Industrial coatings producer Transcontinental Advanced Coatings has successfully piloted ABB Ability Condition Monitoring on critical equipment at its UK facility. The manufacturer used the pilot project to enhance the existing predictive maintenance regime on a critical oxidizer process that cleans the air before it’s released to the atmosphere.
ABB Ability Smart Sensors – fitted to the motors and mounted bearings that operate on the oxidizer’s two fans – collect and analyse data to monitor performance. The system alarms if pre-defined limits for parameters such as temperature and vibration are exceeded. This enables preventive maintenance to be carried out before problems occur.
Transcontinental Advanced Coatings – based in Wrexham, North Wales, UK, and Matthews, North Carolina, United States – makes precision coated papers, films and specialty substrates for digital imaging, electronics, medical and optical technologies. Based on the success of the pilot project, the company will extend the remote condition monitoring solution to an entire production line in its Wrexham facility.
“Our overall goal is zero downtime. ABB Ability Condition Monitoring ensures we can identify equipment issues early on – before they happen – and take action to prevent breakdowns from occurring,” says Dr Keith Vidamour, engineering manager for the Transcontinental Advanced Coatings North Wales plant. “Conducting maintenance as needed rather than on a fixed schedule will help us improve reliability and process control.”
Previously, the company relied on monthly manual monitoring of the fans’ motors and bearings using thermal imaging, oil sampling, and vibration analysis. These tests were only a snapshot of the condition of the process rather than a continuous real-time picture. The results also relied on an individual engineer’s interpretation.
“We are keen to move to a more objective, more data-based condition monitoring regime,” says Dr Vidamour. “We are now monitoring additional parameters and have access to far more objective information than ever.”
The second phase of the project will use multiple smart sensors to remotely monitor the motors and bearings throughout a process, together with up to four Bluetooth gateways connecting with ABB’s secure server. Ultimately, the company will roll out the solution across its global platform.
“Transcontinental Advanced Coatings wanted to prove that the condition of critical machinery could be remotely monitored,” says Derek Robinson, ABB’s key account manager for High- and Low-Voltage Motors. “The successful trial proved they could significantly improve overall maintenance efficiency. The company’s decision to continue to add additional ABB Ability Smart Sensor technology will give it a real competitive edge.”