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On-line monitor keeps an eye on 32 motors
Published:  18 May, 2010

The US-based, SKF-owned motor management specialist Baker Instrument has developed an online monitoring system that can collect data from 32 motors, track more than 140 parameters, and produce results that can be accessed remotely via the Internet. The networked system, called NetEP, avoids the need for route-based monitoring using portable instruments.

Baker predicts that the online system will change the rules of machine maintenance. Typically, it says, maintenance personnel wait for equipment to break down, or shut it down periodically for testing. The online system offers a third option – monitoring rotating machinery continuously from anywhere with an Internet connection. It can identify faulty or weakening rotating equipment before it fails, avoiding potentially costly and unexpected downtime and production losses.

The system is designed to provide automated evaluation of critical motors in industries such as utilities, where motors operate for long or continuous periods, and are shut down only for planned outages.

“By increasing the frequency of monitoring, we improve our knowledge of the motors health, allowing us to identify early signs of concern and to spot any deterioration patterns through trending data,” explains Baker’s president, Curtis Lanham. “As a result, we can help our customers achieve significant maintenance and operational-related cost savings. In addition, the system can aid in cost and energy savings through better understanding of a motor’s efficiency and performance, helping to achieve better energy efficiencies.”

The system acquires power quality data every ten seconds, and time waveforms once an hour. It can monitor up to seven different voltage busses, and many systems can be connected to one server to monitor thousands of motors anywhere in the world. Software (above) is used to identify any potential problems and to display colour-coded alarms for each motor.

According to Lanham, the system will typically cost less than $1,000 for each motor being monitored. It works with AC, synchronous and wound-rotor motors, and there are plans to extend the system to monitor DC motors and generators. At present, the system checks each motor sequentially, but it will be enhanced to offer continuous monitoring of each motor, probably before the end of 2010.

Baker Instrument was acquired by SKF in 2007.

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