Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

Reliability boost at Nelspruit biomass plant

April 2020 Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

As a global bearing and rotating technology specialist, SKF South Africa is committed to assisting companies to achieve their productivity goals whilst remaining environmentally friendly. The Multilog On-line System IMx-M was the perfect solution for condition monitoring at a biomass electricity plant in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

The plant produces electricity using the waste generated by the neighbouring paper plant, which is used to fire the boilers to generate steam to drive a turbine capable of generating 25 MW.

SKF received a proposal request for a condition monitoring system with 4-20 mA outputs and proposed the sophisticated IMx-8 condition monitoring device. Lourens Zeelie, online condition monitoring specialist at SKF South Africa, explains that this device however does not feature the requested 4-20 mA outputs: “So we revisited our extensive IMx product range and determined that the IMx-M protection system, which features 4-20 mA output capabilities would be the ideal fit for the biomass electricity plant.”

The Multilog On-line System IMx-M is a protection system designed to react to any deviations to protect the equipment it is monitoring. Utilised in conjunction with SKF’s @ptitude Observer software, the Multilog IMx-M offers a comprehensive system for machinery shutdown initiation, early fault detection and diagnosis on machines and bearings.

Lourens points out that of the two IMx-M condition monitoring and protection modules, supplied as a pair, the biomass plant project only requires condition monitoring. The protection module will therefore initially not be utilised, but SKF will work with the customer post commissioning to look into the possibilities of incorporating protection capabilities.

The IMx-M will be used in the biomass plant to monitor the general condition of the equipment, for example, machine balance and alignment, as well as detailed bearing condition. Additionally, the IMx-M system will provide automated advice for correcting existing or impending conditions that can affect machine reliability, availability, efficiency and performance. This proactive approach offers users adequate planning time to arrange the necessary maintenance equipment, parts and labour.

For more information contact Samantha Joubert, SKF South Africa, +27 11 821 3500,,


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