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Tiny device makes online monitoring cost-effective
Published:  24 April, 2011

Schaeffler has developed a low-cost system for real-time monitoring of equipment such as motors, pumps, compressors, ventilators, fans and gearboxes. It claims that the FAG SmartCheck system makes online monitoring of some types of equipment cost-effective for the first time, and can help to reduce reducing lifecycle costs (LCCs) and total cost of ownership (TCO).

The system is said to be easy to use, needing no expert knowledge. Basic functions can be carried out by pressing onboard keys, and alarms visualised using built-in LEDs. The system comes with more than 20 parameter templates for immediate monitoring of, for example, bearings, fans and gears. The templates can be adapted easily to specific monitoring tasks with the help of software “assistants”. Schaeffler will also define additional user-specific parameter templates on request.

At first glance, the compact (44 x 58 x 45mm) SmartCheck (shown above) looks like a vibration sensor. But it can do much more than conventional measuring devices, recording not only vibration and temperature, but also other parameters such as pressure and flow rates. This information is used to make accurate assessments of a machine’s condition.

Alarm thresholds are adjusted automatically using a patented self-learning mode. After commissioning, the SmartCheck works autonomously, recording relevant machine parameters continuously. Over time, it builds up a substantial historical database. Users can access a built-in Web server to configure the system and visualise the data in real time. The data can be retrieved via a built-in Ethernet interface and analysed using software included with the package.

The number of sensors monitored and the level of system integration can be varied. If, for example, a user wants to analyse additional parameters, the recorded data can be transmitted to a controller via TCP/IP or RS-485.

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