Smart condition monitoring helps users expect the unexpected


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Smart condition monitoring helps users expect the unexpected


Sudden machine and equipment failures can often be avoided if users have access to reliable predictive control monitoring systems. Clearly, planned maintenance has a role to play, but a smart condition monitoring (SCM) is one that identifies changes in the operating parameters before catastrophic failure occurs.


Increases in operating temperature, excessive current draw, changes in vibration characteristics and significant shifts in other operating parameters can all be indicative of impending problems in rotating machines. Once the domain of specialist vibration analysis equipment, SCM uses smart sensors to revolutionise condition monitoring.


The new stand-alone smart condition monitoring systems from Mitsubishi Electric build on the capabilities of add-on smart sensors by integrating them with an intelligent sensor controller for a more holistic approach to condition monitoring. The Smart Condition Monitoring (SCM) solution complements ‘traffic light’ alerts with detailed diagnostics, in-depth analysis and recommended actions to minimise unscheduled downtime and maximise asset availability.


The technology was developed to allow the sensors to monitor the full range of parameters, allowing this information to be interpreted to give an overview on the asset health of the plant as a whole. The stand-alone devices can be networked across an entire plant, an approach particularly relevant to large manufacturing businesses (where the cost of downtime can be highly significant) to schedule maintenance for key assets more effectively.


Offered as an SCM Kit, the solution from Mitsubishi uses the latest advanced FAG SmartCheck sensors for monitoring and feedback. The kit provides an integrated approach to monitoring the condition of individual assets, and enables a holistic approach to be taken to monitoring the asset health of the whole plant. Individual sensors retain the traffic light system for local warning indication at the machine, but at the same time information from multiple sensors is transferred over Ethernet to the intelligent sensor controller (this can be a Mitsubishi Electric PLC) for in-depth monitoring and more detailed analysis.


The SCM Kit provides a plug-and-play solution for machine condition monitoring. SmartCheck sensors can be added to machines as and where required, with a simple teach function allowing the sensor and controller to learn the normal operating state of the machine, generating a memory map of key parameters. Once set up, the SCM provides 24/7 monitoring of each asset, with functions including bearing defect detection, imbalance detection, misalignment detection, lack of lubricant, temperature measurement, cavitation detection, phase failure recognition and resonance frequency detection.


Linking multiple sensors into the control system enables the controller to analyse patterns of operation that are outside the norm, with a series of alarm conditions that can provide alerts that attention is needed. The SCM analysis provides detailed diagnostics, offers suggestions for where additional measurements should be taken, and provides maintenance staff with more precise error identification. It even provides recommendations as to what rectification actions should be taken, with clear text messages presented to personnel. This information can be networked to higher-level systems for trend analysis across all a production line or plant.


Thus the SCM offers comprehensive analysis on the health of individual machines as well as a complete overview on the health of the wider plant. The result is vastly improved predictive maintenance and optimised asset lifecycle management. With maintenance able to be planned in advance, there is far less unplanned downtime and significant reductions in short notice loss of service.


Learn more about the Smart Condition Monitoring solutions here


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