‘Smart’ Technologies Enable Continuous Condition Monitoring of Bearings

July 10, 2013
New integrated diagnostic technology can make condition monitoring more widely applicable.

SKF Insight introduces a new “smart” technologies development for integration into new SKF bearings.  This technology enables SKF bearings to communicate their operating conditions continuously with all the intelligence integrated inside the bearing, including self-power, sensors, cables, and data acquisition electronics.  This new integrated diagnostic technology can make condition monitoring more widely applicable, especially in applications where it was previously impractical or impossible.  Ultimately, the technology helps provide greater control over the life cycle of machinery, leading to lower total costs while increasing reliability and machinery uptime.

SKF Insight technology monitors the conditions that can cause bearing damage from the first microscopic effect as it happens, allowing users to take remedial action to avoid increased damage in the bearing and prevent escalation.  Conventional condition monitoring measures parameters such as vibration and temperature, which indicate problems only after bearing damage has occurred.

In addition, by monitoring the load directly on the bearing, SKF Insight technology can measure the load actually experienced by the bearing to determine the direct effect of any changes in operating conditions, which could potentially have an adverse effect on the bearing.

Among key features, SKF Insight includes miniaturization and packaging of sensor technologies to measure critical parameters such as RPM, temperature, velocity, vibration, load, lubrication and others. The “smart” bearings can generate their own power for operation. In addition, intelligent wireless technology packaged inside the bearing enables communication within environments where traditional Wi-Fi cannot operate and the bearings can form a “mesh network” to send information relevant to their condition for analysis.

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