It is very challenging to prevent motor degradation by operational issues arising out of wear and tear such as open phase/bearing, overload, insulation distortion, etc. If all this is not controlled on time, it leads to dismal consequences like a massive increase in energy consumption, complete motor failure, and, sometimes electrical shocks to the workers. A motor failure can lead to machine stoppages and unscheduled production disruptions. Thus, manufacturers stand to gain if motor failures can be predicted and maintenance schedules can be planned better.
This story is a glimpse into the challenges faced by one of the leading auto manufacturing majors while managing the predictive and preventive maintenance of the critical elements of its diecasting machines.
What the customer experienced as obstacles is an indication of the trouble a manufacturer goes through on a day to day basis owing to the pressing need of the upkeep of motors and their preventive maintenance. Over a period of time, deterioration comes into play owing to normal wear and tear as well as due to the deterioration in the connected load; thus, even if the motor is new or recently serviced it still has all the possibilities of going through deterioration.
This is bound to result in higher power consumption, safety hazards and eventually to machine stoppage. Machine stoppage – the ultimate outcome- is very expensive and hence a manufacturer spends a considerable amount of time and resources in checking motors on a regular basis. This involves several check lists and expertise of many trained personnel which leads to a substantial increase in manpower cost (hiring & training). The cause of the issues could be mechanical conditions as well, hence it may not always be possible to identify the issue by the electrical worker alone. All the data and measurements are done manually in most of the cases and so record keeping and their retrieval poses another big challenge further making historical analysis a complicated, cumbersome and taxing procedure.
Notwithstanding, the men on job tend to err and so the manufacturer must keep a plan in place to rectify and manage that situation too. All in all, a lot of time and effort is spent on preventive maintenance even when this may not be really required.
This is precisely what the team at the shop floor was grappling with - sudden motor failures leading to unscheduled stoppages. Owing to further delays in repair, the situation was often ending up into mismanagement and production losses (owing to production downtime).
Also, the multiplicity of the devices required to measure and examine key vitals - vibration, temperature, current and insulation - was proving to be very cumbersome. The conventional motor condition check had several check items. This required a team of skilled maintenance engineers to analyse the motor's maintenance timing. Additionally, inspection was time consuming because there were many motors.
Last but not the least, bridging & integrating the entire set up with a third-party application (existing SCADA and central server) was a big concern.
The customer was seeking for an automation technology to enable preventive and predictive maintenance with less dependency on the manual examination and which could also make access to historical data viable for bringing in value addition and improvements in the process in the long run.
Post understanding the issues at hand and a thorough recce of the site followed with intense conversations in the form of in-house seminars, trials and showcases, the team understood that there is an immense requirement of a solution that must take care of the maintenance of motors in advance before the failure happens or is about to happen. The proposed solution or outcome was the Omron Motor Condition Monitoring Device: K6CM
OMRON K6CM is an award-winning condition monitoring device. The solution has been acknowledged as TPM Development Award for Excellent Products and Good Design Award in 2018. By significantly reducing the time required for patrol inspection or expertise, it plays an immensely useful role in automating the motor’s maintainece and upkeep. OMRON K6CM does comprehensive current diagnosis and monitors motor conditions consistently by observing the current waveform of the motor. Additionally, it provides threshold value setting thus indicating the motor's maintenance timing without depending on an engineer.
At the shop floor, it’s now deployed on 9 motors. The solution is now consistently monitoring motor conditions by observing and gauging the change in vital parameters like inconsistency in vibration, abnormalities in temperature and irregular current. The customer is also able to grasp the motor's maintenance timing effectively without depending on an engineer. Most importantly, the motor conditions are also being measured remotely.
As a notable value addition to Omron’s automation portfolio for the automotive sector, the solution, owing to its immense utility, has opened newer doors for Omron to contribute towards solving the fundamental needs of the automotive makers with an advanced and progressive automation applications.