including; flow rate, pressure, and flow speed. All of the parameters can be linked to each other, to provide a comprehensive alarm configuration.

For precise and separate monitoring a component template, filled with component data and stored in the device, can be chosen for pumps or fans. SmartCheck has an integrated rolling bearing database, which contains data for INA and FAG standard bearings.

Three-Stage Monitoring

FAG SmartCheck provides three-stage monitoring. Monitoring individual machines on a decentralized basis is the first stage. Intelligent integration of the device into the machine controller takes place upon selection of the second stage. An external service provider provides the service from a single source during the third stage, which includes advice, remote access through an Internet connection, and other services (Figure 3).

Monitoring using FAG SmartCheck can be carried out in three stages.

Figure 3. Monitoring using FAG SmartCheck can be carried out in three stages.

Service, Training, and Remote Monitoring

Schaeffler offers comprehensive services for FAG SmartCheck, from strategy development to commissioning and remote monitoring. Employees are trained based on their requirements and prior knowledge, such as device operation and software usage. Schaeffler experts can provide assistance in the evaluation of measurement results. If the results show any damage, they can advise on further action.

Schaeffler Australia provide remote monitoring service to customer sites lacking trained employees. Regular reports on the condition of machines will be provided in order to take the necessary measures for better plant availability. If FAG SmartCheck senses incipient damage, then the customer is notified immediately. This allows time to plan for repair, and to source the replacement components, avoiding shutdown and lost production.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Schaeffler Australia Pty Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Schaeffler Australia Pty Ltd.

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