New online condition monitoring system: FAG ProCheck

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New online condition monitoring system: FAG ProCheckFAG ProCheck is a new online monitoring system that will be launched at the Hanover Fair 2007. It detects plant or machinery faults early, thereby helping to prevent costly breakdowns, reduce production downtime and improve maintenance planning.

This new system has been developed to help companies monitor vibration levels on critical rotating plant or machinery, including electric motors, drives, bearing arrangements, gearboxes, pumps, generators, ventilators, fans and excavators. Almost any industry sector can benefit from it: steel and aluminium processing; paper mills; raw material excavation and mineral processing; mining and quarrying; food and beverage; oil and gas; and energy production (including wind, water and nuclear).

Ian Pledger, Field Service Engineer at FAG Industrial Services (FIS), the asset management and condition monitoring division of the Schaeffler Group, comments: "What really differentiates ProCheck from other products is its inherent flexibility due to its modular design. This means the system can be easily integrated into a customer's existing control and automation environment."

Intelligent, robust and reliable

FAG ProCheck is intelligent, easy to set up, robust and reliable. In addition, the system's modular construction means it can readily cater for various maintenance and condition monitoring strategies employed across different industry sectors. For example, the system is ATEX-certified and can therefore be used in hazardous or potentially explosive environments, and it has a range of communications interfaces so that it can be easily integrated with a company's existing plant management or production control and maintenance systems.

Once set up, the system can operate automatically without further intervention from the user, to measure, record, analyse and issue alerts on vibration data from rotating plant. By continuously monitoring a machine or piece of rotating equipment, FAG ProCheck can detect changes in behaviour early and alert maintenance personnel to a potential problem before it actually occurs. Maintenance teams can therefore improve their planning and scheduling and production downtime is significantly reduced.

The FAG ProCheck system can be expanded and customised through a new expansion slot system and digital filter algorithms. The unit is therefore easy to integrate into a company's existing production data management system, statistical process control (SPC) system or PLC network.

How it works

The data recorded by sensors on rotating plant is subjected to initial assessment by FAG ProCheck and if defined alarm limits are exceeded, alert warnings are automatically generated and sent to defined interfaces - where they undergo further assessment. The system can be configured and adapted either by the end user customer or by Schaeffler's maintenance and asset management service division, FAG Industrial Services (FIS).

The stored algorithms process the data to extract the necessary information on the condition of the machine. This initial check is independent of the connection to a server PC, which holds the configuration and analysis software. This means all FAG ProCheck systems in a network can operate independently and store data on a permanent memory medium (512MB Flash disk memory). Depending on the system configuration, the data can be held locally for up to several weeks.

The system can accommodate up to 16 sensor channels plus additional analogue and digital inputs and outputs, and so can be expanded from monitoring an individual machine, right up to monitoring complete production plant systems. Multiple FAG ProCheck units can be connected to a network and managed using the same database.

FAG ProCheck uses 'broadband parameter monitoring' to determine changes in the overall vibration behaviour of rotating plant at an early stage, in combination with 'selective frequency monitoring'. This detects changes in the behaviour of individual components and enables precise analysis of component damage.

Monitoring parameters include time and frequency domains, measuring velocity, acceleration and envelope signals, both broadband and frequency-selective.

As well as vibration, further parameters such as temperature, pressure, load, speed, torque, oil status and oil quality can be recorded and correlated with the vibration data.

Communication with higher level plant systems

For communication with higher level plant operating data systems, various inputs and outputs are available. Extra signals can be received via digital or analogue inputs and used for triggering or validation of messages. They can therefore be used as command variables for dependent signal analysis such as alarm threshold control. These signals can also be used to initiate time-controlled or event-controlled measurement tasks - for example, to control automatic data logging for specific applications. Communication with FAG ProCheck can be carried out via network (TCP/IP), serial or modem links.

Development with National Instruments

The FAG ProCheck hardware was developed in collaboration with National Instruments, a leading supplier of instrumentation and measurement software and hardware. Successful vibration monitoring of plant depends heavily on software. As well as software for configuration and presentation of data, FAG ProCheck also offers customers a range of analysis software tools, including Trend Analysis and FFT Analysis, which is used for the precise assessment of damaged components, such as gear teeth, inner rings and outer rings.

For improved presentation of data, Waterfall diagrams are available. 'Harmonic' and 'side band' detection is also available for easy identification of different types of damage.

Customers can receive help with installation and commissioning, systems maintenance, remote diagnosis, project planning, training and hotline technical support from FAG Industrial Services.

Follow the link for more information about the FAG ProCheck or condition monitoring services, or telephone the marketing department on +44 (0)121 351 3833.

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