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Drives uses on-board PLCs for predictive maintenance

22 November, 2019

The German drives-maker Nord has developed a condition-monitoring technology that uses PLCs built into its frequency inverters and motor starters to pre-process data which can then be used for predictive maintenance, avoiding the need to perform maintenance at fixed intervals.

One of the system’s functions is to determine the optimal time to change oil in gearboxes based on a “virtual measurement” of the oil temperature. Real temperature sensors are not needed because algorithms running on the PLC calculate the oil temperature continuously based on drive parameters.

The system also uses data from hardware sensors such as vibration sensors, and temperature sensors in the motor. Customers’ analogue or digital sensors can also be connected to the system.

As well as pre-processing the drive parameters and evaluating drive conditions, the on-board PLCs can also provide access to industrial Ethernet or fieldbus data, and be used to implement application-specific tasks.

Nord’s condition-monitoring technology uses PLCs onboard its inverters and motor starters to pre-process data

Nord’s Nordcon software offers intuitive parameterisation and programming of several drives, as well as multi-axis access via Ethernet. It includes an IEC 61131-3-compliant PLC editor that supports structured-text programming. There is also an app available, which provides dashboard-based visualisation of drive activities and faults.

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