Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) have proliferated and are now installed in large numbers throughout various industries. According to the MarketsandMarkets research firm, the size of the global variable speed drives market is projected to reach USD 27.11 Billion by 2021.
Although VSDs can now be considered popular from an installed base perspective, the ways in which these devices are being implemented and maintained is still immature. Owners of these devices are only beginning to explore how the intelligence within these VSDs can be leveraged to perform predictive maintenance and ensure a highly available manufacturing environment. In fact, VSDs can be converted into “service-oriented drives” (SOD) so that plant uptime can improve. The intelligence within the VSDs allows for a predictive maintenance approach that estimates and projects equipment condition over time and uses probability formulas to assess downtime risks.
Most VSDs are installed within a “chain” of other electromechanical devices (such as transformers, circuit breakers, motors) or mechanical devices (gear box, mechanical transmission). Together these form a “driveline.” In an SOD scenario, VSDs minimize their own downtime and are also used as smart sensors for the entire driveline (monitoring, motor torque temperature, main voltage, and load energy consumption).
The SOD concept helps facilities managers and maintenance personnel to enter the money-saving world of predictive maintenance which allows anticipative behavior algorithms to drive maintenance timing decisions (performing maintenance not too early and not too late).
Drives must be connected properly so that they can inform maintenance service providers in an automated, real-time fashion of any impending failure or of an actual failure. Drives with SOD-enabled capabilities use both local area network protocols and web services to communicate. The drives can be designated as either “on premise” or “remote access” depending on IT infrastructure and privacy constraints. Automatic e-mails and Short Message Service (SMS) texts can be generated to inform operators on any unusual equipment behaviors.
Tools such as QR (Quick Response) code technology (for non-connected drives), and remote monitoring (for connected drives) can help to link the SODs to the diagnostic experts. By flashing the QR code with their cell phones, the maintenance personnel can directly connect to the drive manufacturer hotline so that a drive’s parameters can be communicated and drives can be started up to the proper specification.
In the context of maintenance and support, easy access to proper documentation is a key factor in enhancing operational efficiency. Implementation of SODs allows for easy on-line access to either standard generic information (such as datasheets and instruction manuals) or asset specific information (such as a product maintenance booklet or parameter files).
Sensors embedded within the SOD-enabled drive issue warnings when parts are likely to wear out and when warranties are about to run out. These sensors also allow SODs to collect data on all of the key parameters affecting the driveline’s lifetime (such as operating time, temperatures, torque, main voltage, currents). Through such monitoring, the SODs can compute future outcomes for those chain elements that are predictable, and perform statistical analysis on those components in the driveline that are not predictable.
Visit their entire suite of maintenance solutions and download the free white paper, “How Service-Oriented Drive (SOD) Deployments Improve VSD Driveline Uptime.”