Explore OMRON’s real-time motor condition monitoring solutions and their effectiveness in reducing downtime and production losses
April 01, 2021
It is often said that "A motor is the heart, the driving force of a factory. If the motor stops, the production also stops."
A manufacturer, grappling with the upkeep of the motors, will surely second this thought. It underlines the necessity of having a sophisticated automated system in place, at the shop floor, to ensure the motors are up and running all the time.
Why is it critical?
It is very challenging to prevent motor degradation by operational issues arising out of wear and tear such as open phase/bearing, overload, insulation distortion, etc. If all this is not controlled on time, it leads to dismal consequences like a massive increase in energy consumption, complete motor failure, and, sometimes electrical shocks to the workers. A motor failure can lead to machine stoppages and unscheduled production disruptions. Thus, manufacturers stand to gain if motor failures can be predicted and maintenance schedules can be planned better.
What is personalized manufacturing
This story is a glimpse into the challenges faced by one of the leading auto manufacturing majors while managing the predictive and preventive maintenance of the critical elements of its diecasting machines.
The snags & obstacles at hand
What the customer experienced as obstacles is an indication of the trouble a manufacturer goes through on a day to day basis owing to the pressing need of the upkeep of motors and their preventive maintenance. Over a period of time, deterioration comes into play owing to normal wear and tear as well as due to the deterioration in the connected load; thus, even if the motor is new or recently serviced it still has all the possibilities of going through deterioration.
This is bound to result in higher power consumption, safety hazards and eventually to machine stoppage. Machine stoppage – the ultimate outcome- is very expensive and hence a manufacturer spends a considerable amount of time and resources in checking motors on a regular basis. This involves several check lists and expertise of many trained personnel which leads to a substantial increase in manpower cost (hiring & training). The cause of the issues could be mechanical conditions as well, hence it may not always be possible to identify the issue by the electrical worker alone. All the data and measurements are done manually in most of the cases and so record keeping and their retrieval poses another big challenge further making historical analysis a complicated, cumbersome and taxing procedure.
Notwithstanding, the men on job tend to err and so the manufacturer must keep a plan in place to rectify and manage that situation too. All in all, a lot of time and effort is spent on preventive maintenance even when this may not be really required.
This is precisely what the team at the shop floor was grappling with - sudden motor failures leading to unscheduled stoppages. Owing to further delays in repair, the situation was often ending up into mismanagement and production losses (owing to production downtime).
Also, the multiplicity of the devices required to measure and examine key vitals - vibration, temperature, current and insulation - was proving to be very cumbersome. The conventional motor condition check had several check items. This required a team of skilled maintenance engineers to analyse the motor's maintenance timing. Additionally, inspection was time consuming because there were many motors.
Technologies that are enabling personalized manufacturing
At OMRON, our autonomous manufacturing policy involves seamlessly combining process, plant and people through integrated, intelligent and interactive technologies. Autonomous Mobile Robots that use natural feature navigation without the need to add any new infrastructure to transfer and transport products have become key to flexible manufacturing. These robots allow for quick re-routing of the materials to adapt to process changes that come with personalized manufacturing. Many of the new plant are planning to have process shelves on mobile platforms that can move autonomously to configure themselves as per the needs of process sequence. Now, inserting a new process in an automation line becomes quite easy because mobile robots can close the manufacturing loop without having to make physical changes to the existing line. Digitally connected manufacturing using smart sensors and AI vision sending real-time information feedback to the plant to take immediate corrective and preventive action, real-time health and safety monitoring with wearable and digital records, augmented reality based immersive training are all part of the current manufacturing evolution that is enabling personalized manufacturing.
Last but not the least, bridging & integrating the entire set up with a third-party application (existing SCADA and central server) was a big concern.
Example of patrol inspection items
Motor failure mode
The solution desired
The customer was seeking for an automation technology to enable preventive and predictive maintenance with less dependency on the manual examination and which could also make access to historical data viable for bringing in value addition and improvements in the process in the long run.
The solution proposed - OMRON Motor Condition Monitoring Device: a one-stop solution for monitoring temperature, vibration, insulation and current with IOT connectivity.
Post understanding the issues at hand and a thorough recce of the site followed with intense conversations in the form of in-house seminars, trials and showcases, the team understood that there is an immense requirement of a solution that must take care of the maintenance of motors in advance before the failure happens or is about to happen. The proposed solution or outcome was the Omron Motor Condition Monitoring Device: K6CM
OMRON K6CM is an award-winning condition monitoring device. The solution has been acknowledged as TPM Development Award for Excellent Products and Good Design Award in 2018. By significantly reducing the time required for patrol inspection or expertise, it plays an immensely useful role in automating the motor’s maintainece and upkeep. OMRON K6CM does comprehensive current diagnosis and monitors motor conditions consistently by observing the current waveform of the motor. Additionally, it provides threshold value setting thus indicating the motor's maintenance timing without depending on an engineer.
What is Comrehensive current diagnosis?
At the shop floor, it’s now deployed on 9 motors. The solution is now consistently monitoring motor conditions by observing and gauging the change in vital parameters like inconsistency in vibration, abnormalities in temperature and irregular current. The customer is also able to grasp the motor's maintenance timing effectively without depending on an engineer. Most importantly, the motor conditions are also being measured remotely.
As a notable value addition to Omron’s automation portfolio for the automotive sector, the solution, owing to its immense utility, has opened newer doors for Omron to contribute towards solving the fundamental needs of the automotive makers with an advanced and progressive automation applications.