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ADI buys motor-testing firm to boost condition-monitoring

31 October, 2019

Analog Devices (ADI), the global analogue technology company, is buying Test Motors, a Spanish company specialising in predictive maintenance technologies for electric motors and generators. The acquisition will expand ADI’s growing condition-based monitoring portfolio for identifying faults in equipment before downtime or catastrophic failures occur. The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Barcelona-based Test Motors offers products and services to detect faults in electric motors before they cause damage, and advises on how and when to repair them. Its technologies include low-cost, IoT-connected smart sensors which attach to low-voltage motors to monitor their behaviour. Test Motors will join ADI’s Automation and Energy Group.

The new deal builds on ADI’s 2018 acquisition of OtoSense, a start-up that has developed “sensing interpretation” software that learns and recognises sounds or vibrations and identifies potential problems in machinery or car engines before they become severe. OtoSense’s AI (artificial intelligence) platform can be used to monitor any asset, located anywhere.

Analog Devices plans to combine the OtoSense software with Test Motors’ monitoring capabilities to produce holistic snapshots of machine health and identify a wider range of potential faults. 

“Machine maintenance relies heavily on experienced technicians and engineers able to detect and diagnose issues that can lead to unplanned downtime,” explains Kevin Carlin, vice-president of ADIs’ automation and energy group. “There are not enough trained professionals, however, to keep up with the demand as the number of machines to maintain rapidly grows.

Test Motors' portfolio includes smart sensors that attach to low-voltage motors

“ADI’s condition-based monitoring applications – driven by the acquisitions of Test Motors and OtoSense – will tackle this expert resource challenge by providing customers with a system able to perform complete and early detection of anomalies to avoid unexpected and costly machine downtime.”

Emili Valero, Test Motors’ former CEO, says that combining the companies’ technologies and expertise “will enable us to develop the next generation of condition-based monitoring solutions designed to greatly extend manufacturing equipment life for electrical and non-electrical rotating machines and deliver significant cost savings that benefit both businesses and consumers.”

ADIs’ condition-based monitoring portfolio exploits breakthroughs in MEMS (micro electromechanical systems) sensors, flexible signal conditioning and data conversion technologies, and processing and communications systems, to deliver optimised wired and wireless condition-based monitoring. Combining these technologies to create deployable technologies requires asset and application insights, mechanical design and attachment expertise, and the ability to convert data into diagnostic algorithms.

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