Condition-based maintenance is replacing preventive maintenance in many industrial operations as a result of gains in productivity. Preventive maintenance is strictly time-based which means that as long as the prescribed time is sufficiently short, failures are prevented. The trade-offs between shorter cycles and increased downtime is a fine balancing act.
Condition-based maintenance is gaining momentum as the more cost-effective and green solution to finding the optimal maintenance cycle and improving overall productivity. In the many industries, such as mining, oil and gas, and power generation, various parameters of heavy equipment are monitored continuously to provide feedback for maintenance events. However, strain, shock, and vibration, key factors which lead to yielding and fatigue of metal parts, are not generally monitored by built-in systems, mainly due to the complexity of sensor installation and computational intensity of data processing. Scanimetrics has developed a stand-alone, add-on wireless system for measuring strain, shock, and vibration in heavy equipment and components, the data from which can be directly used to trigger maintenance events.
The present system is being deployed in oil sands mining equipment, coil tubing drilling pipe, and power generation equipment. The system consists of a portable display and control unit, a software platform consisting of data management, sensor instrumentation and data analysis, and wireless strain sensor units, which can be easily installed on equipment. Data from the sensors can be gathered throughout the mine site, processed instantly, and used to generate condition-based maintenance events, improving overall uptime of the equipment and overall productivity of the mining operation.