SA industries can optimise plants, reduce total cost of ownership with new FAG SmartCheck system
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00

Bearings 2000 director Nick Stamatiadis explains that the FAG SmartCheck system utilises advanced technologies and trend-setting functions, in order to ensure that it makes a valuable contribution to optimising processes, and ultimately reducing life cycle cost (LCC) and total cost of ownership (TCO). "Due to its highly competitive price-to-performance ratio, FAG SmartCheck ensures that the online monitoring of small, redundant or non-redundant units - such as electric motors, pumps, compressors, ventilators, fans and gearboxes - becomes cost-efficient for the first time."

Although the FAG SmartCheck resembles a classic vibration sensor at first glance, Bearings 2000 marketing manager Michael Stamatiadis notes that it has considerably better functionality than conventional measuring devices. "In spite of its small dimensions of 44 mm x 58 mm x 45 mm, the intelligent system records not only standard parameters such as vibration and temperature, but also other operating parameters such as pressure or flow rate."

Michael points out that this provides a broad basis of information that enables experts to make a highly accurate assessment of a machine’s condition, thereby contributing to optimising processes and reducing LCC, which includes the acquisition costs and the operating and maintenance costs throughout a machine’s entire service life.

"Customers increasingly demand that manufacturers guarantee the LCC to them. This is only possible if manufacturers know the LCC or are able to assess it as accurately as possible. This becomes feasible with the new FAG SmartCheck, as it already offers numerous options that future machine monitoring schemes cannot be imagined without," he adds.

Despite its wide range of functions and features, Nick notes that the FAG SmartCheck is easy to operate, requiring no expert knowledge. "The scope of delivery includes a number of parameter templates which make the system ready for use immediately. Fundamental operating functions can be carried out by pressing keys, and alarms are visualised by LEDs in the housing."

According to Nick, the compact and cost-efficient FAG SmartCheck system comes standard with more than 20 predefined parameter templates for monitoring various machine aspects such as imbalance, alignment errors, rolling bearings, fans and gearings. "Users who wish to use the parameter templates may access the integrated bearing database, while the templates can be adapted easily to specific monitoring tasks with the help of assistants."

What's more, Michael adds that the FAG SmartCheck system’s alarm thresholds are adjusted automatically, thanks to a patented self-learning mode. "After commissioning, the FAG SmartCheck works autonomously. The relevant machine parameters are recorded and saved continuously in the system. In this way a substantial database of history data is created over time."

Users can access the FAG SmartCheck’s web server via a standard internet browser to configure the system and visualise the latest data in real time. The recorded data can be retrieved directly via the FAG SmartCheck’s Ethernet interface, and can also be analysed using the analysis software that is included in the scope of delivery.

Michael notes that the new FAG SmartCheck system offers a number of different expansion options. "Both the number of sensors and the level of system integration can be adapted, depending on the customer's specific requirements. If, for example, a user wishes to include additional parameters into the analysis, the recorded data can be transmitted to a control unit or control station via TCP/IP or user specific RS 485 protocols, instead of being retrieved locally at the machine itself. In addition, users can retrieve and analyse data from other locations via remote link."

As an authorised distributor of Schaeffler Group brands such as FAG, Nick points out that Bearings 2000 offers a unique range of services for local FAG SmartCheck users. "Value-added services range from initial training courses and expert support during the introduction stage, to diagnosis related questions and customised service contracts. These services were developed on the basis of an exact knowledge of customer requirements, and ultimately aim to optimise plants and processes, while helping to minimise the LCC and TCO of machines and plants," he concludes.