Motors, Drives

Motors, fans, pumps, compressors: IIoT avoids downtime

Think Again: Remote monitoring, sensors, analytics and real-time intelligence is helping those who manufacture, use, and repair motors and attached critical assets to avoid downtime with prescriptive maintenance technologies, says EASA and Plant Engineering research.
By Mark T. Hoske August 16, 2019
Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

Recent research and discussions from an EASA technical committee indicate willingness to use Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies for predictive and prescriptive maintenance practices. Migration to digital technologies used in the IIoT can help end users, machine builders, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and motor and rotating service companies better monitor and care for critical rotating assets at lower costs. Beyond predicting, prescriptive technologies also provide guidance on what to do.

Figure 1: EASA and Plant Engineering (CFE Media) research included asset management trends and maintenance practices for rotating equipment. Those who lag in adopting asset monitoring technologies may risk losing business to those who do. Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

Figure 1: EASA and Plant Engineering (CFE Media) research included asset management trends and maintenance practices for rotating equipment. Those who lag in adopting asset monitoring technologies may risk losing business to those who do. Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

At the EASA 2019 annual meeting, June 29 through July 2, discussions included EASA and Plant Engineering research. On use of condition-monitoring maintenance for rotating equipment. 33% of respondents are using now, 17% plan to use this year, 25% plan to within three years, and 25% have no plans, noted Jerry Peerbolte, assistant professor of marketing, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.

Adding value

Peerbolte, long-time EASA member and former motor industry executive, said in his presentation that low-tech, high personnel practices lead among maintenance methods for facility rotating equipment:

  • 71% use route-based periodic visual and/or survey data collection and trending;
  • 61% use real-time condition monitoring using pre-established rules or alert levels;
  • 21% use real-time condition monitoring with machine learning or other regression analysis; and
  • 18% use real-time condition monitoring that incorporates external data.

These least-used methods have potential to provide the most value for those providing and receiving services. Examples include application of sensors as a service and manufacturers offering asset or fleet-based information across more applications.

Figure 2: EASA and Plant Engineering (CFE Media) research included asset management strategies for motors and rotating equipment. Those who lag in adopting asset monitoring technologies may risk losing business to those who do. Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

Figure 2: EASA and Plant Engineering (CFE Media) research included asset management strategies for motors and rotating equipment. Those who lag in adopting asset monitoring technologies may risk losing business to those who do. Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

Survey respondents said the top three ways IIoT will impact plant operations are to help better understand machine health, better predict and prevent plant shutdowns, and change how plant maintenance personnel work and interact with all levels of operation. Will companies slow to adopt IIoT technologies risk missing business opportunities? It’s a concern. Another survey answer said 25% of respondents had no plans to use internet-enabled technologies to help with condition monitoring for rotating equipment.

Committee examines IIoT

Aware of potential risks related to IIoT acceleration, EASA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Emerging Technologies is looking at technologies and applications. In a related conference session, some attending noted that data analytics software can uncover useful information even without expert knowledge about the equipment.

Figure 3: EASA and Plant Engineering (CFE Media) research included using internet-enabled equipment to monitor rotating equipment. Those who lag in adopting asset monitoring technologies may risk losing business to those who do. Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

Figure 3: EASA and Plant Engineering (CFE Media) research included using internet-enabled equipment to monitor rotating equipment. Those who lag in adopting asset monitoring technologies may risk losing business to those who do. Courtesy: EASA and Plant Engineering

Even so, that expertise is seen as valuable; one data analytics startup purchased a motor repair company to use the company’s historical asset knowledge.

As for collecting new data, application knowledge is required. Attaching a vibration sensor to a fan guard, for instance, is unlikely to result in gathering useful motor-related information.

Peerbolte said it’s important that the EASA organization is watching these trends, and encouraging its members to be mindful of disrupters in other markets, such as Airbnb and Uber.

Jerry Peerbolte is assistant professor of marketing, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and long-time EASA member, former motor industry executive and long-time EASA member. Courtesy: EASA

Jerry Peerbolte is assistant professor of marketing, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and long-time EASA member, former motor industry executive and long-time EASA member. Courtesy: EASA

For the lodging and ride-for-hire industries, Peerbolte said, “What changed the business model was the desire of the users/customers for a different way of doing things, and a willingness to try that new way.” He added EASA customers also “are open to trying new ways to address their maintenance needs.”

Think again about how smart applications of IIoT technologies can help accelerate your goals.

Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

Online extra

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End-users also report confidence in the reliability of repaired motors and that efficiency levels are maintained. Over two-thirds believe repaired motors have equal or better reliability compared to a replacement new motor; just 20% feel efficiency levels are hurt in repaired motors, according to research from EASA and Plant Engineering presented at the EASA 2019 annual meeting.


Mark T. Hoske
Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.