ABB unveils Smart Sensor for mounted bearings

By |  January 17, 2019
The ABB Smart Sensor is designed to increase reliability, improve safety and reduce downtime. Photo by Allison Barwacz

The ABB Smart Sensor is designed to increase reliability, improve safety and reduce downtime. Photo by Allison Barwacz

ABB hosted a media event in Bolingbrook, Illinois, where it unveiled the ABB Ability Smart Sensor for mounted bearings.

The Smart Sensor, designed to improve safety and reliability and minimize downtime and costs, was a culmination of 137 customer reviews and about 850 hours of discussion.

“The new Smart Sensor for mounted bearings is a conditioned monitoring device that will help customers reduce downtime,” says Vasilios Kapousidis, development engineer for mounted bearings at ABB. “It’s easy to use, prevents unexpected shutdowns and improves safety.”

The company took a customer-based approach when developing the Smart Sensor: It wanted a product that could apply to every industry it serves, including the mining, aggregate, food and beverage, air handling and bulk material handling industries.

“Behind all of our development is the voice of the customer,” says Matt Frady, general product manager for mounted bearings at ABB. “The sensor meets many needs our customers have across various industries today – improved reliability, helping with unplanned downtime, safety – this sensor answers all of those needs.”

Remotely-monitored data

The ABB Smart Sensor can be integrated with any bearing. Photo by Allison Barwacz

The ABB Smart Sensor can be integrated with any bearing. Photo by Allison Barwacz

One of the Smart Sensor’s main features is its ease of use and ABB Ability integration. The wireless Smart Sensor can be easily screwed onto any mounted bearing – not just ABB bearings – so customers don’t have to purchase a new set of bearings to use it.

From there, the Smart Sensor collects data, which can be analyzed remotely via the ABB Ability application on the user’s smartphone, tablet or desktop via the ABB Ability web portal.

The ABB Ability app, which comes packaged with the Smart Sensor, allows users to determine bearing health, receive notifications when conditions change, observe equipment data trends and communicate with other team members.

The data is presented in a simple interface, which makes it easy for anyone with access to view and understand the data, the company says. In addition, users can customize their notification preferences to receive data that’s relevant to them.

“We wanted to make it simple and easy to use so that it didn’t only relate to the experts out in the field,” Kapousidis says. “We wanted to make sure that we could also bring in those that have thought about conditioned monitoring and preventative maintenance, but couldn’t make the investment to hire someone fully dedicated to vibration analysis and temperature to have this visibility on their equipment.”


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Designed with aggregate users in mind

ABB’s Smart Sensor was also designed to withstand tough quarry environments.

“Durability was very important,” says Artur Rdaznek, global product manager for sensored technologies at ABB. “We drilled hundreds of thousands of steel bolts to the sensors to make sure there would be no cracks on the sensor.”

The enclosure, which is made of thermoplastic at the top and stainless steel on the bottom, also protects the sensor from ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

Artur Rdaznek, global product manager at ABB, discusses the Smart Sensor at the company's office in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Photo by Allison Barwacz

Artur Rdaznek, global product manager at ABB, discusses the Smart Sensor at the company’s office in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Photo by Allison Barwacz

“Each of the details of the sensor was deeply investigated,” Rdaznek says. “We investigated 20 to 30 types of material for the sensor to make sure we increased the durability.”

The Smart Sensor also was designed to reduce downtime on equipment, as the app allows users to see day-to-day changes in equipment and set alerts that will notify them if something is going wrong.

Finally, the company focused heavily on the safety aspect of the Smart Sensor for mounted bearings. Being able to monitor the sensor remotely allows users to avoid the risk of approaching running equipment too closely.

“Safety in the aggregate industry is always quite big because we have a lot of rotating equipment, we have a lot of conveyors,” Rdaznek says. “And we would like to make sure the crew starting its shift in the morning is exactly the same crew leaving the shift in the evening. The Smart Sensor will help us to achieve this target. It means you don’t need to go into the dangerous zone to analyze what’s going on with your equipment.”

The main points

Overall, ABB aimed to create a digitized product that could service its customers in three main areas: reliability, safety and downtime.

The company keyed in on ways to accomplish these goals, mainly through remote monitoring, ease of use and digital technology integration.

“It’s easy to use, increases safety, avoids unexpected downtime and increases uptime,” Rdaznek says. “This is the main message behind the Smart Sensor for mounted bearings.”

Allison Barwacz

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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