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Condition monitoring service aims to prevent large motor failuress
Published:  24 February, 2011

ABB has launched a condition monitoring service for large induction motors, aimed at spotting potential motor failures long before they happen. The service, called MACHsense-P, can detect problems with bearings, rotor windings, balance, alignments and voltages.

"This service could extend the working life of thousands of motors, running in critical applications worldwide,” predicts Cajetan Pinto, ABB’s r&d manager for motor and generator servicing.

The service is based on an instrument (above) which monitors machine data including vibrations and electrical signals. These are analysed by software that generates reports that rate any defects by severity and recommend any repairs needed.

A technician can test up to six motors a day. The customer is given an immediate summary of the motor’s performance, rating it in four key areas: bearings, cage rotor, installation and power supply. Later, a more detailed report is produced focusing on motors highlighted as being of concern in the initial summary.
 
The system uses algorithms to pick out specific signals, explains Pinto. “If you’re concerned about bearings, our system can isolate the signals coming from the bearings itself,” he says, adding that more than 60% of failures in squirrel-cage motors occur in the bearings. “When bearings develop faults, they can lead to catastrophic failure.”

According to Pinto, older monitoring systems generated too many errors, mainly because motor noise could confuse the readings: “No one has looked at data the way we do,” he contends. “We recently filed three patents for our methodology.”

The MACHsense-P service will be available either as part of a regular maintenance plan, or as a one-off to troubleshoot a specific problem.
For details, contact abb.service@gb.abb.com

Next year, ABB plans to expand the service to include synchronous motors and wind generators.

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