Schenck Process Condition Monitoring System maximizes vibrating machine uptime

Inspection and maintenance account for up to a third of the indirect costs in production plants. Condition monitoring systems enable companies to realign their maintenance strategies around fault detection and prevention and save money. CONiQ from Schenck Process offers distinct advantages as a CM system specially designed for vibrating machines, with unique six-dimensional vibration measurement. With CONiQ, Schenck process consolidates its position as a provider of intelligent Industry 4.0 applications.

Proactively avoid interruptions to production

“In heavy industries such as mining or steel manufacturing, machines are confronted with unparalleled harsh conditions,” says Jan Schäfer, Product Manager, Schenck Process R&D. “Short maintenance intervals, unplanned machine breakdowns and the damage that can result are the attendant consequences. Companies that until now have relied on corrective maintenance need to change their thinking in a competitive environment, in which downtime has become more expensive than ever.”

Particularly in the mining industry, plants are often in remote locations where there are no service personnel within easy reach. Thus there is a growing demand for the strategic deployment of proactive condition monitoring and diagnostic systems.

CONiQ: specially designed for vibrating equipment

The CONiQ condition monitoring system for vibrating machines is based on the principle of predictive maintenance. Damage and wear are detected and components can be repaired or replaced before they lead to more serious damage or stoppages. Significant cracks or defects of the screen body are also detected.

CONiQ continuously monitors the vibration of machines and components as well as oil temperature. These metrics are automatically analyzed compared with preconfigured initial and limit values, and interpreted for possible root causes.

With the prevention of a single plant standstill, CONiQ will immediately recover the investment costs. The system can be bundled into new vibrating machinery or retrofitted to a machine that is already in operation.

As well as preventing breakdowns and optimizing the machine’s energy efficiency, this approach offers other significant advantages compared with maintenance strategies that involve pre-planned interventions: the service life of components is maximized and the time demands on maintenance personnel are reduced. Unforeseen downtime for maintenance can be avoided, and maintenance work planned more effectively. Moreover, operators can gain machine-specific experience and know-how.

CONiQ also offers a couple of unique advantages over other CM machines that are designed for vibrating equipment. It measures screen movement with a six-dimensional inertial sensor: three-dimensional linear acceleration, and three-dimensional rotatory velocity. Six-dimensional measurement is essential. If you measure less than six dimensions, it is possible that you will fail to detect a fault.

Additionally, CONiQ measures mechanical vibration at both sides of the exciter with piezoelectric accelerometers. This detects any possible damage to bearings and gears that could emit vibrations causing further damage to the exciter.

Uniquely, CONiQ offers the option of wireless or non-wireless data communication for these sensors to the Floor Unit, which carries out continuous analysis of the measurements. “This combines flexibility of deployment with security and synchronicity. A wireless-only approach is not always ideal in environments where there is a lot of external interference that can affect the signal,” says Schäfer.

Schenck Process in the modern production

Following the release of LOGiQ middleware for automating the planning and loading of bulk materials and cargo, Schenck Process has delivered another intelligent building block for the emerging Industry 4.0.* With CONiQ, the company has further demonstrated its power of innovation focused on the demands of modern industrial production.

Product description

CONiQ comprises three elements: Measurement, Analysis and Interpretation.

Measurement: First, machine movement (to monitor load, springs, intermediate shaft etc.) is measured with six-dimensional microelectromechanical (MEMS) sensors. Second, mechanical vibration is measured with piezoelectric accelerometers to monitor bearings, gears etc. The separation of these two tasks (mechanical vibration and machine movement) enables more accurate condition monitoring for more effective detection of actual or potential faults. Third, CONiQ monitors oil temperature using Pt100 sensors.

Analysis: Values are constantly analyzed during operation on a Floor Unit with display by comparing them with initial and reference values. If a value is exceeded, this triggers an alarm. The raw measurements as well as the analysis results are stored to evaluate historical data.

Interpretation: The Floor Unit also supports automatic interpretation of the analysis, giving operators better insight into the possible root causes of any emerging problems, and prompts appropriate actions. Furthermore, the data can be transmitted via Ethernet, field bus, digital or analogue outputs to an existing process control system. Alternatively, Schenck Process provides a proprietary PC software program enabling central evaluation of data values. This program includes a comprehensive range of expert tools for the analysis and interpretation of metrics. In this way long-term prognoses can be extrapolated, making potential risks identifiable at the earliest opportunity.

* Four out of ten companies are already applying Industry 4.0 applications, according to the Bitkom Study published in April 2015, a growing trend confirmed by other studies, for example by Fraunhofer IPA. Predictive maintenance applications are among the most widespread, with 27 percent of industrial companies already depending on them, according to Bitkom.

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