Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

Smart sensing reduces motor downtime

September 2019 Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

Until now, the monitoring and preventive maintenance of low-voltage motors has been time-consuming and expensive. New technology from ABB transforms simple motors into intelligent machines that warn when they need servicing. Smart sensors attached directly to the motor supply information regarding operating and condition parameters via wireless transmission.

The innovative sensor technology offers plant operators not only huge potential savings on maintenance and repair, but will henceforth also make it easy to utilise the Internet of Things, Services and People (IoTSP) for millions of motors. The IoTSP is ABB’s concept for enabling its customers to take advantage of the opportunities of digitalisation. With the new solution, small and mid-sized companies can also benefit from the advantages offered by the IoTSP.

The smart sensor provides information on operating and condition parameters such as vibration, temperature or overload, and calculates power consumption. The data are analysed by a specially developed software program and provided to the plant operator in the form of graphics for maintenance planning, thereby enabling downtime reductions of up to 70 percent. At the same time, the lifetime of the motors can be extended by up to 30 percent and energy consumption reduced by as much as 10 percent, so that the investment in this innovative form of condition monitoring pays for itself in less than a year.

“This solution makes condition monitoring the new standard for low-voltage motors,” says Pekka Tiitinen, president of the ABB’s discrete automation and motion division. “Optimised maintenance schedules help reduce maintenance costs greatly, while unscheduled outages are reduced considerably, or eliminated completely. Increased availability significantly boosts our customers’ productivity.”

Easy deployment

Applications are not restricted to new motors made by ABB. The sensors can be installed at the factory or retrofitted on already operating low-voltage motors within minutes. “The sensors will also be available in the Middle East and can be used on any low-voltage motor, in any industry, from food and beverage businesses to steel and chemical plants,” adds Gus Abboud, lead division manager, discrete automation and motion, Middle East and Africa.

Cybersecurity is guaranteed at all times with the new sensor technology from ABB. The sensor is not electrically connected to the motor, so unauthorised parties cannot access the motor via this route. The smart sensors wirelessly transmit the data via encryption protocols to a secure server where they are analysed using special algorithms. The cloud-based server implementation fulfils all of ABB’s strict specifications for cybersecurity and the data are stored in the cloud in encrypted form. The Internet-based customer portal also uses a role-based access protocol to make the data securely accessible.

For more information contact Thinus Jacobs, ABB South Africa, +27 10 202 6995,,


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