Questions and Answers
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What is the equipment condition monitoring?
Equipment condition monitoring is a set of activities includes evaluation of equipment technical condition, localisation of faults and their prediction. The main tasks of condition monitoring are to ensure the safety of production processes, increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of equipment operation, maintenance, and repair, and reduce losses from forced downtime (due to unpredictable failures and subsequent repairs). Equipment condition monitoring is included in the group of activities to maintain equipment in a good technical condition, and also helps to increase its residual life and overall reliability significantly.
What is vibration-based condition monitoring of equipment and why is it needed?
Vibration-based condition monitoring is a method for evaluation the technical condition of machines and mechanisms, based on the analysis of the vibration signal generated by their operating and/or operating of their components. On industrial enterprise, vibration-based condition monitoring solves a number of important tasks, such as in-depth condition monitoring and prediction, identification and classification of defects and predictive maintenance reporting.
What is VibroBox?
One of the most common problems in the industry is access to the equipment condition data when it is necessary. VibroBox is a universal scalable service that allows you to solve the tasks the equipment condition monitoring and fail prediction by gathering, processing and analysing of vibrational signals and telemetry data. VibroBox usage will help you to maintain equipment in proper technical condition and to increase its residual life and overall reliability significantly.
How does VibroBox work now?
VibroBox was developed taking into account the concept of “Industry 4.0” and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). To solve tasks of in-depth condition monitoring VibroBox uses cloud-based data storing and processing systems, wavelet analysis, creating proper bases, algorithms of fuzzy logic, and more, etc. VibroBox receives initial data from sensors placed directly on the functioning equipment or from process control systems. As initial data, not only vibrational signals are used, but also integral values (e.g. temperature or motors current consumption), and their accumulation allows not only increasing the pool of diagnostic data but also expanding the scope of VibroBox implementation (e.g. process control).
Finally, VibroBox does the equipment condition monitoring and predictive maintenance reporting based on the results of analysis. These reports are accessible through the user’s personal account interface and also may be submitted to enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP) through VibroBox API (Application Programming Interface).
Moreover, VibroBox allows using the vibration sensors and microphones built into mobile platforms (in particular — smartphones and laptops) as initial data sources. In many cases, the condition monitoring of equipment under the scenario “attach the smartphone to the equipment, record the vibrational and acoustic signals; Transfer them to the VibroBox service; Get and view the condition monitoring report on the smartphone screen“ gives a fairly informative result.
I have all my equipment working perfectly. Why do I need VibroBox?
The new equipment works correctly for a while even without any care. A set of activities is carried out to maintain it in the best condition (including its maintenance and condition monitoring). In the classic scenario, this set includes, among other things, some preventive actions aimed at anticipating the occurrence of accidents and faults caused, in particular, by natural wear out. These activities are associated with regular and significant expenses for spare parts, consumables, and equipment, as well as unavoidable downtime for equipment maintenance. At the same time, carrying out these activities is not a guarantee against the occurrence of unpredictable failures and accidents because it does not provide in-time information about the developing of defects and equipment wearing out.
VibroBox usage, which provides operational data about the condition of mechanicals and gives its fails prediction, allows to significantly reduce the costs of operation and maintenance of equipment, including:
- to prevent emergencies and unplanned downtime of equipment;
- to significantly increase the residual life of your equipment and its overall reliability due to timely maintenance;
- to increase the inter-maintenance intervals by moving from preventive to condition-based (CBM) and predictive maintenance (PdM). In this case, the production equipment receives in-time maintenance not by fixed schedule, but namely when it is needed (e.g. replacement of wearing out parts, lubricants);
- to release resources previously engaged in excessive operational control and maintenance of equipment. In this way, the principles of manufacturer resource management will completely transform due to the usage of the most effective ways of equipment maintenance and prediction of its downtime;
- to automate and optimise a number of production and business processes by integration of equipment condition monitoring system in enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP).
Why was VibroBox created, if there are a lot of industrial vibration-based condition monitoring systems, experts and outsource teams in this field?
Yes, there are some vibration-based condition monitoring systems (usually stationary), which can work in automatic mode for specific industrial equipment operating in particular operating modes. The introduction of such system implies a long stage of research work with all existing equipment configurations and operating modes. But this approach does not work with significant changes in the modes of equipment operation (beyond the operating modes studied during the “training period” of the condition monitoring system) or when equipment is completely replaced.
It is possible to solve the tasks of vibration-based condition monitoring in order to obtain flexible and freely scalable systems, but it is extremely costly. Here are the main problems of modern vibration-based condition monitoring systems development in this context:
- high threshold of implementation — both organisational and financial;
- costly training, motivation, control and low continuity of experts team experience;
- expensive procurement and maintenance of operational condition of vibration-based condition monitoring tools;
- technical and organisational obstacles to systems scaling;
- problems of integration with enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP).
VibroBox is the condition monitoring service that solves the problem of automatic assessment of the technical condition of industrial equipment without the creation of highly specialized stationary systems and without conducting preliminary research work by the team of experts “on-site”. This is possible due to the optimal use of modern algorithms of digital signal processing and machine learning and turns vibration-based condition monitoring into a scalable service.
What are the benefits of using vibration diagnostics and condition monitoring as online service?
Recorded and collected vibration signals and telemetry data are processed remotely using powerful cloud computing and cloud storage technologies. At the same time, condition monitoring and diagnostics results are accessible from any using stationary or portable general-purpose devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet PC, etc.).
What is the Industrial Internet of Things and “Industry 4.0”?
“Industry 4.0” is a term that describes the European initiative for mass introduction of “cyber-physical systems” in production processes and enterprise management system, which should lead the industry to the fourth industrial revolution. In 2014 the United States followed the lead of Germany and created a non-commercial consortium for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which is led by such industry leaders as General Electric, AT&T, IBM, and Intel. The industrial Internet of things is the concept of infocommunication infrastructures creation, involving the integration of various devices and systems (such as sensors, equipment, technological and business process control systems) through the global information network usage. It leads to the new one’s Business models of goods and services creating, as well as their delivering to consumers.
What is the relationship between VibroBox and the Industrial Internet of Things and “Industry 4.0”?
Equipment, which is operating as part of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and “Industry 4.0” must be able to report on its self-identified issues and required technical maintenance to the enterprise management system by usage of built-in or pre-installed fully automated vibration-based condition monitoring systems (CMS). In this way, the enterprise management system receives initial data for equipment maintenance planning directly from CMS. Based on CMS reports it checks for the availability of essential parts at the warehouse, makes orders if necessary, finds the window in the technological process and generates the request for on-the-spot and timely service (without prolonged stoppages, complete assembly-disassembly of the equipment for troubleshooting, etc.).
Moreover, the task of objective technical condition monitoring of equipment is shifted towards equipment manufacturers and encourages them to supply their products with built-in automatic systems for online vibration-based condition monitoring. In-built online vibration-based condition monitoring systems allow the manufacturer to keep an eye on operation of their equipment. This way, the manufacturer knows exactly how and why their equipment failed. The condition monitoring system gives timely recommendations for equipment technical maintenance events (for example, replacing the dirty lubricant), which enables us to use this equipment with maximum efficiency by reducing the impact of the factors that shorten the equipment residual life. When something wears out and fails, the manufacturer gets an opportunity in advance to prepare spare parts and materials, as well as plan for repairs without causing harm to the production process. And most importantly, the manufacturer controls the operation of the equipment during the warranty period, knows the conditions and modes of operation and can clearly distinguish a warranty case from a non-warranty one and justify it with an evidence-based database.
VibroBox was developed taking into account the concepts of “Industry 4.0” and the Industrial Internet of Things. It is the service that operates on the basis of cloud technologies and receives initial data (vibration signals and telemetry data) from sensors placed directly on the functioning equipment or from process control systems. Data transmission is carried out through any available channels of the global information network.
What are the prospects for the development of VibroBox?
VibroBox was developed in accordance to concepts of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and “Industry 4.0”. This is a strong foundation for integration with the global platform integrators of IIoT solutions, the largest of which are General Electric and Microsoft with the Predix platform for Industrial Internet, SAP with SAP Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things and Intel with its Intel IoT Platform.
Also, the potential built into the VibroBox service architecture is high: it is built such a way as to provide maximum flexibility and upgradeability of condition monitoring service without radical modification of its algorithms modules. At the same time, the service is based on the usage of the latest and progressive methods of machine learning and fuzzy logic, which makes VibroBox an extremely flexible system capable of independently learning on each day’s data.
Where can I read more about your technology?
We have put a lot of effort and published a detailed description of our technology on our website.
Where can I find detailed specifications of your sensors? Are there any Data sheets?
You can read about the sensors used in the VibroBox in the “Technology” section on our website.
What is new in your project in comparison with the achievements of the “classical” vibration-based condition monitoring?
VibroBox uses the experience gained in the field of classical vibration-based condition monitoring. However, VibroBox uses its own signal filtering algorithms, its own database, as well as its own neural network, which allows for most effective defects classification.
How long have you been developing VibroBox?
Dr. Davydov graduated from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR) in 2002 with a degree in “Radio Engineering Systems” of the Radio Engineering and Electronics Department, after which he entered post-graduate studies. His thesis titled “Ball bearing qualimetry system based on vibration signal analysis” was dedicated to promising methods of vibration signal analysis and was done in close cooperation with the testing laboratory of the Minsk Bearing Plant and the “Podshipnik” Research Institute. The defense of the thesis was held in 2006 in the Doctoral Council for Defending Dissertations D 02.05.13 at the Belarusian National Technical University.
Later on, Igor was engaged in the research, development, and adoption of decision-making systems based on machine learning and digital signal processing, designed among other things for condition monitoring of industrial equipment.
In 2008, his work “Software and hardware complex for evaluating of technical condition of mechanical engineering products” was presented at a number of international exhibitions and forums. The project was awarded the diploma of the 8th Moscow International Salon of Innovations and Investments, silver medals of the International Exhibition of Inventions and New Technologies “New Time” (Moscow, 2008) and 13th International Exhibition and Congress “High Technologies. Innovation. Investments” (St. Petersburg, 2008).
In 2016, Igor, together with Alexander Borsuk, co-founder of the MAPS.ME, have joined forces to bring the VibroBox project to the stage of implementation into commercial operation. Since then, the team of engineers-researchers on digital signal processing, IT-developers and experts in the design and operation of industrial systems joins the project, and VibroBox passes to the new stage of development — as an online service of condition monitoring of industrial equipment.
Where is VibroBox equipment manufactured?
VibroBox equipment is manufactured by our company in Minsk.
Where is the VibroBox team from?
Our engineering and scientific team works in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
What kind of specialists do you need? How to get to your team?
If you are experienced vibration-based condition monitoring specialist, data-scientist and/or excellent specialist in digital signal processing — write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does VibroBox work?
To evaluate the technical condition of the equipment, VibroBox analyses vibration and acoustic signals, temperature, and other telemetry data. The signals are gathered by specialised sensors, which characteristics completely satisfy the strictest requirements for quality and completeness of gathered telemetry data.
Sources of vibration signals and other telemetry data give initial data to VibroBox operating as cloud service via a global information network. It is the vibration or acoustic signal, temperature and other necessary telemetry data.
VibroBox algorithms are responsible for processing incoming data, giving equipment condition monitoring reports, as well as predictive maintenance reports. The functioning of the key VibroBox algorithms is based on the neural network and fuzzy logic usage.
Detailed results, status reports, and recommendations are accessible through the user’s personal account interface, or automatically delivered to your enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP) or delivered via preconfigured means of communication (SMS, e-mail, etc.).
How can I understand with VibroBox what is wrong with my equipment? What to connect and where to look?
VibroBox performs condition monitoring by processing of signals that gathered by sensors installed on (or built into) the equipment. Also, VibroBox supports usage of sensors from several manufacturers (in particular, Bernecker + Rainer (B&R) and SKF)). If your equipment does not have built-in sensors suitable for VibroBox service, it is possible to install VibroBox sensors that are supplied in full factory readiness and do not require additional maintenance and adjustment.
After VibroBox starts receiving telemetry data from your equipment, there is no need for periodic maintenance of the sensors, their adjustment and switching on/off by user itself — our condition monitoring system and all its sensors work in a fully automatic mode. It is enough for you to respond to detailed reports accessible through the user’s personal account interface, or automatically delivered to your enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP) or delivered via preconfigured means of communication (SMS, e-mail, etc.).
What defects and fails VibroBox can predict and diagnose?
VibroBox for decision-making uses a classifier that includes a large number of specified defects of equipment mechanical components, including:
- imbalance, misalignment, skewing, loosening of rotating assemblies fastenings and equipment elements (shafts, flywheels, rotors, hulls, etc.);
- wearing out, damage (shells, chips, cracks, production, etc.), production defects, bodies (surfaces) of structural elements coming into contact — such as bearing elements;
- cracking, chipping and wearing out, production faults, non-precisions and pitting of gear teeth, worms and other transmissions and drives elements;
- defects in the lubricating film (contamination, forcing, etc.);
- cavitation and turbulence of the flow in pumps.
At the same time, VibroBox is independently trained due to the methods of machine learning used for processing continuously coming data from the widest range of equipment. Thus, the reliability of the condition monitoring reports provided to the user is constantly growing, and no user involvement is required in this process.
Is it possible to prevent a failure or an accident using VibroBox? How can I do it?
VibroBox performs condition monitoring by processing of signals that gathered by sensors installed on (or built into) the equipment. After VibroBox begins to receive telemetry data, it starts to operate in a fully automatic mode, continuously detecting and classifying developing states of monitored equipment. On the basis of collected results of continuous condition monitoring, VibroBox generates and constantly updates the predictions of мalfunction states caused by wearing out and other processes. This actually makes the equipment wear out by a controlled process, which in turn makes it possible not only to reduce the probability of unpredictable accidents and downtime but also to significantly increase the equipment residual life and its overall reliability. To do this, you just need to properly respond to detailed condition monitoring and predictive maintenance reports are accessible through the user’s personal account interface, or automatically delivered to your enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP), or delivered via preconfigured means of communication (SMS, e-mail, other). Proper response at obtained information means primarily the analysis of reports and the elimination of diagnosed malfunctions that represent a significant threat. The benefits will also bring the analysis of the recommendations offered by VibroBox.
What equipment can be diagnosed with VibroBox?
VibroBox service allows to diagnose the equipment with rotary components (electric motors, turbines, etc.).
Is there an opportunity to improve and develop the VibroBox service? How does this happen? What should a user do for this?
VibroBox is an extremely flexible and dynamically developing service. The main advantage of the VibroBox concept is that no any user participation in its configuration, functioning and improvement is required. VibroBox is the system that operates on the basis of cloud technologies: its development and constant improvement is carried out online by highly qualified specialists of the VibroBox team. At the same time, VibroBox uses the newest methods of machine learning, which makes it the extremely flexible service that can independently learn on the data being taken every day.
As a user you will notice that VibroBox become better and better. And you can always help us by suggesting new features and pointing to any existing bugs.
Does Vibrobox use sensors to get initial data? Can I use VibroBox without them?
VibroBox is a service that operates on the basis of cloud technologies and gathers initial data from sensors placed directly on the functioning equipment or from process control systems. As initial data, not only vibrational signals can be used but also integrated values (such as temperature and current consumption of motors).
Moreover, VibroBox supports vibration sensors and microphones built into mobile platforms (in particular — smartphones and laptops) as initial data sources. Thus, data that comes from sensors both directly or indirectly (for example, via mobile platforms), from CMMS or from any other data storage is suitable for VibroBox operation (if its minimum technical requirements are met).
Are VibroBox sensors approved for working in explosive and fire hazardous environments?
VibroBox supports the connection of sensors from a number of manufacturers (in particular, Bernecker + Rainer (B&R) и SKF), among which some sensors can be used in applications with various categories of explosion, fire and other hazards.
Where else, except for industrial equipment, I can use VibroBox?
The scope of VibroBox usage is not limited by industrial equipment only. At the moment (May 2017), in addition to industrial factories, railway locomotives service company and trucks operator are also interested in our project.
There is another interesting opportunity: VibroBox works with vibroacoustic signals from different sources: smartphones, tablet computers or pre-recorded vibroacoustic signals from external microphones. For these purposes, our team has developed applications for Android and iPhone platforms. These apps not only transfer data into the cloud, but also provide meaningful and detailed condition monitoring reports.
Do you have non-contact sensors?
Non-contact acquisition of telemetry data for processing by VibroBox is possible using acoustic sensors (for example, microphones built into mobile platforms).
How much does the VibroBox sensor cost?
The price depends on the number and conditions of your task. In some cases, we provide sensors for free. Write us at email@example.com and we will be pleased to answer you.
How much does the VibroBox service for the end user cost?
The cost of service by VibroBox strongly depends on the specific conditions of use. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, attaching a brief description of your equipment if possible, and we will be happy to contact you.
What are you need to do to start diagnosing your equipment?
VibroBox performs condition monitoring by processing of signals that gathered by sensors installed on (or built into) the equipment. Also, VibroBox supports sensors from a number of manufacturers (in particular, Bernecker + Rainer (B&R) and SKF). If your equipment does not have any built-in data gathering sensors suitable for VibroBox, it is possible to install VibroBox sensors that are supplied in full factory readiness and do not require additional maintenance and adjustment.
After VibroBox starts receiving telemetry data from your equipment, there is no need for periodic maintenance of the sensors, their adjustment and switching on/off by the user itself — our condition monitoring system and all its sensors work in a fully automatic mode. It is enough for you to take into account detailed reports accessible through the user’s personal account interface, or automatically submitted to your enterprise management systems (CMMS, MES, ERP) or submitted via preconfigured means of communication (SMS, e-mail, etc.). Proper response on obtained information means primarily the analysis of reports and the elimination of diagnosed malfunctions that represent a significant threat. The benefits will also bring the analysis of the recommendations offered by VibroBox.
What are you need to do to make VibroBox begin to benefit you?
In order for VibroBox get started to benefiting the user, it is sufficient to start using it and to take in account detailed condition monitoring reports issued by the VibroBox. Proper response at obtained reports means primarily their analysis and the elimination of diagnosed malfunctions that represent a significant threat. Benefits will also come from the analysis of the recommendations offered by the service. All of this in scope will make the equipment wear out by a controlled process, which in turn makes it possible not only to reduce the probability of unpredictable accidents and downtime but also to significantly increase the equipment residual life and its overall reliability.
Can I come to your office to see the project “live”?
Come to visit, we will be happy. Addresses and contacts are on our website.
Is it possible to purchase sensors (telemetry system) separately from the VibroBox service?
Theoretically, it is possible (although it is not clear what for?). Write us at email@example.com, and we will discuss it.
Can I use my sensors to work with the VibroBox service?
Yes, access to VibroBox service using the user’s sensors is possible. Now VibroBox works with typical sensors from some manufacturers (in particular, Bernecker + Rainer (B&R) и SKF), such as accelerometers with built-in ICP (IEPE) electronics. In order to provide an acceptable level of reliability of received condition monitoring reports, the sensors used for the gathering of telemetry data should match the minimum technical specification.
Can VibroBox provide service without its sensors (its telemetry system) usage?
Yes, access to VibroBox service without its sensors (its telemetry system) usage is possible. Now VibroBox works with typical sensors from some manufacturers (in particular, Bernecker + Rainer (B&R) и SKF), such as accelerometers with built-in ICP (IEPE) electronics. In order to provide an acceptable level of reliability of received condition monitoring reports, the sensors used for the gathering of telemetry data should match the minimum technical specification.