Bearings, which have long been considered the heart of rotating machinery, are now the brain as well thanks to SKF Insight, a smart technology developed for machine condition monitoring.
SKF’s development in various smart wireless technologies that are integrated into SKF bearings, enable the units to communicate their operating conditions continuously through internally powered sensors and data acquisition electronics.
SKF Insight is ideal for condition monitoring of critical machinery and technically challenging applications. The technology makes condition monitoring more widely available, especially in applications where it was previously impossible or impractical. With SKF’s integrated diagnostic technology, customers can get even better control over the life cycle of their machinery, leading to lower total costs with higher reliability and machinery uptime. The technology realises the company’s vision of an integrated, self-powered sensor package that wirelessly communicates the condition of a bearing by sending a message when something happens to it.
Following extensive R&D work, including miniaturisation, solving power generation challenges and developing unique packaging of sensors and electronics, SKF was the pioneer. Prior to SKF Insight, condition monitoring techniques could only monitor damage after it has occurred. Now, by sensing directly on the bearing, SKF is able to monitor the damage from the first microscopic effect as it is happening, and with this information, customers can take remedial action to reduce the reason for damage in the bearing – adding lubricant, mitigating transient overloads, etc.
In addition, by monitoring the load directly on the bearing, it is possible to measure the load the bearing actually experiences rather than what is was designed for. This valuable information can be routed back into the design phase to improve both the system and bearing design. Other features include:
• Miniaturisation – packaging of sensor technologies enables measurement of critical parameters such as RPM, temperature, velocity, vibration, load and other features.
• Self-powered – using the application environment itself, smart bearings can generate their own power needed to operate.
• Simplicity – intelligent wireless communication technology packaged inside the bearing enables it to communicate within environments where traditional Wi-Fi cannot operate.
• Smart networks – communicating through each other and via a wireless gateway, bearings with SKF Insight form a mesh network and can send information relevant to their condition for analysis.
SKF Insight is designed to ensure better operational knowledge, better maintenance planning, optimised manpower and spare part management, which lead to lower cost of operations.
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