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Smart sensor for low voltage motors arrives in the UK

22 June 2017

A new smart sensing solution from ABB can reduce downtimes of low-voltage motors by up to 70 percent, extend motor lifetime by as much as 30 percent and cut energy consumption by up to 10 percent.

A device that cost efficiently monitors the condition of low voltage (LV) motors to increase their performance, efficiency, reliability and lifespan is now available in the UK.

The ABB AbilityM Smart Sensor for motors is a pocket-sized device that is retrofitted to the frame of LV induction motors. Installation of the sensor module is made easy as no additional wiring is required. The sensors are available not only for motors made by ABB but also for non-ABB motors.

The device picks up data on vibration, temperature and other parameters. On-board algorithms, based on ABB’s decades of motor expertise, interpret these parameters and relays information about the motor’s health, via a smartphone and over the internet, to a secure, cloud-based server. By providing meaningful information on motor condition and performance, the service will enable users to plan their maintenance according to actual needs rather than on the basis of time intervals or operating hours alone. This will reduce maintenance costs and enable the plant to cut or even eliminate unplanned stops.

By converting regular LV motors into intelligent, connected machines, the solution enables advanced maintenance planning that will help businesses to cut costs and boost productivity. Predictive analytics based on data from the solution can reduce downtime by up to 70 percent, extend motor lifetime by as much as 30 percent and cut energy consumption by up to 10 percent. 

“This solution is truly a quantum leap for millions of LV motors,” says Derek Robinson of ABB’s UK motors business. “It enables plant operators to deliver effective maintenance planning for their motors, assess the efficiency of their operation and prevent costly downtimes. We are confident that this solution will not only transform the maintenance approaches but also create added operational value for our customers.”

The smart sensor is available to purchase from ABB direct or from one of its ABB authorised value providers. Once purchased, users can use the app, which is available for iOS or Android, to track and monitor the motor. It also gives access to the portal, the scope of which depends on whether the maintenance package (which contains everything needed for normal plant upkeep) or the analyst package (offers everything required to optimize a plant) is purchased.

The sensors in the first release will be CE certified and compatible with safe-area induction motors for direct on-line S1 duty, ABB IEC sizes 160-450 and ABB NEMA sizes 140-449. Initial monitoring functionality will cover bearing health, vibration, surface temperature, speed, supply frequency, and number of starts. Later releases will expand the range of functionality, and energy consumption monitoring is expected to be added later in 2017. Already installed sensor units will adopt these features by a firmware update. The first systems will utilise a smartphone app to transfer data. A Bluetooth gateway unit for data uploading will become available later in 2017.

The smart sensor condition monitoring solution is part of ABB Ability, which brings together all of ABB’s digital solutions and services, each built from a combination of sector knowledge, technology leadership and digital expertise. 

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