Equipment & Technology

The Eagle has landed

Acoem has designed a wireless sensor system, called the Eagle, that can accurately predict machine faults before they escalate.

Acoem has designed a wireless sensor system, called the Eagle, that can accurately predict machine faults before they escalate.

There are several reasons why a piece of bulk material handling equipment could vibrate while operating. It could be due to thrum of the gears, a reaction to the material or any number of normal behaviours.

The issue is when equipment vibration deviates from the norm. A bearing hidden within the machinery could become damaged, a shaft might become misaligned, or a fan could become imbalanced.

These small changes can cascade into massive problems, creating unplanned emergency downtime, hampering productivity, and potentially causing additional safety risks for operators.

Michael Roinich, Reliability Solutions Manager at Acoem Australasia, says the company has developed technology that monitors machine vibration to quickly find the root cause.

“Acoem has developed specialised sensors that are mounted onto bulk handling machinery to collect vibration data, which is then uploaded and run through an algorithm,” he says.

“The algorithm then determines what the cause of the problem might be, in conjunction with a vibration analysis specialist.”

The device, called the Eagle, is a wireless sensor that is permanently attached to a piece of machinery and programmed to periodically activate based on individual requirements. The operating conditions, such as speed, power and pressure are considered and translated into trends to be compared.

Reliability and ease of maintenance are core parts of the Eagle’s design. It can withstand harsh mining and industrial environments, and is certified for use in explosive areas. The stainless-steel body with low thermal expansion allows it to operate in temperatures of up to 120 degrees and within corrosive environments.

The Eagle’s battery life has been optimised to provide up to five years of availability under rated operating conditions and with no external source of power supply or maintenance. The battery is inexpensive, interchangeable and easy to change out on site.

What brings all this data together is the Nest i4.0 monitoring software that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide automatic diagnosis of a range of faults found within bulk handling machinery.

Roinich says Acoem’s Accurex AI is as an automated diagnostic tool and can be used to put proactive condition monitoring into anyone’s hands. The Accurex system can also be a time saving filtering tool for expert level analysts.

“Vibration analysis experts are few and far between. We saw this shortage of analysts and developed the platform in response,” he says.

“Nest i4.0 uses easy to understand language, icons and interfaces to present data in an intuitive manner on any enabled device, so that anyone can use it.”

The software outlines what the problem could be, which machine is affected and what the actual fault is in real time, on a single screen. This lets operators make informed decisions for maintenance priorities as soon as possible, helping to avoid costly unplanned downtime.

Roinich says the AI is a useful tool that can help someone with no skills in vibration analysis understand the condition of their machinery with a high level of certainty.

Headquartered in France with offices around the world, Acoem has grown to be a major player in the Australian, European, Asian and American markets. Acoem Australasia will be participating in the Australian Bulk Handling Expo (BULK2021) at stand 4340 to showcase its products such as the Eagle and Nest i4.0.

“The Acoem reliability technology is powerful but at the same time incredibly intuitive when compared to current technologies in the market. This now gives plant operators an easy decision-making tool at all levels,” Roinich says.

With the demand for wireless technologies in the condition monitoring market globally, the Eagle wireless system is a true standout when it comes to useability and technology.

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