Drives and Controls Magazine
Real-time technology predicts when cylinders will fail
Published:  02 October, 2014

The US actuator and motion control manufacturer Bimba Manufacturing, has announced a “breakthrough” technology that delivers real-time performance data on pneumatic cylinders, and can predict when a cylinder will fail. Bimba says that it will allow users to users to be proactive about maintaining and optimising their pneumatic systems.

The “one-of-a-kind” IntelliSense technology combines sensors, cylinders, and software to deliver the real-time data, enhancing productivity without affecting quality or efficiency.

“The pneumatic industry has never seen an innovation like this,” declares Bimba’s marketing director, Tom Wood. “IntelliSense is unique, not just in the way it works, but in how it will benefit industry from the c-suite to the factory floor.”

In today’s competitive global market, he points out, “machines running at maximum load are increasing wear on pneumatic components and are more likely to break down, compromising operational efficiency. Bimba created IntelliSense to deliver precise and accurate performance-related data with which users can make smarter decisions to ensure maximum uptime and component effectiveness.”

IntelliSense is embedded in a remote monitoring device called a sensor interface module, which is connected to sensors attached to Bimba’s pneumatic cylinders. It provides users with insights about the condition of the cylinder, cycle times, pressures (to one hundredth of a psi), and temperatures (down to a hundredth of a degree).

The technology delivers predictive intelligence in the form of up-to-date condition information that predicts when a cylinder will fail.

Bimba's IntelliSense system adds predictive intelligence to pneumatics

It can also identify when a component is achieving its desired performance specification. For example, it will alert the user if a cylinder that should be actuating in 1 second is taking 1.5s. This is important in sequencing applications that depend on precise stroke rates.

IntelliSense currently works with Bimba’s pneumatic cylinders, but the company plans to extend its capabilities to other products. It says that, ultimately, the technology will enable users from a wide range of industries to move from emergency repair to proactive maintenance, thus optimising production as a whole.

“IntelliSense is more than just a technology platform,” says Wood. “It is the solution to one of the most pressing concerns of manufacturers today – the need for maximum uptime. It is the advance that will propel pneumatics into the future. Welcome to Pneumatics 2.0.”