The ABB Ability Smart Sensor provides data for the predictive maintenance of low voltage motors. In cooperation with Egger, a Swiss producer of pumps, ABB now also further develops the industry's leading solution to remotely monitor pumps.
The medium-sized pump manufacturer Egger has a reputation for innovation. Always in quest of potential improvements, soon the ABB Ability Smart Sensor caught the attention of the company based in Cressier, Switzerland. This solution, developed by ABB in 2016, revolutionized the maintenance logistics of motors by enabling the owners to detect problems early due to remote monitoring. This meant that maintenance work could be carried out preventively for the first time and, thus, downtime could be drastically reduced.
Operators of wastewater plants face very similar challenges. Pumps normally fail without warning. To prevent clogging and other inherent issues, they must be checked at least once a week, which is tedious and time-consuming.
If smart sensors can monitor motors predictively, why shouldn't they be able to provide the same valuable services for pumps, was the idea of those responsible at Egger, and they contacted ABB. The developers there gladly took up the challenge. Both companies decided jointly to develop a new smart sensor tailored to the specific needs of pumps.
With the expertise of engineers and scientists from both ABB and Egger they were able to quickly achieve the desired result. Using their reliable hardware, the motor sensors were adapted such that they now can also provide readout values on pump speed, overall vibrations, unbalance, cavitation (formation of vapour bubbles in fluids), and clogging. To achieve this, ABB used the scientific expertise of employees in Germany, India, the USA, and Switzerland. In return, Egger provided easy access to German and Swiss end customers, whose input helped to develop data analytics that meet the requirements.
The first tests were carried out at Egger's test facilities in Cressier at the end of July 2017 and they proved satisfactory. Meanwhile, ABB has delivered the first prototypes to enable testing in a real-world environment. In these pilot installations, the whole digital background of the ABB Ability Smart Sensor technology is already being used: health indicators and key performance indicators are not only gathered but also sent to the ABB Ability Cloud through a gateway. The pump operators can read the data via an app on their smartphone or in a browser. ABB and specialized partner companies will carry out further analyses in the cloud to detect tendencies and to be able to run cloud-based services in the future.
The ABB Ability Smart Sensor was initially presented at Hannover Fair in 2016. Since then, the innovative technology has proven successful in plants of every type throughout the world: using predictive maintenance, downtime could be reduced by as much as 70 percent, motor lifetime extended by up to 30 percent, and energy consumption reduced by up to 10 percent.