How to watch 24/7 over every motor in your plant – without breaking the bank

Measuring only 90 x 55 x 12 mm, the pocket-sized smart sensor is attached to the outside of a motor and configured within minutes

What’s about the size of a deck of playing cards, needs no wiring, is easy to fit, can be configured in minutes, and yet could save you thousands of dollars in lost production and some huge headaches?

Answer: the new ABB smart sensor for checking the health of low voltage (LV) motors.

Already winning positive feedback from customers across Europe and North America, the sensor is proving its value by being able to extract useful condition data from motor installations. The sensor brings all of a plant’s LV motors within the scope of predictive maintenance, without the high costs and complexities of traditional condition monitoring.

In many ways the smart sensor is the equivalent of a fitness band for low voltage motors.

How does it work?

Measuring only 90 x 55 x 12 mm, the pocket-sized device is attached to the outside of a motor and configured within minutes. No hard wiring is needed, leaving the motor and its application untouched. It’s also impossible for unauthorized parties to access the monitor to control the motor.

The device senses motor data at regular intervals. These include temperature, noise, vibration, and much more. Using clever algorithms, the data is analyzed and, based on ABB’s decades of motor technology know-how, interpreted to clearly indicate the motor’s health.

Secure, cloud-based analysis

The data is encrypted then transmitted to a secure, cloud-based server via a smartphone or gateway using the sensor’s built-in wireless interface. The entire cloud server implementation is compliant with ABB cyber security guidelines.

The data is analyzed on the server and can be accessed through an engineer’s smartphone, tablet or desktop PC. Information is displayed as a “traffic light” summary of the motor’s health: red for a critical issue that needs immediate action; yellow shows that there is an issue but maintenance can wait until the next scheduled stop; and green means all is well and the motor is running normally.

Downtime cut by 70 percent

Typical parameters are rotor health, skin temperature, air gap eccentricity, cooling condition, bearing condition and overall vibration. In fact, the smart sensor provides condition and performance information that can be analyzed to reduce downtime by as much as 70 percent, extend motor life by up to 30 percent, and increase energy efficiency by around 10 percent, significantly reducing costs and increasing productivity.

For example, the sensor analyzes time and frequency data and relates these to the bearing properties. This enables an accurate assessment of the condition of the bearings and spot when they become defective.

The battery-operated smart sensor uses Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth® Smart) communication to maximize battery life.

Short payback

With the sensors in place, a plant engineer no longer needs to walk the plant, gathering motor data with portable instruments and then interpreting the measurements to decide if maintenance is needed. Instead, and without additional effort, maintenance schedules can be accurately planned, removing nasty breakdown surprises.

Motors can be serviced before they go wrong, avoiding unexpected failure and possibly more serious secondary damage to other equipment. Service providers can analyze the information and calculate potential energy savings, optimize maintenance schedules and propose actions to improve plant performance and reduce costs.

With all these benefits, the smart sensor achieves payback in a very short time.

For the first time in the electric motor’s history, users can now cost-effectively and conveniently monitor their LV motors. And it will bring them a new peace of mind, knowing that their motors are being watched over day and night.


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About the author

Henrik Ryegard

Henrik started his career at ABB 21 years ago. For the past 18 months he has been responsible for marketing and product management within motors and generators service. Henrik is keen that ABB exploits its global reach and technical expertise as a motor supplier to harness the enormous growth potential that exists across the motors and generators service business.
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