Altra Motion accelerates IIoT uptake to monitor braking systems

Altra Motion’s brand Svendborg Brakes is equipping its new and existing brakes with future facing technologies, as the company pioneers innovations such as data mining and the Industrial Internet of Things.

The year 2020 was transformational in many ways, not the least how it accelerated the mining sector’s transition to Industry 4.0.

Central to this technological change is a greater extraction and use of data from devices, a paradigm that is fondly known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

With promise to elevate mining efficiencies and productivity, those that have already taken advantage of IIoT are praising the many advantages of its technologies.

Altra Motion has joined this trend by introducing IIoT and data mining technologies to its brand, Svendborg Brakes.

The technologies will extract data from Svendborg Brakes systems via sensors, from which valuable information is uploaded to the cloud and processed using edge computing algorithms to deliver condition monitoring on mining assets.

This can include the status of brake components, such as system pressure and the state of the piston, brake fluid level and temperature.

Operators can take immediate actions that are not only limited to stopping and holding, but all internal processes within the brake control systems.

Having received actual data on brake usage and wear, users are now armed with additional knowledge about their brake systems’ remaining life before they have completely worn out.

“You can now predict when you need to change your brake pads, rather than having to manually look and see whether they are still in good shape,” Altra Motion Australia area sales manager – Western Australia, Phil Synnott tells Australian Mining.

“You can actually tell when a breakdown is going to happen. This is one of the advantages of implementing IIoT in your brake systems.

“Knowing that the next maintenance will have to be done in the next three, six or 12 months, you can plan for that. Maintenance is not a big job, but it can be time consuming so mining companies can do with a bit of planning.”

In this way, companies are empowered to move away from an old approach of reacting to an issue as it arises, to scheduling the next service or replacement to prevent a breakdown.

Not only can companies move from preventative to predictive maintenance, a disciplined maintenance regime will also lengthen the service life of braking components.

“Having that data gives you the information that you need to keep your key mining equipment, such as conveyor drives, winches and stacker reclaimer applications, at the peak of their productivity and throughput,” Synnott says.

Altra Motion Australia national sales manager Rex Sinclair agrees, saying that mining companies are always looking for ways to improve equipment uptime.

“Even though brakes are a small part of the system, it’s a critical part because it’s installed in multimillion-dollar equipment that needs protecting,” Sinclair, who has worked in mining for over two decades, says.

Such data-based monitoring happens in real time, with Svendborg Brakes’ 24/7 service app being at the touch of a finger to allow mining operators to reach out to the expert team at Altra Motion.

The free app, which is downloadable on the Apple and Android app stores, connects mining companies in Australia with Altra Motion technicians via a phone call or email, 24/7.

The introduction of IIoT to Svendborg Brakes comes at a good time as companies are introducing remote operations to mine sites, where subject matter experts aren’t always available on site.

Having received the commendation of a mining operation in Europe, Altra Motion is now working on a project in Western Australia to equip mining equipment with Svendborg Brakes and their IIoT and data mining technologies.

“We’re looking at upgrading the existing systems they have on site. As soon as the site gives final consent, the hydraulic units will be installed, and they’ll be able to monitor the health of the brake control units immediately,” Synnott says.

“This will enhance the reliability of their assets.”

Altra Motion Australia will continue to respond to mining customer requirements to better assist with greater productivity, reliability, innovation and safety by staying ahead of IIoT developments in the future.

This article will appear in the February issue of Australian Mining.

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