One of our goals is to share the latest tips on maintenance and reliability for all of the equipment in the pumping system. Most informed sources agree, an unplanned shutdown can cost millions in lost production, repair costs, etc. With some systems and plants containing hundreds or even thousands of pieces of equipment, the task of monitoring can be enormous. We have seen a marked increase in this rush for technology to catch up to industry demands. One of the most prevalent examples is the development of autonomous monitoring machines whose sole function is to keep track of some or even all the motors and equipment in a plant.
What is Machine Health Monitoring?
In short, machine health monitoring is a process in which the performance of machines is digitally looked after 24/7 through the use of sensors or similar devices. The devices constantly monitor the functions of a machine in many capacities including but not limited to:
- Run time
- Power usage
Benefits of Machine Health Monitoring
Before this technology became available, maintenance personnel had to collect the data by hand and create a report. This report then joined others in a centralized location for review by supervisors. A decision on what action to take should the machine need service is made, parts are ordered (if necessary), and the machine was then adjusted or repaired.
This is why more and more plants are recognizing the value in autonomous monitoring capabilities. The technology enables them to identify and solve problems instantly – and with minimal human intervention. In many cases, issues can be caught before any real damage is done. Machine health monitoring also allows for the development and implementation of solutions to repair machines faster and reduce or eliminate unexpected downtime.
Another benefit to machine health monitoring is the ability to generate detailed reports on monitored equipment. This is incredibly useful in certain initiatives, such as attempts to reduce power usage. Possibly the greatest benefit of these reports is to get a baseline of normal vibration in equipment. Given that even a slight increase in vibration can signal a serious issue, a machine health monitoring system can pay for itself if it identifies just one costly issue before the equipment shuts down.
Examples of Machine Health Monitoring
According to Transparency Marketing Research, the machine health monitoring industry is expected to undergo significant growth in the next 10 years. Even John Deere has recently opened their very own machine health monitoring center. Perhaps closer to home for most of our readers, are a couple of the newest advancements in this technology:
1) the i-Alert made by ITT. It uses an easy to install sensor that can quickly scan multiple machines at once. A Bluetooth connection sends reports and alerts to its Ai PLATFORM or smart phone app depending on user settings. The cost to use their tech is also much lower than older forms of monitoring such as wired, wireless, and portable data collectors. The i-Alert can generate many reports including machine notes, trends and technical data, and vibration spectrum.
2) the Forecyte by Nidec Motor Corporation. It is a stand-alone remote monitoring platform that uses battery powered wireless sensors to collect continuous, real-time data, and visualizes deteriorating equipment health. The data is sent wirelessly from the sensor to a gateway and from there through either Ethernet, Wi-Fi or cellular to a “cloud” portal where it is aggregated, stored, analyzed and visualized using a web interface.
Machine Health Monitoring Becoming a Bigger Priority
Plants across the globe are more focused than ever on the performance of their equipment. An important aspect to keeping a plant running at optimal levels includes constant monitoring. Given the cost and errors technicians can make, an autonomous machine health monitoring system is expected to be an essential component, going forward. Given that just one hour of downtime on a critical machine can cost thousands, intelligent monitoring can be well worth the cost.