Keep on rolling

Written by: Eureka! | Published:

The term ‘Smart Products’ has become part of everyday vocabulary as we acquire ever-increasing numbers of devices that communicate with each other and allow us to control them or access information we need at any time.

The industrial world is becoming increasingly interconnected through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enabling sensors, instruments and other intelligent devices used within a manufacturing environment to gather, exchange, evaluate and store data.This connectivity, and the data produced, can be used in a multitude of ways to improve productivity and process efficiency.

Swiss automation solutions company, Güdel has introduced Condition Monitoring package for its IIoT based products and tools, such as linear guideways, racks, pinions and drives right through to linear axes and gantry robots, enabling users to perform condition-based maintenance.

Güdel components and modules are used within industry segments where high levels of efficiency and productivity are essential. A key element in attaining these objectives is the ability to reduce downtime.

Although only a small part of the linear tracks, robots, gantry systems and linear axes manufactured by the company, rollers play a significant part in the operation and reliability of these systems. Understanding the condition of the rollers is important if ongoing and trouble-free operation is to be achieved, and Güdel’s Condition Monitoring package provides users with the data they need to predict potential component failure before it becomes a critical issue.

The technology is based upon the detection of vibration using accelerometers, a proven method to monitor the condition of ball bearings. The critical parts of a rolling bearing are those surfaces that run on each other. These are the rolling element surface, the running surface of the inner ring and the running surface of the outer ring.

Should the running surfaces be damaged locally, a shock pulse occurs when the damaged area rolls over. This characteristic can be picked up by an accelerometer and the greater the damage, the stronger the shock pulse. In addition, as the speed of the roller is known, it is possible to determine whether the inner ring, outer ring or rolling element is defective.

The data collected from the sensors is stored on a local condition-monitoring computer, supplied as part of the package. No network connection is required and Güdel’ Condition Manager software allows users to manage the system. Options are available if required, should users wish to connect the system to a local network or the wider web and enable e-mail alerts etc. if the system detects a significant change in the pulses being picked up by the sensors.

The functionality of the system includes e-mail alerts if threshold values are exceeded, visualisation of historical trend data from all the evaluation units, automatic storage of trend data in a local database, alarm history and documentation of maintenance work carried out. The system can also be expanded if required to meet future needs.

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