Drives and Controls Magazine
Module analyses machine vibrations to cut maintenance costs
Published:  13 November, 2012

B&R Automation has developed a condition monitoring module that analyses machine vibration patterns to identify parts of the machine that need maintenance. It says that the X20CM4810 module – part of its X20 automation system – will minimise the time and money spent on maintenance, cutting the cost of running machines.

Until now, says the company, preventive maintenance based on permanent condition monitoring has been rare because of the high costs involved. The new module, it argues, will make constant monitoring more affordable, allowing preventive maintenance based on the condition of the machinery to be planned more efficiently and performed during breaks in production.

“This innovative module allows operators to continuously monitor the status of an entire system,” explains B&R technical manager, Andreas Waldl. “The results can then be used to determine exactly which parts of the machinery, if any, require maintenance.”

When developing the module, B&R focused on making it easy to use without needing any expertise in vibration mechanics.

The module has four input channels with piezoelectric interfaces for querying acceleration sensors. The interfaces supply the sensors with power, sample their signals and process the data to generate more than 70 condition parameters which are transferred to the CPU via Powerlink or another field bus system.

The built-in vibration pattern evaluation eliminates the need to forward the raw data to an external CPU for analysis. This reduces the load on the field bus and system CPU, as well eliminating unnecessary interfaces.

The condition parameters generated by the module not only provide operators with information to optimise maintenance intervals, but can also be used as an input to B&R’s Automation Studio software, which is used to configure the X20CM4810 and to program how a machine responds to changes in status.