Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

DCS conditionmonitoring abb 400Sept 1, 2020

By Blake Marchand

Artur Rdzanek, ABB’s Mechanical Power Transmission Global Product Manager for Sensored Products, notes there are three core tenants to ABB AbilityTM sensors and remote monitoring systems: safety, extending system life, and significantly, or even completely, eliminating downtime.

From a safety perspective, the advantage is being able to gauge component health without having to be continuously around rotating equipment. The ability to monitor equipment remotely is particularly important when it comes to equipment that is difficult or dangerous to access.  Usability is at the core of sensors. In discussing remote monitoring with customers, Rdzanek said safety and simplicity are always at the forefront.

By looking at long and short-term trends of vibration and temperature you can establish optimal operating levels, set operational ‘traffic-light’ thresholds for temperature or vibration, and receive alerts when those thresholds are met. This allows the operator to pinpoint when and where maintenance is required.

Enhanced Safety

Operating in and around rotating equipment poses a risk, even for routine maintenance. As a former plant manager, Rdzanek said he understands the need to protect revenue streams for your facility, which means avoiding downtime on critical equipment. Maintenance workers obviously want to avoid taking equipment offline when possible as this dynamic increases the potential of safety risks. In many cases, maintenance technicians will remove safety guards to access equipment for even basic maintenance. By using IIoT condition monitoring technologies, these types of risks can be avoided because you have routine maintenance information without having to physically examine a machine.

There are two options for collecting data – through the gateway or a mobile device. Operators choose how often data is being collected, and the standard is once per hour, 24 times per day.  Both the gateway and mobile device connect to the sensors wirelessly, meaning you can stand in front of a given machine with a smart phone and check the temperature, vibration trends, and other parameters. This functionality also allows the user to monitor their facility from an office, or even from home. 

Optimizing Maintenance Procedures 

When it comes to issues with equipment, “We can do a sniper shot approach for maintenance. Because you are monitoring your own equipment, you know exactly where to send the maintenance team, exactly what to fix.” [who is this quote attributed to?]

Monitoring sensor data will also allow you to know for sure if an issue was resolved or further maintenance is needed, creating efficiencies in a facility’s maintenance strategy while also impacting time and labour. Further, rather than spending time walking around the plant to inspect every machine, maintenance workers can get a complete snapshot of all of the equipment and identify and prioritize where attention is required.

A major focus for ABB in their sensing technology is simplicity. Often times, to really understand what is going on with equipment, “we have to be vibration experts, machine experts,” Rdzanek explained, although not all customers will have that expertise. “We are giving them the tools to look for the temperature, to look for the vibration over time.  That gives them the opportunity to avoid a breakdown. Customers that are using our sensors today don’t need to go into very complicated vibration analytics, nor do they want to.”

Rdzanek elaborates on that point, “If you compare the data from last week with the long-term trends (6 months, 1 year, or 2 years), those customers can see, for example, there is almost a 70% increase in vibration.  That kind of change in trends indicates this is a good time for preventive maintenance. You can save thousands of dollars by replacing the bearings and avoiding critical damage.”

Software Updates & Data Backup

Vibration and temperature are the two primary metrics facility managers focus on, although ABB’s sensors are continuously being updated to add new features. Like a mobile phone, the sensing technology automatically updates firmware and software as it becomes available, so when you buy a sensor out of the box, it has the most current software and firmware embedded in it.

Rdzanek noted they recently released a new update that included velocity and vibration parameters, so, as he said, “You don’t have to change the hardware, you’re just going to have to upload the new settings and have completely different parameters.”

PB&SI also asked Rdzanek about how ABB’s sensors handle power outages.  “This is the beauty of our sensors,” he said.  “It was very important for our customers to have data consistency. This is why our sensors have the capability to restore the data points for ‘x’ number of days (depending on how often you are collecting data.)  Our sensors store the data, so a power outage is not a concern.  Once the power is back, the sensors, and all of their data, come back up too.”


Throughout industry, operators are becoming more comfortable with technology, and they often expect a certain level of connectivity. “We see a trend toward this technology more and more,” said Rdzanek. “Even our more conservative customers see the market is changing.”

A major concern is always cybersecurity.  “Our sensors have a cybersecurity option embedded, and you have the options to set up personal identification number for our sensors, added Rdzanek.  “We also have latest Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols implemented.

Rdzanek said they are always open to questions from their customers on this topic, and they have created a team dedicated cybersecurity to support them.

Extending System Life & Avoiding Critical Failure

In comparison to a reactive maintenance strategy, remote monitoring and predictive maintenance strategies give a more complete picture of how equipment is operating and how long it will last.

“Condition monitoring is giving us completely different opportunities for monitoring equipment from the very first day throughout the entire life cycle of the equipment,” Rdzanek said.

Rather than rely on generic product information or judgement calls on equipment life-expectancy, you can track exactly how your equipment is reacting to your specific processes.

With this analytical approach, operators can log exactly how many hours their equipment operators before needing to lubricate the bearings, replaceDCS artur abb 400 the motor, etc.  Ultimately, you can track your assets and schedule when they will require certain maintenance procedures and when they will need to be replaced, providing a clear picture of potential expenditures with evidence to make data-driven decisions.

“For ABB, the next step is moving in the direction of the digital suite: a virtual representation of our equipment to be able to predict the lifetime of our equipment.  And our targets remain very clear - increase safety, extend system life, and avoid critical failures.”

Artur Rdzanek is a Global Product Manager for ABB, focused on sensor products for Dodge® mechanical power transmission products. He has nearly 20 years of product management and manufacturing experience. Artur holds a B.S. and M.S in Automatics and Robotic Engineering from Lodz University, and an Executive MBA from Warsaw-Illinois University.

Editor's Pick: Featured Article


New woodlands are being created in the UK with the help of Mid Wales-based Invertek Drives through the Forest Carbon project to offset its carbon footprint. The company, which manufactures variable frequency drives (VFD) at its global headquarters at Welshpool, Powys, has worked with a local printing company to purchase ‘carbon balancing’ paper for all of its in-house printers, including the printing of its products’ handbooks.

Forest Carbon plants woodlands for companies wanting to mitigate the impact of their greenhouse emissions, as well as making a contribution to wider environmental benefits. It is the only UK-based carbon standard and is supported by the government.

The woodlands are planted at locations where they would not otherwise be commercially viable. The paper purchased by Invertek Drives is currently helping plant trees on land near Carlisle, Cumbria.

The new woodlands will not only help capture CO2, but also provide benefits for local biodiversity, landscape, flood management, water quality and recreation.

Referring to companies like Invertek Drives, Carbon Forest states: “These are companies who already avoid and reduce their emissions as far as they can and want to finish the job by capturing the remaining balance.”

Read More



Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) was recently pleased to announce that Electrocomponents plc, a global omni-channel solutions partner for electronics, industrial and automation customers and suppliers has joined the association as a global member, along with its subsidiaries Allied Electronics & Automation (Allied), a distributor of automation and control, electronic, electrical, mechanical, and maintenance products in North America and RS Components (RS), a global distribution partner for industrial customers and suppliers involved in designing, building or maintaining industrial equipment and facilities.

Electrocomponents will be represented on the ECIA by Chris Beeson, Senior Vice President of Electronics at RS. Peter Malpas, EMEA Regional President for RS; Sean Fredricks APAC Regional President for RS; and Ken Bradley President of Allied in the Americas will represent their respective regions.

“We recognize the importance of partnering with other industry leaders in electronics manufacturing and distribution to stay on the cutting edge of technology for the wide-ranging benefit of our customers,” said Beeson. “Membership in ECIA allows Electrocomponents, Allied and RS to have a seat at the table with other global distribution and manufacturing leaders to solve problems and advance our industry.”

“We are excited to work alongside our distributor peers and suppliers as ECIA tackles critical industry issues and global technical standards,” said Bradley. “This is an excellent opportunity to focus our collective power on customer-facing challenges we can solve together.”

Read More


Product News

  • Prev
Introducing Eaton’s Pow-R-Line CS switchboard, the most compact, expandable, service entrance and ...
Add or remove switchboard structures according to your construction needs, such as the main ...
Many manufacturers use time-consuming and potentially dangerous manual processes to inspect servo ...
A new module for bending angle measurement is now available for the camera-based protection system ...
HPS Drive Isolation Transformers, are designed to meet the rugged demands of both AC and DC ...
The VS-AVT-C08-L10 VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester is the first-of-its-kind voltage tester that ...
SIMATIC HMI Comfort Panels are designed for implementation of high-performance visualization ...
As a leading manufacturer of drive technology, we also supply mechanical variable-speed gearmotors. ...
The Single Phase ODP motor is designed for applications requiring high starting torque. Some ...
Bender, a manufacturer of electrical safety products worldwide, has recently released a new ...

New Product


The second generation of safety light curtains, PSENopt II, provide safe access to the production process and provide finger, hand and body protection, depending on the requirement. The first Type 3 safety light curtains are specifically designed for applications up to PL d of EN/IEC 61496-1. Type 4 light curtains are also available for applications up to PL e of EN/IEC 61496-1/-2.

As the units are so robust, PSENopt II sensors provide protection against shock, collision and vibration and so are suitable for use in rugged industrial environments. The operator can evaluate the essential causes and system defects responsible for the machine stop by means of the LEDs. Downtimes are reduced as a result.

The safety light curtains are available in lengths from 150 mm to 1800 mm. In combination with the configurable control system PNOZmulti 2 you have a safe, complete, one-stop solution. Compatible accessories range from installation assistance through to mirror columns.

New: Accessory for the light curtain PSENopt II to prevent restart

With our new accessory PSENopt II lockout for the PSENopt II range of light curtains you can prevent the machine restarting. This is necessary, for example, when carrying out maintenance work within the danger zone. PSENopt II lockout consists of an assembly unit that is attached to the side of the light curtain like a swivel arm. If the danger zone is accessed, the swivel arm can be folded out in front of the light curtain’s field of vision and fitted with a lock. As a result the light curtain no longer has a free field of vision, so start up is prevented.

Read More


Latest News

  • Prev
Machine safety is one of the most important requirements in factory automation and it can also be ...
Allied Electronics & Automation has strengthened its robust roster of more than 500 world-class ...
Keeping workers safe and keeping the production line going may seem contradictory, but in most ...
The design of HVAC systems poses unique challenges for things like motor control and circuit ...
ABB has provided electrification, connected control and operations management systems, ...
With interest in driverless cars increasing all the time, and with car manufacturers looking for ...
Tundra was recently excited to announce that they’re now a part of the Wajax Corporation. Be sure ...
In October of 2020, orders in the mechanical and plant engineering sector matched the previous ...
Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil