Embedded condition monitoring : a bit of IIoT for your mobile assets

In the Advent of the Industry 4.0 and connected objects, manufacturers have to deal with new serious challenges. In the transport, building, railway or the marine areas, mobile assets (vehicles, rolling stock, machines …) are the main concern because they are in charge to carry, drive, build or defend.

To manage these assets most effectively in order to offer the best level of service while making savings, is becoming a priority.

Embedded condition monitoring and proactive maintenance

The knowledge of events which can impact mobile assets is mission-critical element in a lot of business areas. Being able to ensure smooth operations during their travel from one point to another is essential.

Embedded condition monitoring involves to monitor in real-time the working status of mobile assets and the conditions in which they are moving, in order to anticipate maintenance operations and to keep them in operational conditions.

To anticipate risks thanks to reliable and accurate data about the asset environment enable to trigger at the best time, proactive maintenance actions in order to:

  • Only rally necessary resources and needs,
  • Avoid damages on the asset and its downtime,
  • Ensure the safety of its passengers,
  • Avoid extra cost for corrective maintenance.

Data on location, vibrations, noise, temperature, acceleration, shocks, humidity are among the key indicators to follow to anticipate failures.

How can we achieve this real-time monitoring and identify key components that can hamper the smooth operation of the mobile asset?

Few questions that find effective answers with IIoT.

Focus on shocks detection and vibrations monitoring

Mobile assets interact with other material systems or are going through an uncertain environment regarding damages or wear that it could generate. Some impacts may be seen belatedly and cause serious failures that may generate high repair costs or cripple an entire activity. Having reliable information at the right time about “strange” events that may impact these mobile assets allows to react and take action as fast as possible to offer the best continuity in operations.

A “strange” event could be a too hard vibration, an impact or a shock at a location which gives little hint in advance of possible obstacles. This event may happen because of a bad interface between the asset and another system or because of a disturbing factor on its travel, etc.

SEQUANTA’s wireless system that learn from reality

To collect accurate data in real-time, from points considered as unreachable, to correlate and analyse information was until recently something out of range. Today technological progress make it possible to deploy systems able to collect data at the nearest of the of the physical phenomenon in terms of space and time. SEQUANTA provides wireless, autonomous, reliable and robust systems that integrate on mobile assets in a low intrusive way: that’s what we mean by embedded technology. Installed in the vicinity of critical points, these systems are able to collect accurate data in real-time and to locate them.

The system is installed on the mobile asset with a sufficient battery life that allows to follow every travel in order to feed the operations monitoring process or the preventive maintenance programming process and to analyse the real conditions of operation.

During the travel the sensor that collect data continuously communicates with a gateway installed on the mobile asset. This gateway collects these data and forward them to a remote storage platform in the Cloud via a 3G cellular network for example.

When the sensor detects a shock, an impact or a vibration beyond the “normal” limit, the information is reported and then stored following the same scheme. The operator is able to compare these data and to analyse them in order to identify if a problem has been detected.

The addition of a GPS module into the system enriches the information with the location of the mobile asset at the moment when the shock or the vibration occurs. This location of events enables to set up alerts and to trigger quick an located interventions.

Dealing with continuous business flows that don’t let margins for failure, industrial manufacturers don’t have the choice. They need to reconcile costs savings, business efficiency and safety. It is a real challenge, not easy to take, unless to go for the appropriate technology. It is the current challenge that the Industry 4.0 is trying to tackle!

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