Couplings

Precise data from the driveline for predictive maintenance

Precise data from the driveline for predictive maintenance

How can condition monitoring be integrated for predictive maintenance and how can machine failures and downtimes be avoided?! There are simple solutions that are also suitable for retrofitting.

Everyday production has changed in recent years and the Smart Factory is making its way into various production areas. Nevertheless, many companies shy away from the costs and effort involved in recording and evaluating their machine data. However, there are also pragmatic solutions for existing plants that can be easily retrofitted and provide precise measurement data in real time. Smart sensor technology in couplings can be used to record measurement data such as torque and speed.

Creating a data basis

The basis for a predictive maintenance strategy is a comprehensive data foundation. Considerable progress has been made in the collection of data in recent years. Smaller, more powerful and easier-to-integrate sensors are being used, which have significantly improved machine data collection.

Gathering measurement data directly from the drive train

Particularly in the area of measurement data acquisition in rotating systems, progress has been made in recent years. The sensor technology integrated in the intelligent couplings from R+W sets new standards. Various data such as torque, speed, axial forces, accelerations and temperature are recorded. By analysing this data, conclusions can be drawn about the condition of the system.

How does it work?

The measuring electronics are integrated into the coupling without external wiring. Therefore, no auxiliary constructions are needed and the installation space remains the same. Computing operations and evaluations are already carried out on the integrated measuring electronics. The data is then transmitted via Bluetooth low energy. Depending on the design, latency times of 1 to 100 ms are achieved. The data can be transferred either to a mobile device or to a gateway. This gateway can then transfer the data to a PC or a programmable logic controller (PLC) for further processing. The power supply for the measuring electronics is either provided by a battery with running times that depend on the number of sensors and sampling rates, or by an induction solution for continuous operation.

Example: Acquisition of torque

The torque is determined with the help of strain gauges. The change in resistance that occurs due to deformation under torsion is then translated into torque. The relative measurement uncertainty of torque measurement is less than 1%.

Using measurement data for predictive maintenance

The availability of condition data can replace reactive maintenance after the failure of a component and also preventive maintenance at fixed intervals. The data recorded by the integrated sensors allows conclusions to be drawn about the wear and service life of components that are typically subject to wear.

Using measurement data to optimise the operation of plant and machinery

The starting point is first to determine normal operation. With the help of the continuously measured values of torque, speed and, if necessary, vibrations, the basic values can be defined as "normal operation". Once normal operation has been defined, the measurement data will show any deviations from these basic values in the future. They help to adjust the drives to the load, to better dimension the components or to achieve more precise cycles and dosages - the operation is optimised.

Compared to normal operation, short-term and problematic overloads are also detected, e.g. when a drive starts up. In this way, a gradual start-up can protect the bearings and drive and increase the service life of the components, for example, to enable a longer warranty.

With the measurement data, important component properties can already be checked and adjusted during the testing of prototypes. For example, a wider range of load torques can be covered and more versatile components can be developed.

These are just three of several other advantages that contribute to plant and machine optimisation with the help of integrated sensor technology.

Retrofitting in the drive

The sensor technology can be retrofitted and is suitable for multi-plate clutches, cardan shafts and safety clutches or as a simple rigid flange. In addition, the sensor technology can be used in principle in all drive components and in every application.

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