WHAT IF MA­CHIN­ERY COM­PO­NENTS WERE THE SEN­SORS?

BY: MAR KC I EC HA NOW IC Z, MAN­AGER-IN­DUS­TRIAL SER­VICES, SC HA E FF LE R AUS­TRALIA PT Y LTD. WHO IS RE­SPON­SI­BLE FOR IN­DUS­TRY 4.0 TECH­NOL­OGY AND SER­VICE CON­CEPTS AND IM­PLE­MEN­TA­TION WITHIN NEW ZEALAND AND AUS­TRALIA.

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FOOD & BEVERAGE -

IN ALL IN­DUS­TRIAL ma­chin­ery, com­po­nents add value to the sys­tem, and the life cy­cle of the sys­tem cre­ates an en­tire value.

Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies typ­i­cally play an im­por­tant role in analysing data from com­po­nents and send­ing this back to the cloud, to what we call a ‘ dig­i­tal twin’. This data can be used to op­ti­mise main­te­nance sched­ules or im­prove the per­for­mance of the sys­tem by chang­ing the way it is used.

Sen­sors are one of the main meth­ods of data col­lec­tion, and are com­monly placed on parts such as bear­ings, shafts, axles, bend­ing beams and other mov­ing parts. But they can’t al­ways mea­sure com­po­nent parts, be­cause of lim­ited space or a lack of avail­abil­ity.

To solve this ac­ces­si­bil­ity prob­lem, and rev­o­lu­tionise the way we think about sen­sors, world bear­ings and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy leader Scha­ef­fler has de­vel­oped new tech­nol­ogy that al­lows the in­dus­trial or au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent to be the sen­sor.

Scha­ef­fler’s Sen­so­tect coat­ing sys­tem is a di­rectly coated sen­sor layer that can sit over the top of com­po­nents such as bear­ings to mea­sure forces in pre­vi­ously un­avail­able places within ma­chin­ery, which can help achieve fuel and en­ergy sav­ings.

With the aid of mod­ern thin film tech­nol­ogy, the com­po­nent be­comes a sen­sor and the sen­sor be­comes a com­po­nent.

Sen­so­tect is a glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant tech­nol­ogy that has enor­mous po­ten­tial in Aus­trala­sia for use as in­tel­li­gent sen­sors, of­fer­ing data trans­mis­sion in real time. With Sen­so­tect, the forces and torques that act on a com­po­nent can also be rapidly recorded in places where ex­ist­ing sen­sors can­not be used.

Sen­so­tect is en­gi­neered to have a num­ber of ad­van­tages, in­clud­ing no ad­he­sives, a high strain sen­si­tiv­ity, no ag­ing drift and no tem­per­a­ture creep­ing.

The in­no­va­tive coat­ing sys­tem opens up strain and force mea­sure­ment pos­si­bil­i­ties that have al­ways been im­pos­si­ble with ad­he­sive strain gauges, due to their lim­ited op­er­at­ing life.

This in­no­va­tive mea­sur­ing tech­nol­ogy means that it is also pos­si­ble to pre­cisely de­ter­mine the torque act­ing on drive shafts and ve­hi­cle trans­mis­sions, and to ad­just the en­gine’s out­put to ex­actly match the oc­cur­ring load. Sen­so­tect there­fore makes an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to achiev­ing en­ergy and fuel sav­ings, and helps to re­duce CO2 emis­sions as well.

COAT­ING PER­FORMS MEA­SUR­ING TASKS

With Sen­so­tect, the ac­tual mea­sur­ing func­tion is per­formed by a thin PVD (phys­i­cal vapour de­po­si­tion) coat­ing that is sen­si­tive to ex­pan­sion. Af­ter the com­po­nent has been coated, this layer is then cre­ated us­ing a mi­cro­ma­chin­ing process. The struc­tures that are thus cre­ated un­dergo the same de­gree of dis­tor­tion as the car­rier com­po­nent, which makes it pos­si­ble for the dis­tor­tion to be mea­sured. Scha­ef­fler has al­ready suc­cess­fully demon­strated the func­tion of this type of sen­sor sys­tem in its demon­stra­tion ve­hi­cles.

One of the great­est chal­lenges posed by this type of sen­sor coat­ing sys­tem is the man­u­fac­tur­ing process it­self. By us­ing very high-per­for­mance coat­ing sources and ad­her­ing to par­tic­u­larly high re­quire­ments with re­gard to clean­li­ness in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process, Scha­ef­fler can achieve a level of qual­ity pre­vi­ously only found on pla­nar sub­strates in semi­con­duc­tor tech­nol­ogy, even in com­po­nents with nar­row radii.

Sen­so­tect al­lows multi-func­tional sur­faces that are char­ac­terised in par­tic­u­lar by their sen­sor prop­er­ties to be cre­ated with­out af­fect­ing the de­sign en­ve­lope – in other words, com­po­nents that are coated with it be­come sen­sors in their own right.

De­vel­op­ment of the tech­nol­ogy for ap­pli­ca­tions in New Zealand and Aus­tralia is sup­ported by Scha­ef­fler’s lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­search fa­cil­i­ties, backed by the ex­ten­sive in­ter­na­tional re­search fa­cil­i­ties of the Scha­ef­fer Group, which em­ploys more than 90,000 peo­ple at 170 lo­ca­tions in over 50 coun­tries.

SEN­SO­TECT BEN­E­FITS

• Very pre­cise mea­sure­ment of force and torque on func­tional com­po­nents where the pos­si­bil­i­ties

as­so­ci­ated with con­ven­tional meth­ods are lim­ited.

• Sen­sor layer is de­posited di­rectly on the sub­strate sur­face.

• Mea­sure­ment pos­si­ble on 2D and 3D ge­ome­tries.

• Sen­sor tech­nol­ogy with neu­tral ef­fect on de­sign en­ve­lope.

• No use of ad­he­sives or trans­fer poly­mers.

• Con­tin­u­ous mea­sure­ment of force and torque dur­ing op­er­a­tion.

• High sen­si­tiv­ity with very lit­tle de­vi­a­tion in hys­tere­sis and lin­ear­ity.

• No tem­per­a­ture de­vi­a­tions.

• No age­ing ef­fects.

• Wire­less trans­fer of data and en­ergy (teleme­try).

SCHA­EF­FLER’S DIG­I­TAL­I­SA­TION OF­FEN­SIVE

Ad­van­tages such as Sen­so­tect are in­te­gral to Scha­ef­fler’s global ini­tia­tives at the fore­front of In­dus­try 4.0 au­to­ma­tion and data ex­change tech­nolo­gies.

Smart tech­nolo­gies highly rel­e­vant in New Zealand and Aus­tralia in­clude the lat­est evo­lu­tions of Scha­ef­fler’s SmartQB and SmartCheck con­di­tion mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems, along with a host of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and cloud- based tech­nolo­gies that har­ness the ad­van­tages of In­dus­try 4.0, such as Scha­ef­fler’s BEAR­INX soft­ware.

Scha­ef­fler’s lat­est pre­dic­tive main­te­nance so­lu­tions en­able ma­chin­ery op­er­a­tors to look ever more clearly into the fu­ture – they pro­vide ma­chine op­er­a­tors with vi­tal in­for­ma­tion about the fu­ture con­di­tion of their ma­chines.

Pre­dic­tive main­te­nance al­lows not only the ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion of fac­to­ries, mines, util­i­ties and pro­cess­ing plants to be op­ti­mised, but also makes it pos­si­ble to plan main­te­nance in­ter­vals at pre­cisely the right time for op­ti­mised ‘ To­tal Cost of Own­er­ship’ cal­cu­la­tions.

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, and steel mill rollers, for ex­am­ple.

Scha­ef­fler BEAR­INX soft­ware is one of the lead­ing pro­grams for per­form­ing rolling bear­ing cal­cu­la­tions. It en­ables rolling bear­ing sup­ports to be an­a­lysed in de­tail – from sin­gle bear­ings to com­plex gear sys­tems and lin­ear guide sys­tems. All cal­cu­la­tions are per­formed in a con­sis­tent cal­cu­la­tion model. Even for com­plex gears, the con­tact pres­sure on each rolling el­e­ment is con­sid­ered in the cal­cu­la­tion.

Be­cause ma­chine drives are op­er­ated vir­tu­ally with­out in­ter­rup­tion, they re­quire in­ten­sive main­te­nance in or­der 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 lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the FAG SmartCheck di­ag­nos­tic sys­tem now rep­re­sents a fur­ther step for­ward for Scha­ef­fler in these ar­eas. In ad­di­tion to iden­ti­fy­ing the threat of bear­ing da­m­age, wear, and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties such as im­bal­ance and mis­align­ments based on vi­bra­tion pat­tern changes, this sys­tem also fea­tures a cloud con­nec­tion. The sys­tem cre­ates an au­to­mated di­ag­no­sis in the cloud from the raw data sup­plied by the FAG SmartCheck and from ad­di­tional data, e.g. from the ma­chine con­trol sys­tem.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for which this tech­nol­ogy ap­plies in­clude bulk han­dling and con­veyor ap­pli­ca­tions, min­ing and en­ergy; build­ing, con­struc­tion and ac­cess equip­ment in­stal­la­tions, such as fork­lifts and lo­gis­tics; food and bev­er­age and agribusi­ness pro­cesses, in­clud­ing pa­per and pack­ag­ing; man­u­fac­tur­ing, me­tals and process en­gi­neer­ing, trans­port and in­dus­trial mo­tor and trans­mis­sion ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing pump­ing and HVAC in­stal­la­tions and util­i­ties in­clud­ing elec­tric­ity, wa­ter and waste wa­ter.

MARK CIECHANOWICZ

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