Drives and Controls Magazine
Holistic approach delivers predictive maintenance
Published:  01 February, 2017

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Mitsubishi Electric demonstrated a condition-monitoring technology for rotating machines that combines and interprets data from smart sensors to provide an overview of the health of assets across an entire plant. The Smart Condition Monitoring (SCM) system integrates the smart sensors with an intelligent controller for a more "holistic" approach to condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.

The plug-and-play SCM kit is designed to be used with FAG’s SmartCheck sensors, which can be added to machines where needed. A simple teach function allows the sensors and controller to learn the normal operating state of the machine, generating a memory map of key parameters. Once set up, the system monitors each asset continuously, and can detect potential problems such as bearing defects, imbalances, misalignments, lack of lubricant, unusual temperatures, cavitation, phase failures and resonant frequencies.

The individual sensors offer a red/amber/green “traffic light” system for local warnings at each machine, but information from several sensors is also transferred via Ethernet to the intelligent controller (which can be a Mitsubishi PLC) for in-depth monitoring and more detailed analysis.

Linking several sensors to a controller allows it to spot and analyse unusual operating patterns. A series of alarms can warn when attention is needed. The SCM analysis provides detailed diagnostics, offers suggestions for additional measurements, and provides staff with more precise error identification. It can even recommend remedial measures and send them to personnel as text messages. The information can also be networked to higher-level systems for trend analyses.

Mitsubishi’s SCM system works with FAG’s SmartCheck sensors to offer a “holistic” approach to condition monitoring

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, says Mitsubishi, 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.