In many areas of mechanical engineering energy chain systems are indispensable for energy and data supply to mobile consumers.
On construction cranes, transporting equipment in power stations and chemical plants – i.e. sensitive plants with long distances to travel – requirements concerning operational safety are particularly important since unscheduled downtimes can cause extremely high costs.
Igus has now presented a remote condition monitoring system for industrial energy chain equipment. The new diagnosis tool PPDS (push pull force detection system) monitors the shifting force of energy chains and helps to prevent damage to energy supply systems and breakdowns by means of preventive maintenance or remote corrective action.
Data on the push-pull force of an energy chain system are compared online every four seconds with a calculated target setting. Calculation of the target force depends, among other things, on the position of the moving end of the chain. In the event of malfunction, messages (an email which is generated automatically or as an SMS) can be sent immediately to any required location and then processed.
Data stored internally can be analysed retroactively for a three-month period (in the case of a main memory capacity of 128 mb).
The newly-developed condition monitoring system is already being used in several ports throughout the world. For example, it is currently in use in a large port in Asia, where twelve cranes are being monitored (four cranes each for travels of 300, 400 and 500 metres). All of the signals are processed within the system, a “stand-along” solution.
Recording data, calculating data and erroneous behaviour are automatically processed by the PPDS. Another large-scale unloading project for ships is also currently in operation on the North Sea coast. Here igus has integrated the diagnosis tool in the Siemens crane control system, so that signals received can also be processed there.
For around two years now, igus has also been testing its PPDS system on a crane simulation 120 metres long at its in-house test facilities. These tests subject energy supply systems (chains, cables and guide troughs) to driving speeds of up to 300 m/min. Others monitor behaviour in the event of power failure or sea damage.