Plug and play monitoring for pumps and motors

SmartQB condition monitoring system

A multi-sensor monitoring system from Schaeffler provides automatic fault diagnosis whilst continuously monitoring rotating plant and equipment.

Precision bearing manufacturer Schaeffler has launched an innovative standalone system for monitoring the condition of rotating plant and equipment with fixed or variable speeds from 100 to 15,000 rpm. Due to its unique automatic fault assessment feature, the system can be operated by maintenance staff with little or no expertise in vibration monitoring technology.

The FAG SmartQB is a ready-to-use, pre-configured condition monitoring system for electric motors, pumps, fans, compressors and gearboxes, which is simple to install (commissioning takes just five minutes) and requires no specific skills or knowledge of vibration diagnosis. When changes occur in the condition of the equipment, FAG SmartQB automatically generates plain text messages on its 7-inch display – a genuine innovation on the condition monitoring market.

The FAG SmartQB early warning system comprises of a FAG SmartQB sensor unit (a variant of the existing FAG SmartCheck condition monitoring device), a cube-shaped housing with touchscreen display, and a cable for power and data transmission (Power-over-Ethernet).

The system was developed for detecting faults in electric motors, pumps, fans and other rotating plant and equipment that are supported by rolling bearings. The system is supplied with ready-to-use, preset measurement configurations. Five causes of faults can be identified and displayed using the system: bearing damage, imbalance, friction/cavitation (for centrifugal pumps), temperature increases and general changes in vibration patterns that cannot be clearly attributed to one of the aforementioned causes and so may require additional analyses. The automatic fault assessment feature provides clearly understood plain text messages on its display, giving users clear instructions for action, enabling them to immediately undertake any corrective maintenance work and order any replacement parts if required.

Installation and initial operation of the system are remarkably simple. FAG SmartQB can be installed and operated by any in-house maintenance technician or electrician without any expertise in vibration technology. The 7-inch touchscreen display provides all the relevant information, from assembly and set up instructions to recommended actions if a fault occurs and the contact details of technical support at Schaeffler.

When starting FAG SmartQB for the first time, the customer selects one of the 16 languages provided and, if required, replaces the preset standard contact details of Schaeffler’s technical support with their own details. After selecting the component on which the FAG SmartQB sensor is mounted (ie a motor, pump or fan), the user then specifies whether the machine operates at constant or variable speed, and enters the individual name of the drive system/assembly. FAG SmartQB then automatically selects the best measurement configuration. The system is immediately ready for the automatic learning mode. This self-learning (Teach-In) mode enables the device to automatically adjust alarm thresholds. After set up and commissioning, FAG SmartQB operates autonomously. The relevant machine parameters are measured and saved continuously in the system, creating a substantial database of historical data over time.

Dr Steve Lacey, Engineering Manager at Schaeffler UK commented: “FAG SmartQB allows any customer to monitor their machines without needing vibration monitoring experts or extensive training. Customers want a plug-and-play condition monitoring system that is easy to install and operate, and which provides automatic, clear answers to any machine problems that occur. FAG SmartQB achieves all of this at a very favourable price-performance ratio.”

A total of six sensors can be connected to one FAG SmartQB and allocated to multiple machines, individual machine components or sub-assemblies as required. Additional sensors can be easily added using the display – in a similar way to initial system installation. After initial operation, FAG SmartQB displays relevant information such as operating hours counter, fault frequency, maximum values, average values, trend curves and the alarm status of each individual FAG SmartQB sensor. If an alarm due to a change in vibration signals occurs, which cannot be attributed to one of the five main causes, the system makes a recommendation to maintenance staff via the display, to send the measurement data to Schaeffler’s technical support centre, which can provide a more in-depth analysis.

Due to its 24/7 monitoring capability, FAG SmartQB can help companies reduce machine downtime and maximise plant availability. The system is therefore suitable for use in a wide range of industry sectors including cement, paper, steel and water, as well as other process manufacturing and mechanical engineering industries. The system is currently being trialled in various customer projects in these sectors.

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