The “Transparent” motor – ready for industry 4.0
In future, data on the condition and operation of a motor can be acquired directly in the terminal box. Motor monitoring is part of a package with which VEM is preparing its drives for the digital world.
Is a motor running smoothly and free of vibration? Does it operate within its optimum performance range? When is the next maintenance due? Is there even a risk of failure? Such questions must currently remain unanswered when using mainsfed motors for lower outputs.
VEM has already been working on a project which will make motors “transparent” and eventually Industry 4.0-ready for some time. A logical extension – and already practiced in a few first cases – is a corresponding retrofit option for existing motors. “We are also looking into this possibility, but our main focus is on a cloud-based solution,” says Dr. Henri Arnold, head of the drive systems department at VEM. The project is built around motor monitoring functions designed to process live data acquired by sensors in the terminal boxes. These data are subsequently transferred to a cloud for collection and analysis. The customer can then use an individually configured portal to access all relevant information on the life cycle, operation and maintenance of his motor, including a full motor history. This permits timely identification of any need to take corrective action, e.g. the ordering of spare parts, preventive maintenance or the planning of repairs.
It is also possible to obtain specific confirmation that a motor with an optimum energy efficiency classification is being used. It is not always the case that a motor with a higher efficiency classification will result in a lower energy consumption. The operating mode, utilisation and properties of the driven process all influence the result to a greater or lesser degree. That can be proven immediately by way of live data. Thanks to a less than 5% metering error, the measurements are also valid within the framework of ISO 50001.
More to come at SPS
“In a further step for the future, we want to enable customers to obtain information via the portal already during manufacture of the ordered motor,” adds Sylvia Blankenhagen, chief designer at the VEM facility in Zwickau. “With the aid of the motor number, and later via a QR code on the motor, the customer can call up relevant certificates, test reports or spare parts lists.”
Further information on the project “Transparent Motors – Ready for Industry 4.0” and updates on the progress made to date will be presented to visitors on the VEM fair stand at SPS IPC Drives in Nürnberg in November 2018.
Source: VEM Impulse 2/20218