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Battery-free vibration sensors can check all machines in a plant

21 July, 2021

Fluke Reliability has announced a battery-free wireless system for monitoring machine vibrations, that can help to identify potential faults before breakdowns occur. The “set-and-forget” Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor system can connect up to 1,000 sensors to a single gateway and can operate continuously, even in hard-to-reach places.

Fluke says that ability to monitor so many sensors means that machines that would not normally be checked can now be brought into condition-monitoring regimes.

The vibration sensors draw their power from the machine’s heat, or from ambient light, using thermoelectric or photovoltaic energy harvesters. The sensors can screen vibration levels, temperature and humidity, as well as identifying the nine highest FFT peaks.

Depending on the local conditions, the sensors can be placed up to 1km away from the gateway for line-of-sight applications or up to 250m when there is no direct line-of-sight. The wireless gateways offer a choice of Wi-Fi, LTE or Ethernet communications, making the system adaptable to any facility. The battery-free technology reduces the need for upkeep, cutting maintenance bills.

“Today, most maintenance teams only monitor production-critical machines,” points out Tyler Evans, Fluke Reliability’s director of product management. “They don’t have the tools and resources to track their other semi-critical assets, which make up the vast majority of machines in a facility. We designed our screening solution to bring those often-ignored middle tiers of machines under the umbrella of a condition-monitoring programme.”

Fluke’s vibration sensors draw their power from a machine’s heat or ambient light using thermoelectric or photovoltaic energy harvesters.
Photo: Business Wire

The technology will also help to make better use of maintenance teams’ time.

“Maintenance teams worldwide tell us they spend too much time inspecting machines that are operating normally,” says Fluke Reliability president, Ankush Malhotra. “With our comprehensive vibration monitoring solution, maintenance teams gain visibility to prioritise actions based on current condition when they receive a notification that user-defined thresholds have been exceeded.”

When used with Fluke’s recent 3563 analysis vibration sensor for critical machines and Live-Asset management software, the system offers a way of monitoring almost every asset in a plant. The vibration-screening system enables maintenance teams to spot machine faults before catastrophic failures happen, avoiding costly downtime.

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