KONTRAC HMI – How it started
Importance of shaft torsion measurement
Often in our daily work, we talk to machine producers about adding more value to their products by integrating it with our monitoring solutions. We always do our best to convince them that there is no risk or danger for their machine and that this will be beneficial for their sales operations.
But this is where we hit the wall. A large majority of the producers tell us something like “this makes my machine more expensive“, “the customer didn’t ask for it“ or “I am not confident that this would work.“ We have even heard some producers saying: “I don’t want some system to show that my motor has problems. I would rather sell more units, so the bad motors can be replaced when they have issues. “
There are definitely situations when it doesn’t make sense to sell a machine with a condition monitoring system. Large and expensive generators installed in big power plants are most of the time specified in a public tender separately from condition monitoring systems. Because of the complexity of the measurements defined in this kind of projects, it really doesn’t make sense to have already built in system that won’t be used or needed at all. But what about the electrical machines of smaller power?
Let’s take electrical motors for instance. Having a solid motor management is a must for every production intensive company. Such companies invest a lot of resources in maintenance processes and have goals to minimize motor failure, overhaul and replacement costs. The manufacturers of electrical motors are familiar with the processes of their customers, but they are still not aware that predictive maintenance can help them too and not only machine operators.
1) Product differentiation
With so many machine producers on the market, offering a product that claims to be protected against most common motor failure is a clear point of differentiation. Their customers typically evaluate suppliers and compare product characteristics against field requirements. Having a unique feature that promises more safety, productivity, and less wasted resources compared to motors from other manufacturers, is what makes you stand out of your competition.
2) “Peace of mind” for the operators
Pointing out that your motor won’t experience sudden damage that can jeopardize crucial production process is another argument. Although the end user of the machine is often not the buyer himself, this is a big sales argument for any producer that knows that in process industries machines are utilized as much as possible.
3) Reduced costs during regular usage
Alarming plant operators when something goes wrong is one important feature of the monitoring systems. But they can do much more. At KONČAR Institute we have developed an advanced method for early fault detection of most common motor faults. This method is also superior to motor testing methods like motor current signature analysis (MCSA) since the results are more precise and no special equipment for motor testing methods like FFT analysis is required. This results with significantly fewer costs for site operators (for more information on this method download our eBook by clicking here).
So how can this help machine producers? Having a powerful, but simple and cost-effective system using this method in their motor, they can promise much lower costs of future motor tests and maintenance to their customers. They can also prove how much money an operator saves in a year, which is a fantastic selling point.
4) Protection in the warranty period
Complex monitoring systems can normally provide a lot of data to its users, which can be challenging for the plant staff. But it is possible to have a simple system with focus only on machine faults and users’ operation. For the machine producers, this means that they can have insights into how machine was operated during the warranty period. If the end user operated the machine differently than agreed in the contract and claims penalties, the producer can prove that the machine was working properly and that the user actions caused the damage (click here for more information about this solution).
5) Product improvements
Finally, a monitoring system can show the machine producer how his machine is operated. This gives producers a powerful tool when working on newer machine versions. It also helps to learn about the users themselves and how they use the product. The end result is more insight into the market and an improved R&D process.
Equipping a machine with a proper monitoring system brings a lot of benefits to the producers, but it does take some time for them to get a big picture on how this works. The only way the producers will help their customers is by understanding what their goals are. In the world where there is a constant pressure to minimize costs and optimize asset management, adding a small condition monitoring device to a machine can make a big difference. Not only will site operators be more productive, they will also reward such producers with stronger preference toward their products.