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Schaeffler’s predictive maintenance systems arrive in time for machinery service season

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article image FAG SmartCheck from Schaeffler

New predictive maintenance systems have been introduced by Schaeffler just in time for the upcoming machinery service season in Australia. Schaeffler presented their new predictive maintenance solutions at this year’s Hannover Messe 2016 where plant maintenance and operational staff were given an insight to the future. These solutions provide machine operators with information about the future condition of their machines.

Mr Mark Ciechanowicz, Industrial Services Manager, Schaeffler Australia explains that all machinery including motors, drives, shafts, conveyors and wheels depend critically on bearings, regardless of the environment or application.

Schaeffler technologies introduced to Australia in time for the Christmas-New Year maintenance season include the FAG SmartCheck diagnostic system, which transfers data to the cloud. According to Mr Ciechanowicz, this type of predictive maintenance not only allows the capacity utilisation of factories, processing plants and utilities to be optimised, but also makes it possible to plan maintenance intervals.

The FAG SmartQB is an early warning system specially developed for detecting irregularities in electric motors, pumps, fans, and their rolling bearings, and is supplied with a ready-to-use configuration suitable for Australasian conditions.

Mr Ciechanowicz says that an important prerequisite for predictive maintenance is automated rolling bearing diagnostics, a function that is used in motor gearbox units, for example. These units are used not only in machine tools, but also in belt conveyors, presses, water and energy infrastructure, paper and cement plants and resources, processing and manufacturing and bulk handling processes, as well as steel mill rollers.

Since these machine drives may be operated without interruption, they require intensive maintenance to prevent production downtimes. This is why it is so important for operators to know the condition of the drive components at all times, and why the bearings are becoming particularly important as a central machine element.

The new FAG SmartCheck diagnostic system by Schaeffler not only identifies the threat of bearing damage, wear, and irregularities such as imbalance and misalignments based on vibration pattern changes, but also creates an automated diagnosis in the cloud.

From condition monitoring to predictive maintenance

Data stored in the cloud from condition monitoring systems such as FAG SmartCheck also allows the information to be used for other calculations, such as drive train and rolling bearing simulations relating to their static and dynamic strength. Mr Ciechanowicz says Schaeffler can continuously calculate the bearings’ remaining useful life for the customer at freely definable time intervals using the real load spectra gathered during operation. Schaeffler’s BEARINX calculation tool retrieves the data from the cloud and the customer can view the remaining useful life of every bearing in the machine using an internet-capable end device.

Schaeffler’s solution is based on three central elements: A suitable system of sensors gathering reliable load data for the machine and its bearings, with simulation models calculating the remaining useful life based on the dimensions of the machine and the actual loads; a software platform through which the customer can access the calculations and retrieve information about their machine individually; and Schaeffler’s BEARINX calculation tool, which retrieves the data from the cloud and calculates the nominal rating life of the individual bearings based on loads such as speeds, torques, temperatures, and vibrations.

The system is backed by a full range of maintenance tools and condition monitoring equipment including handheld data collectors for patrol monitoring, modular online fixed vibration monitoring systems and easy-to-use acoustic emission monitoring devices as well as services such as vibration analysis, thermographic imaging, oil analysis and complete after-sales support by fully qualified engineers.

While condition monitoring provides information about a machine’s current condition, predictive maintenance also looks into the future and allows the optimum time for maintenance to be predicted.

Dr Hans-Willi Keßler, Vice President of Service Products at Schaeffler, says this allows factories to optimise production planning – production can be increased to meet increased order or reduced when there are fewer orders pending to match a specific maintenance interval. This allows production machine maintenance to be carried out based on the load conditions and according to requirements instead of specific time intervals and acute malfunctions.

Companies can therefore benefit from: increased productivity through correlation between the level of capacity utilisation in production and the condition of the machine elements; ordering replacement parts on a just-in-time basis, which reduces warehousing costs; and lowering overall operating costs through optimum utilisation of maintenance intervals.

Please visit the Schaeffler Australia website at www.schaeffler.com.au or call 61 2 8977 1000.

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