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A new smart and safe way to monitor powertrain equipment in hazardous areas

30 January 2020

Operators can carry out remote real-time health checks on powertrain equipment in hazardous areas with ABB Ability Smart Sensors that offer improved analytics, functionality and communications.

ABB will launch its Smart Sensor for rotating machines operating in hazardous areas at Hannover Messe 2020. It further extends the existing scope of applications for ABB Smart Sensors with a new generation design for powertrains in hazardous areas. Chemical and oil and gas customers can now benefit from cost-efficient condition monitoring in a wide variety of applications.

The wireless smart sensor monitors key parameters to provide detailed insights into the performance and health of assets such as motors and pumps. Equipment installed in difficult or dangerous to access locations can be safely monitored from a distance. Combining connectivity and data analytics means operators can plan their maintenance activities in advance, reduce downtime and extend equipment lifetime.

“Our new generation of smart sensors provide high quality data to enable ABB’s advanced analytics to be used in hazardous areas,” says Teijo Kärnä, Global Product Manager, ABB Ability Smart Sensor. “These smart sensors are more sensitive which allows customers to see problems earlier. They also offer more monitoring capabilities, a broader communication range and exceptional battery life.”

This sensor offers a battery life of up to three times longer than most competing designs. It is sealed for life, with an IP66/67 rating, and can be mounted directly to the equipment in a matter of minutes using a simple mounting bracket.

The sensor communicates with smartphones, tablets, PCs and plant gateways using low energy Bluetooth or WirelessHART. A new antenna design has extended its range by a factor of three to four, meaning that reliable communication over distances of a few hundred meters (line of sight) is now possible.

Another crucial upgrade is that the sensors have greater sensitivity to small changes in the condition of the equipment, including advanced warning of bearing damage. This capability to generate a much wider range of data is matched with state-of-the-art integrated electronics that incorporate advanced algorithms based on ABB’s vast experience in electric motors. This helps operators and maintenance teams produce insightful information to predict potential failure, enabling remedial action to be taken before a breakdown occurs.

The Smart Sensor is currently completing certification for hazardous areas – ATEX, IECEx and NEC. Other certificates will follow over the coming year.


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Drives and Controls 2020