Ultra compact sensor enables cost-effective online monitoring

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Ultra compact sensor enables cost-effective online monitoringSchaeffler is launching FAG SmartCheck, a new ultra compact, online condition monitoring device for industrial plant and machinery. This system not only monitors vibration and temperature, but also a range of other machine and process-specific parameters such as pressure and flow rate. The device can also be used as a machine condition guard with safety switch-off.

Due to an attractive price/performance ratio, the new FAG SmartCheck is suitable for the online monitoring of small, process critical and non-process critical plant and machinery, including machine tools, spindles, motors, drives, pumps, compressors, HVAC systems and gearboxes.

By using novel features and new, patented diagnosis technology, FAG SmartCheck can help companies to optimise their manufacturing processes, whilst maximising plant availability and therefore reducing the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of plant and machinery.

Despite its wide range of features and functions, FAG SmartCheck is easy to operate and requires no special programming skills or knowledge. The scope of delivery includes a number of machine and process-specific parameter templates, which enable the system to be operational within minutes. Basic operating functions can be carried out via integrated push buttons, and visual alarms are indicated via LEDs located on the front of the device housing.

Although at first glance FAG SmartCheck may resemble a typical vibration sensor, the system offers more than conventional measuring devices. In spite of its compact design (44mm × 58mm × 45mm), the intelligent system records not only standard parameters such as vibration and temperature, but also other operating parameters such as pressure and flow rate. By monitoring this type of data, users are provided with a broad basis of information in real time, which enables the accurate assessment of machine condition. By correlating process parameters with vibration data, users can optimise their processes and therefore reduce LCC. Aside from acquisition costs, LCC includes operating and maintenance costs throughout a machine’s entire service life.

Customers are increasingly asking machine manufacturers to guarantee LCC. This is only possible if manufacturers know the LCC or can assess these as accurately as possible. This is now feasible using FAG SmartCheck.

Applications and commissioning

Typical fields of application for FAG SmartCheck include electric motors, vacuum pumps, hydraulic pumps, compressors, ventilators, fans, separators, gearboxes and variable speed drives. The compact system is easy to install and is typically mounted to the machine housing. The small, lightweight (210g) device requires less wiring, and can fit into areas on a machine where space is restricted.

The device is also supplied with a set of basic parameters that can be used to reliably monitor most general machinery and equipment. In addition, users can also choose from more than 20 pre-defined parameter templates for monitoring a range of other process and machine parameters such as imbalance, shaft alignment errors, rolling bearings, fans and gearings. Users who take advantage of these parameter templates are also given access to Schaeffler’s comprehensive, integrated bearing database.

With help from engineers at Schaeffler, these parameter templates can be adapted easily to specific monitoring tasks. At the customer’s request, Schaeffler can define additional user-specific parameter templates and make these available to the customer.

Due to its patented self-learning or ‘Teach-In’ mode, FAG SmartCheck’s alarm thresholds are adjusted automatically. After set-up and commissioning, the device operates autonomously. The relevant machine parameters are measured and saved continuously in the system. In this way, a substantial database of historical data is created over time.

Users can also access the FAG SmartCheck web server via a standard Internet browser in order to configure the system and visualise the latest data in real time. The recorded data can be retrieved directly and easily via FAG SmartCheck’s Ethernet interface and analysed using the analysis software supplied.

Flexible and expandable

FAG SmartCheck is a modular, scalable system that provides multiple expansion options. Both the number of sensors and the level of system integration can be adapted according to the customers’ specific requirements. If, for example, the user wishes to include additional parameters into an analysis, the recorded data, rather than being retrieved locally at the machine itself, can be transmitted to a control unit or control station via TCP/IP or via user-specific RS485 protocols. Moreover, users can retrieve and analyse data from other locations via remote links.

FAG SmartCheck is protected to IP67 and can operate in temperatures from -20 to +70degC. There are three reverse polarity protected M12 plug-in connectors for power supply/RS485, inputs/outputs and 100Mb/s Ethernet interface. Power supply is 11–36V DC or Power over Ethernet (PoE). Current consumption is also low – less than 200mA at 24V.

Schaeffler offers a range of services to support FAG SmartCheck users. These include training, commissioning, technical support and consultancy, remote monitoring services, rolling bearing systems, and tailored maintenance and service contracts.

For more information on Schaeffler’s FAG SmartCheck compact, online condition monitoring device, please call the Marketing Department on 0121 313 5870. Alternatively, email , or visit the website at

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