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Case Study: Monitran accelerometers protect snack food manufacturers from unexpected shutdowns

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article image A Monitran accelerometer

Monitran accelerometers are assisting one of the world’s leading snack food manufacturers in a condition monitoring application, helping to keep their plant and equipment fully functional for round-the-clock production.

Potato chip production involves the use of multiple machines with rotating and moving parts, plus flowing water, hot oils and pneumatics. Since production ran 24/7 at this manufacturer’s facility, all the plant and equipment were required to be maintained in a fully functional condition, ready to process several tonnes of potatoes per day.

Servicing and repair of equipment therefore, needed to be carefully scheduled. To prevent unexpected failures that cause costly downtimes, many snack food manufacturers employ condition-based predictive maintenance strategies that look for changes in vibration levels to detect component wear and developing faults in machinery.

This snack food producer awarded a contract to design and install a hardwired site-wide conditioning monitoring system to replace an existing wireless system that had served the manufacturer well enough over a number of years but did not protect all of the plant’s assets. The wireless system also caused interruptions in the communications, as the wireless signals could easily be absorbed by the plant and equipment.

The new system was designed to accommodate a total of 161 accelerometers including 136 Monitran MTN/2200 general purpose top-entry accelerometers with AC outputs. Sealed to IP67, these sensors have a frequency range of 0.8Hz to 12kHz, an operating temperature range of -55°C to +140°C, and internal electronics isolated to minimise noise and afford good bias voltage stability.

The remaining 25 sensors were Monitran MTN/1105 high temperature accelerometers, which can be mounted on surfaces at up to 250°C, and were mounted on a number of hot oil pumps in this particular application.

The outputs from the accelerometers are hardwired to one of five standalone condition monitoring systems, which connect via Ethernet to two PCs running a simple but effective software program developed by Monitran, which uses a traffic light colouring system to reflect each asset’s condition as ‘Healthy’, ‘Warning’ or ‘Alarm’. Engineers can also view historical data using the software, enabling them to make an informed decision on what actions should be taken, and how soon.

Historical data can also be viewed on the factory floor with authorised maintenance engineers opening the CM units and accessing data via a touch-screen display. A handheld spectrum analyser can also be connected to the signal conditioning unit corresponding to the channel of interest to view the raw vibration signature.

Monitran accelerometers are available in Australia from ADM Instrument Engineering .

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