Wednesday 8th Jul, 2020

Medusa’s gaze turns to conveyor components

Precision maintenance company ThermAlign has unveiled the Medusa, a portable monitoring system designed to find and stop faulty components in their tracks.

Precision maintenance company ThermAlign has unveiled the Medusa, a portable monitoring system designed to find and stop faulty components in their tracks.

Thousands of components are used in large-scale bulk handling systems, each of which has its own function within the parent assembly.

If one of these components is to fail, it can result in massive flow-on effects for an operation’s overall productivity.

However, in a maze of moving parts, finding the culprit can be harder than it sounds.

“Anything mechanical that moves has the capacity to break, whether it’s in a conveyor, excavator, gearbox or superstructure” says Scott Henderson, Director of service and consultation company ThermAlign.

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ThermAlign started in 2014 off the back of a large company that worked closely with the British military, providing precision maintenance for helicopters. The company, based in Melbourne and made up of staff that wanted to transition to the bulk handling sector and away from reactive maintenance, offers the same services for other types of complex machinery.

Typically, ThermAlign staff will begin consultation with a client to first define the problem then determine its potential causes, the risk it poses to the organisation and the likely sources.

The company will then develop a testing plan to align the analysis to the objective. Once onsite, Thermalign can quickly deploy monitoring equipment such as motion amplification or vibration analysis to find the root causes of the problem.

Henderson says it is critical to fix the root causes, rather than its symptoms.

“For example, if there is part of a structure that keeps cracking, it is best to find out why instead of just fixing the crack itself,” he says.

“If there is a weakness in the structure, we can use our systems to identify what is forcing the crack. In the example, this could be from a pump, fan or gearbox that had been transmitting vibrations through to the structure itself.

To fully utilise the complementary nature of its system, the company has launched a new, portable, online monitoring and diagnostics system called Medusa.

The Medusa processes anywhere from four to 20 sensors at one time and is equipped with an integrated logging dashboard. This means it can provide in-depth analysis of equipment condition on site or remotely.

“Pressure, flow, valve position, temperature, vibration, tension, dial indicators, position sensors, rotation detectors, the Medusa can handle just about any type of input required.  Whatever you’ve got, we’ll look at it,” Henderson explains.

The breadth of information integrated into an online monitoring system helps derive information and insights, improve flexibility for troubleshooting and can allow for in-depth and holistic remote analysis.

One of the most effective times to deploy the Medusa is during the commissioning phase. This is because when installing a new conveyor system, or upgrading an existing one, there are countless ways for something to fail or be affected by the works. If a fault is identified early enough, then it can be managed before it has the chance to begin costing productivity
or profitability.