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Copier motors will signal before they fail
Published:  01 July, 2002

Copier motors will signal before they fail

The office machinery giant Xerox is planning to build a technology into its future copiers and other products that will monitor their motors and other electromechanical components for signs of imminent failure. The system will analyse analogue signals, such as noise and vibration, from these components, and will warn technicians automatically when parts are about to fail.

Xerox says that the system, called signature analysis (SA), will allow the technicians to replace the components before they fail, reducing downtime and cutting service costs because components will only be replaced when needed, rather than after printing a specified number of pages. The photograph shows Xerox`s Bob Siegel using SA to test a drive assembly from a multifunction document processor.

SA is well-established in heavy industry for maintaining equipment such as electric generators. The idea is that every electromechanical component produces a characteristic waveform and if this changes from its normal "healthy" appearance", it can indicate potential problems in the component.

In the mid 1990s, Xerox started using SA to check whether components salvaged from old machines could be re-used or should be scrapped. Now, the company wants to build SA technology as standard into products such as copiers and printers. It will combine the analogue signatures with digital data to determine when parts need to be replaced.

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