Motors and controls manufacturer WEG subsidiary Zest WEG Group has launched the first phase of its WEG Motor Scan solution –a motor performance monitoring solution for electric motors.
Speaking to Mining Weekly at the official product launch, held at the Electra Mining Africa exhibition last month, Zest WEG Group electric division rotating machines manager Fanie Steyn said that Phase I of the solution will facilitate the monitoring of electric motor installations and optimise access to critical information regarding motor performance.
This technology enables engineers and maintenance personnel to make informed decisions about the health of installed motors and to react accordingly, depending on the data captured.
The WEG Motor Scan Solution uses Industry 4.0’s digital technology, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics, with users being able to monitor and access the information through mobile or smart devices.
The monitoring device had been designed to assist mines and other large industrial operations in avoiding unplanned downtime by allowing plant maintenance managers to perform proactive motor maintenance, Steyn explained.
“The Zest WEG Group is waiting on the final certification from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa – expected to be awarded by the end of November – after which the product will be made available to the local market,” Steyn noted.
The motor scan was designed at the WEG automation factory in the south of Brazil and allows information pertaining to a motor’s axial vibration, radial vibration on the X, Y and Z axes, motor temperature and overall operating time to be extracted and monitored.
“It is not just a scanner, it is an Industry 4.0-ready solution that enables our clients to avoid costly downtime,” emphasised Steyn.
The motor scan is designed to work in ambient temperatures ranging from -40 °C to 80 °C, and can operate in Zone 1 areas with a T4 temperature rating.
The device’s sensor can be mounted onto electric motors with one screw and requires no electrical connection to the motor. The sensor boasts an ingress protection rating of IP66, an estimated battery life of three years and is small enough to fit into the palm of a person’s hand.
The sensor allows for operational data to be extracted automatically from the motor and sent to the cloud, where it is made available to end-users’ mobile device through Bluetooth. Stored data can then be analysed by end-users on the connected mobile device’s screen in a dynamic way or in greater depth on the WEG IoT platform, where data is automatically processed and analysed.
The device can also be used to set maintenance triggers that remind end-users to perform routine maintenance checks at set intervals, such as greasing of bearings after a specific number of operating hours.
Steyn explained that the WEG Motor Scan Solution was developed in consultation with industry to cater to the most pressing motor requirements of clients.
The mining industry has been struggling to anticipate motor failure, pre-empt maintenance requirements and determine adequate motor maintenance schedules.
Steyn affirmed that, consequently, the device would reduce losses associated with operational downtime, decrease the amount of operators required to ensure that a plant is operating optimally and assist in the scheduling of operation-critical maintenance.
Zest WEG Group states that it has had encouraging interest for the scanner from mining company Anglo American and chemicals company Sasol, as well as several other clients, prior to the launch.
“In today’s mining sector, it is no longer enough to come to the market with a good product,” Steyn said. “It is increasingly important to partner with clients in the design and delivery of integrated solutions that will enhance the bottom line and achieve lower cost of ownership for them.”
WEG Motor Scan Phase II
While Phase I of the WEG Motor Scan Solution will soon be available, WEG continues work on Phase II of the device and expects that this phase will conclude development before the end of next year.
Phase II will build on the abilities of Phase I of the device by allowing for the monitoring of a WEG motor’s energy use and operating efficiency. This will further reduce motor cost of ownership, as the motors can be maintained at optimal efficiency at all times, resulting in a reduction in overall energy consumption and maintenance costs.
Phase II of the Motor Scan also aims to introduce an access point type scanner gateway that will connect all the sensors in a plant within reach, allowing for the naming and monitoring of as many electric motors as required. It will also analyse data sent to the cloud and synchronise the data through the WEG IoT platform.
“Most importantly, Phase II of this solution will enable end-users to locate and to have real-time performance monitoring of their motors from anywhere in the world,” Steyn concluded.