Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration


Remote monitoring of electric motors

November 2018 Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

Leveraging digital technology is said to be key to participating in the next wave of economic growth. At the very least, using it will allow mines, process plants and other industrial operations to reduce operating costs.

Fanie Steyn, manager rotating machines at Zest WEG Group, says one of the areas that stand to be most impacted is predictive maintenance: “This is where access to accurate data can be used to increase production efficiency and reduce downtime, and for the first time, industry will be able to do this remotely with electric motor installations.”

WEG Motor Scan is a new solution available from the Zest WEG Group that facilitates remote monitoring of electric motor installations. This innovative technology allows engineers and maintenance personnel to make informed decisions about the health of installed motors and react accordingly, depending on the data captured.

Steyn says that the solution uses Industry 4.0’s digital technology including the IIoT and big data analytics. The technology allows for the monitoring of running hours, measurement of vibration and surface temperature as well as providing data on speed and start/stop time. The load and efficiency will be included in the second phase. Data is extracted via Bluetooth using a smart device with the innovative app that is available on android and iOS phones and tablets. Users can also access the data on laptops and desktops via a dedicated web portal.

Powerful analytics for data processing

Powerful analytics help to process the data and predict pending failures or hidden problems based on frequency spectrum analysis. Warning levels are pre-set based on acceptable baselines of temperature/vibration and sophisticated software is able to plot performance curves with the captured data. The data is sent to the cloud for storage facilitating fast access and more accurate decision making.

“Using the WEG Motor Scan solution minimises the requirement to manually collect and monitor data, and it eliminates the guesswork from preventative maintenance routines,” explains Steyn. “This removes the inefficiency of reactive maintenance and assists in minimising motor failure.”

Solutions are currently available for frame sizes from 63 to 450, providing monitoring for motors ranging from 0,18 kW up to 1250 kW and can be fitted on newly manufactured motors, or retrofitted to existing installations. The sensor itself is battery powered and has an estimated life span of three years. It is designed to work in ambient temperatures ranging from -40 to 80°C, has a protection rating of IP66 and can operate in Zone 1 areas with a T4 temperature rating. Offering optimum flexibility, the sensor can be used on direct online starting as well as variable speed drive (VSD) applications.

“This is a major value add for our customers and will in reality set a new benchmark in predictive maintenance,” concludes Steyn.


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