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Wireless predictive maintenance system is ‘world’s first’

19 April, 2018

A US company that specialises in wireless power transmission claims to have developed the world’s first wirelessly powered, predictive maintenance sensor technology. Nikola Labs’ PfM system captures vibration and temperature readings remotely to monitor the condition of equipment and to optimise maintenance in industrial and manufacturing facilities.

The maintenance-free system consists of wireless, remotely-powered sensors that communicate with transponders. It will allow users to:

•  predict equipment failures, thus avoiding costly, unplanned downtime;

•  prolong equipment life by monitoring points of weakness more accurately to know when to fix rather than replace equipment; and

•  monitor installations even in remote, extreme locations where other forms of monitoring would be difficult or impossible.

An exploded view of one of Nikola Labs' wirelessly powered sensors

“Unplanned downtime is a significant source of economic loss and frustration for operations and maintenance teams at manufacturing plants,” says Nikola Labs’ CEO, Will Zell. “Predictive sensor data is a powerful tool for manufacturers to reduce unplanned downtime and to enable their machine maintenance experts to be more proactive.

“Wireless power,” he continues, “is game-changing for predictive maintenance. Our system provides the benefits of wireless sensors without the burden of replacing batteries on hundreds or thousands of wireless devices in a plant.”

Nikola’s proprietary wireless technology converts radio frequency (RF) energy into DC power. It provides power and communications for uninterrupted flows of sensor data from critical and difficult-to-monitor components and processes. It can be used where cabled connections would be inefficient, impractical or dangerous.

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