Objectifs of the PIMMS Project

Predictive Intelligent Machinig and Machine Monitoring Sensors

  Tool an machine condition monitoring is of vital importance to modern industry in its quest for high reliability, quality and efficiency. Machine maintenance is also a major expense thoughout every industrial sector. It has been shown that a further 8% increase in productivity. These figures are borne out across Europe, as shown by the European Benchmark Study on Maintenance. Most condition monitoring systems are unnecessarily complex since they aim to diagnose the nature of faults within machines. For efficient asset management however diagnosis of the nature of a fault is not required. Instead plant operators need to know which machine have problems, where they are and know long specific machines will last before faults lead to teminal failure. The prupose of instrument to be developed capable of providing an output of remaining life of each bearing or gear within a machine.

  This project aims to advance the technollogy currently available for machine condition monitoring by the application of intelligent sensor systems. In particular, this project aims to develop an intelligent acoustic emission (AE) sensor system which will be capable of predicting number of days to failure for a particular machine. The system will primarily take data from AE sensors but will also use vibration and temperature data; an intelligent software module will combine the information to provide a more accurate representation of current machine condition. Such a system will have particular revelance to many SMEs, including the core proposers.

  Although it is not possible to develop vibration techniques alone to achieve this goal, the acoustic emission (AE) approach seems ideally suited. In the last three years the high frequency AE technique has been shown to provide a very powerful yet simple means of identifying machines with problems at an early stage.

  This is particularly relevant for SMEs in two ways: firstly, the technological and cost problems related to vibration-based condition monitoring systems have proven a major barrier to the uptake of the technology in SMEs, and hence this sector is realising only a fraction of the potential benefits of condition monitoring; and secondly, the proposed system will be aimed specifically at the common plant types used by SMEs (eg gearboxes and machine tools), with a cost level for the system which will make it affordable by SMEs.

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