Page 63 - 2021 High-Reliability, Harsh Environment Connectivity eBook
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Five Sensor Technologies That Keep Machinery Running Smoothly in Harsh Industrial Environments
Devin Brock, Product Knowledge and Training Manager, Sensor Solutions, TE Connectivity
Sensors have played a critical role within industrial factory floor applications for years. However, as factories are becoming more autonomous and IoT ready, the requirements for sensors are becoming more demanding. The latest sensor developments are being influenced by IoT trends including miniaturization, digitization, sensor fusion, lower power, and the integration of wireless communication technologies. Implementing these sensor trends while also enabling sensors to withstand the harsh environments often found on factory floors has proven to be challenging, but it is achievable with the right materials and designs. Accurate and reliable sensor data is important since reducing machine downtime in industrial applications is a critical consideration in terms of customer experience and profitability in IIoT applications.
Condition monitoring systems are designed to determine if equipment is operating correctly and identify when it is starting to degrade. Typically, an assessment is performed to identify important equipment as well as common failure modes. That information can then be used to select sensors to monitor specific components of the equipment and provide the data necessary to determine potential machine degradation and failure modes. Whether it is an accelerometer monitoring high-frequency vibrations in a piece of rotating machinery or a temperature sensor detecting an overheating condition in a motor bearing, it is critical to select the proper sensor technology to monitor and detect potential failure modes to ensure increased uptime of critical equipment on the factory floor. Vibration, fluid property, pressure, temperature, humidity, speed, and position sensors can all play a critical role in industrial applications. These industrial sensors, along with the right analytics, can help reduce downtime by predicting machine failures, increasing productivity, lowering maintenance costs, and improving worker safety.
The following five sensor technologies are key to achieving reduced downtime for critical machinery in harsh industrial operating environments.
Vibration Sensors
For industrial machinery, abnormal vibration is a leading indicator that maintenance is required. Each piece of equipment has its own unique vibration signature for normal operation. Accelerometers can monitor both the magnitude and frequency of equipment vibration. Increases in the magnitude of vibration or vibrations that occur at higher or different frequencies will indicate a change in equipment’s vibration signature. Vibration information can be used to determine

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