Contrinex’s Smart Sensors keep shafts turning with low-cost bearing condition monitoring

Contrinex Smart Sensors, available from PLUS Automation, offer a low-cost single sensor solution for condition-based monitoring of critical rotating machinery. They are able to monitor multiple parameters in real-time, including unexpected levels of vibration, increased bearing temperature or irregular radial deflections of a shaft. These highly versatile sensors provide a flexible, cost-effective solution that maximises data availability without adding complexity to the system.

Customer application

Engineers constantly seek solutions to minimise machine downtime without risking costly or perhaps dangerous breakdowns. It is a dilemma faced by engineers and designers worldwide, especially in sectors like heavy industry, mining, marine engineering, oil and gas, green energy and rail operations where rotating machinery is common-place and the machinery is often remotely located or inaccessible.

Bearing failure is a significant risk in equipment with rotating elements and it is generally sign-posted in its early stages by increased levels of vibration and a rise in bearing temperature.

Typically, this risk is managed by frequent inspection and maintenance of bearings, but condition-based monitoring (CBM) has become the preferred approach for cost-effective maintenance operations. CBM uses sensor technology to extract real-time data from machinery, developing a performance profile that identifies potential failures before they bring operations to a ‘grinding halt’.

Designers have to balance the desire to collect as much data as possible, on vibration, deflection, temperature and operating hours, which might all help predict an imminent breakdown, while keeping cost and complexity to a minimum.

Specifying multiple sensors meets the data-collection needs, but is a costly approach, often requiring significant compromise in mechanical design.

Customer solution

Contrinex Multi-Mode Smart Sensors fulfil the application’s requirements without compromise, using their multi-function technology. A single Smart Sensor can monitor multiple parameters including deflection, vibration, temperature, linear position, angular displacement and cycle count. Each of these measurements may be reported as process data or event data, while cumulative operating parameters are recorded in the sensor’s on-board storage.

The user-defined operating modes enable a single sensor to provide a range of functions. On the rotating machinery, it is mounted in either a bearing housing or adjacent to a shaft, to monitor for unexpected levels of vibration, increased bearing temperature or irregular radial deflections of the shaft. The sensor’s IO-Link functionality provides plug-and-play replacement of damaged sensors, without any loss of functionality and without any need for configuration.

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Dual-channel operation is another valuable feature of the Smart Sensor range. Should a critical event occur, the sensor delivers a high-speed notification directly to the control system, bypassing the IO-Link communications channel and initiating a shut-down sequence immediately. This avoids further, costly damage and minimizes subsequent process downtime.

Smart Sensors are exceptionally reliable, making them ideal for installation in remote locations where day-to-day access can be impossible. In wind turbines, rail cars, drag-lines, marine powerplants, paper mills, drilling platforms, construction equipment, heavy-duty pumps and a host of similar installations, these highly versatile sensors tick all the boxes.

Contrinex inductive Smart Sensors are designed with the needs of OEMs and System Integrators in mind to provide an unobtrusive fit-and-forget solution. For flexible, cost-effective CBM solutions that maximize data availability without adding complexity, Contrinex Multi-Mode Smart Sensors deliver complete peace of mind

The sensor’s high corrosion resistance has contributed to excellent reliability providing the customer with a cost-effective solution for a simple, fit-and-forget system.

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