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Collab combines vibration analysis and torque monitoring

10 May, 2019

Schaeffler and Bonfiglioli are collaborating on a technology that combines vibration analysis and torque monitoring. At the recent Hannover Fair, they demonstrated the TorqueTracking technology being applied to geared motors used as yaw drives for wind turbines. They are developing a pilot project that will use the combined technology to monitor overloading of these yaw drives, thus increasing maintenance intervals and allowing a change from fixed-interval to load-based maintenance.

The TorqueTracking technology combines Schaeffler’s SmartCheck frequency-selective vibration diagnosis system with its non-contact TorqueSense torque-monitoring system. SmartCheck detects potential damage to bearings, gearboxes, motors, pumps and fans at an early stage and can assess peak loads and their frequencies. It also monitors temperatures.

TorqueSense combines a magnetically conditioned sector of a shaft (up to 100mm in diameter) with a non-contact sensor that allows torques levels from 100Nm–20kNm to be measured externally.

Using algorithms based on its real-world experience, Bonfiglioli is converting the data from the sensing systems to produce performance indicators for geared motors used in wind turbines. These indicators could reveal the general health of the motors, as well as detecting possible critical conditions and abnormal behaviour. Users should benefit from reduced downtime resulting from overloads or other unexpected operating conditions, as well as extended maintenance intervals.

In the pilot project, load data from the SmartCheck system will be compared with predefined limit values and the results transmitted wirelessly to Bonfiglioli engineers via a gateway. The monitoring system for the geared motors will operate independently from the wind turbine’s control system, making it easy to retrofit when replacing the geared motors.

The TorqueTracking system offers automated, frequency-selective vibration analysis and monitoring of temperature, speed and torque values for condition monitoring.

The TorqueSense module will be located between the motor and gearbox and will be able to operate in lubricating oil. It will not affect the load-carrying capacity or torsional rigidity of the machinery, and will deliver accuracies claimed to be within 1% of the measuring range, at an “attractive” price.

Schaeffler and Bonfiglioli say that the TorqueTracking technology could have applications in other areas such as cranes, construction and mining machinery, and winches, where the torque signal could be used both for monitoring and for smooth, precise torque control of pull cables.

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