Wireless sensors enable automated machine monitoring


SKF has released a compact and cost-effective vibration and temperature sensor, which monitors the condition of rotating parts on heavy machinery.

Designed mainly for use as part of an SKF rotating equipment performance (REP) solution, the SKF Enlight Collect IMx-1 enables customers to reduce unplanned downtime as well as maintenance costs. Industrial plants are under increasing pressure and, as a result, production hours are increasing. At the same time, customers need to avoid unplanned downtime, while reducing their capital investments.

Chris James, Product Line Manager at SKF, said: “Enabled by the new SKF Enlight Collect IMx-1, customers can easily get started with a fee- or performance-based contract and access automated predictive maintenance and reliable rotation on their operating budget.”

Powered by long-lasting batteries, the cost-effective sensors can be deployed in large numbers to automate data gathering on machine health, a process typically carried out by technicians with manual portable devices.

When mounted to a bearing housing, this data can be wirelessly sent to a host computer network, where it can then be forwarded to cloud-based analysis services at SKF REP centres.

The system relies on a ‘mesh network’, which allows the sensors to relay data between one another. The data can be routed around radio obstacles, such as pipework and liquid storage vessels, which create signal blocks for conventional line-of-sight systems, and sent over greater distances than would be possible using a single device.

The SKF Enlight Collect IMx-1 has been designed to achieve a tough ingress protection rating and is expected to work reliably when exposed to environmental hazards such as dust, dirt, oil, grease, contaminants and flying debris.