Smart maintenance has become an important component in modern mine operations, allowing for real-time data collection and analysis from the production floor.
In combination with accelerometers, the diagnostic electronics of ifm’s series of VSE monitoring systems can be used for vibration monitoring and condition-based maintenance of machines and installations. Rotational unbalances, bearing and gear conditions can be monitored, which helps to prevent machine overload or unexpected downtime.
ifm’s diagnostic amplifiers allow users to continuously and simultaneously analyse and evaluate the signals of up to four accelerometers. The unit has two switching outputs; one can be used for the pre-alarm and the other for the main alarm.
The pre-alarm allows the user to schedule and perform maintenance actions during regular operation breaks, while the main alarm signifies that a critical machine state is reached; the switching signal can then be used for system shutdown.
Alternatively, the user can configure one of the outputs as an analogue output to monitor overall vibration (the two analogue inputs can be used to monitor further parameters such as speed or temperature). In addition, the unit features an onboard, time-stamped memory to store the trend history of all diagnostic characteristics.
ifm offers free parameter setting software for configuration of the diagnostic electronics.
In total, there are five diagnostic amplifiers; the most common diagnostic amplifier is the VSE100; this differs from sister product, the VSE002 amplifier, in that it has an extra eight solid state outputs that can be switched for each of the accelerometers, so it is possible to have a hard output on ‘warning’ and ‘damage level’ for every accelerometer.
In addition to the high functions of the previous units there are three more units that are specifically developed to interface directly with the big three programmable logic controller (PLC) brands, which includes the VSE150 with Profinet interface, VSE151 with Ethernet IP interface, and finally the VSE153 with Modbus TCP interface.
With the advent of this development, it means that with the right module, and the addition of a downloaded add-on instruction (i.e. GSD, EDS), any of the diagnostic functions that are programmed into the amplifier will be available to the PLC that it is networked to.
“This in essence, means that the parameters in the Octavis diagnostic amplifiers become registers in the parent PLC,” explains Chris Dicker, condition monitoring specialist at ifm.
“Once this occurs it is then possible to use them in a pre-existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system without the use of other tools like open platform communications (OPC) Server.
“Virtual setpoints can be set as per normal SCADA and the best part is that no analogue modules are required as by using this method every diagnosis will be treated as an analogue register.”
The new units now look a little different to the old, being totally redesigned with a new format — immediately noticeable is that there are three RJ45 ports: one for standard programming, and two protocol ports where the amplifiers can be linked together as an Ethernet switch.
In this way it is easy to connect multiple units together in a plant with simple jumper RJ45 Cat 5/6 cables.
Whatever is programmed in the VSE will emulate in the PLC, with each diagnosis parameter and the value and memory size associated for that point in the Ethernet IP. Even the order of these parameters can be altered to best suit the way that the SCADA is set up.
In other developments there is also a software package called VES004, which is available for free from the ifm service download website.
The next generation in ifm software, it incorporates many new features to assist in the online monitoring process. It will work with the latest models and is also backward compatible up to Version AI Amplifiers.
Now as standard there are onboard history functions that can span over years depending on the log rate such is the capacity of the internal memory. Ifm may have a game changer on its hands
“There is full time waveform, FFT and HFFT spectra and numerous ways in which to display ‘Damage Levels’,” says Dicker.
“It really is the next step for ifm’s VSE series in terms of memory capacity.”