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Customised Industry 4.0 packages for a wide range of applications

23 March 2018

Schaeffler now offers OEMs, plant operators and industrial service companies specific Industry 4.0 solution packages that are scalable and that enable machine and equipment availability to be increased and processes to be optimised.

Schaeffler’s Smart EcoSystem provides the IT infrastructure for the integration of smart components, proven visualisation and analysis tools, and digital services. At the Hannover Messe 2018, Schaeffler will present solution packages that are now available for selected industry sectors and business models, as well as new and advanced “enablers” for Industry 4.0 applications.

The broad range of possibilities on offer will be illustrated by four reference projects that Schaeffler has implemented in practice and that demonstrate how the company’s rolling bearings and systems expertise can be utilised in the design and realisation of intelligent maintenance systems and optimised processes.

Electric motors that report their condition to the Cloud

A Dutch industrial service company equips its customers’ machines with SmartCheck units and thus optimises the machine monitoring that it provides by transitioning from regular offline measurements to continuous online measurements. Connecting to the Schaeffler Cloud allows this service provider to take advantage of Schaeffler’s “ConditionAnalyser” digital service, which delivers automated diagnoses of the machines’ condition in the form of clear text messages. “ConditionAnalyser” offers in-depth analysis of the raw signals with true pattern detection, which is based on many years of bearing and vibration analysis expertise possessed by Schaeffler’s engineers that has been integrated into the algorithms that it employs. Mechanical failure of the electric motors is therefore reliably prevented. The transition to using the digital service with SmartCheck hardware means that the service company makes fewer on-site visits to the customer and can plan maintenance work earlier in advance, thus increasing machine efficiency and availability. 

Gearboxes with condition analysis via Cloud-to-Cloud communication

The partnership between Schaeffler and a major gearbox manufacturer has led to a 4.0 solution for the wind power sector. The expert models that were developed by the two partners deliver more precise analyses and predictions of the gearbox’s condition based on the real loads that occur during operation of the wind turbine, while Cloud-to-Cloud communication allows the gearbox manufacturer to integrate the Schaeffler’s knowledge into their system. Schaeffler's Smart EcoSystem is an open, digital platform that allows joint Cloud-to-Cloud solutions to be implemented with customers and partners thanks to its standardised interfaces and encrypted communications via Internet or VPN connection.

Drinking water supply pumps with autonomous monitoring and lubrication

Schaeffler is helping to ensure reliable, fault-free operation at a water supply association using a complete solution that comprises both monitoring and lubrication for the machines that are critical in ensuring a secure supply. To prevent centrifugal pump failures, the water supply association employs a complete solution from Schaeffler that includes a SmartQB condition monitoring system and Concept8 lubricator. The preconfigured SmartQB detects irregularities in the machines’ vibration behaviour, identifies potential causes, and then reports on the findings in clear text. The Concept8 ensures optimum, requirements-based lubrication for the pump bearings. Thanks to Schaeffler’s complete solution, maintenance work can now be scheduled well in advance and maintenance processes can also be optimised.

Storage and distribution centre with reliable material flows

For machinery at logistics centres operated by a major automotive and industrial supplier such as Schaeffler, the dimensions are entirely different but the availability requirements remain the same. In collaboration with a logistics solutions provider, Schaeffler has implemented an intelligent maintenance system for the operationally critical machinery at its newest logistics centre: SmartCheck systems continuously monitor the lift and travel drives in the storage and retrieval systems, lifting stations, and spiral conveyors. Concept8 devices provide autonomous and requirements-based lubrication to the pallet conveyor and in-floor conveyor systems. The integration of the condition data and other central operating parameters into the visualisation shown in the control room means that critical KPIs can be defined and regulated in a targeted manner. Autonomous sub-systems reduce the outlay for manual maintenance tasks and the risk of maintenance measures being carried out incorrectly.

As these reference projects demonstrate, Schaeffler’s Industry 4.0 solution packages are customised to suit their respective applications in drives technology, logistics and communal infrastructure and are configured as modular systems that integrate sensor technology, mechatronics and digital services.


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