Smart Sensor Technology Tracks Motor Health 24/7, Stops Failure In Its Tracks

Smart Sensor Technology Tracks Motor Health 24/7, Stops Failure In Its Tracks

What’s all the buzz surrounding ABB’s Ability™ Smart Sensor for motors? It’s not just that this new tech needs no wiring, is easy to fit, can be configured in minutes and can fit in your pocket. No—People are talking about how tracking the health of your low voltage motors can save you thousands of dollars—and it’s as simple as opening a smartphone app.

Traditional monitoring of each motor in a plant can be a complex and costly challenge. However, through extracting useful condition data from motor installations and bringing all of a plant’s LV motors within the scope of predictive maintenance, the ABB Smart Sensor opens up new opportunities for machine builders and other businesses operating large production facilities.

Nope—There’s not a catch. Here’s how it works:

abb smart sensor

Measuring only 90 x 55 x 12 mm, the pocket-sized device is attached directly to the motor frame and can be configured within minutes. Because it is self-powered and has built-in wireless capabilities, it doesn’t require any obtrusive hard wiring. 

Once the smart sensor installed, the motor’s nameplate details and bearing information are fed into the sensor and transmitted to a smartphone, tablet or PC. Throughout operation, the device will regularly track motor health data such as temperature, vibration and much more.

Secure, cloud-based analysis eliminates unforeseen failure

All of the data from the sensor is encrypted and securely transmitted to a cloud-based server. The entire cloud server implementation is compliant with ABB cybersecurity guidelines.

As the data is collected, sophisticated algorithms then analyze the motor data and convert it into useful actionable information that clearly indicates the motor’s health.

For example, the sensor analyzes time and frequency data and relates these to the bearing properties. This enables an accurate assessment of the condition of the bearings and can spot when they become defective.

The smart sensor can help plant engineers detect issues like bearing faults, air gap eccentricity, cooling problems and overloading. It can reveal issues that account for 70 percent of motor failures and, as a result, extend motor life by up to 30 percent.

User-friendly portal interface makes problem detection easy

A quick glance at the screen provides a first-level indication of the motor’s condition. Red means critical; the findings need to be verified immediately and corrective action taken. Yellow indicates the motor is fine for the moment, but will need maintenance during the next scheduled downtime. Green indicates all is well, no action required. The smart sensor can even send alerts to smartphones if problems are detected.

Maintenance engineers can use a desktop PC to quickly and easily access the motor’s trend data held on a secure ABB portal for further insight into the motor’s health and operational profile.

Analyzing energy consumption patterns = Increased efficiency

Besides monitoring a motor’s health, the ABB smart sensor also measures energy consumption patterns. This helps identify incorrectly sized motors so that plant engineers can select the correct motor for the actual load. The analysis also helps users optimize processes to reduce energy use.

The smart sensor provides condition and performance information that can be analyzed to increase energy efficiency by around 10 percent, significantly reducing costs and increasing productivity.

With proactive maintenance, the Smart Sensor pays for itself

With the sensors in place, a plant engineer no longer needs to walk the plant, gathering motor data with portable instruments and then interpreting the measurements to decide if maintenance is needed. Instead, and without additional effort, maintenance schedules can be accurately planned, removing nasty breakdown surprises and reducing downtime by as much as 70 percent.

Motors can be serviced before they fail, avoiding unexpected downtime and possibly more serious secondary damage to other equipment. Service providers can analyze the information and calculate potential energy savings, optimize maintenance schedules and propose actions to improve plant performance and reduce costs.

With all these benefits, the smart sensor achieves payback in a very short time.


Want To Learn More About The ABB Smart Sensor?

For the first time in the electric motor’s history, users can now cost-effectively and conveniently monitor their LV motors. If you’re looking for a new peace of mind, knowing that your motors are being watched day and night, contact us today or give us a call at 913-677-3151 to learn more.



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