IoT sensor technology

IoT sensor technology for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance

Internet of Things (IoT) architecture for vibration sensor (VibConnect) and mobile interface for the end user.

The key vision of the new era is the possibility enabled by Internet of Things (loT) on more accurate monitoring over and real-time optimal response to the physical devices in the system. Internet of Things (IoT) also known as machine-to-machine communication enables condition monitoring to be implemented to all types of assets across all sectors, thereby creating a technological model that is opening up significant new business opportunities.  Continuous monitoring of environmental fluctuations on valuable assets is required to protect assets from adverse conditions, improving operations, quality and allowing the implementation of predictive maintenance systems. IoT sensor solutions in industries lead nowadays for development of efficient, innovative and cost effective systems aiming at condition monitoring and predictive maintenance that can increase production efficiency, reducing downtime and support regulatory compliance.

Condition Monitoring and Predictive Analytics often highlights machines or parts that require constant attention, which lets engineers and technicians, adjust and reserve their resources. This saves even more time, money and space on the factory floor. When a predictive maintenance strategy is working effectively, maintenance is only performed on machines when it is required, thus reducing the parts and labor costs associated with replacements. With more and more systems shipping with internet connectivity, the concept of predictive maintenance is likely to expand exponentially in the Internet of things.

Fraunhofer LBF scientists have developed a complete IoT based solution “VibConnect” for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, together with partner OKIT GmbH. Vibconnect is smart IoT solution for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance using vibration data processing algorithms on a WiFi-connected microelectronic  sensor system. MEMS sensors are becoming an essential part of Internet of Things (IoT), fueled by the quickly evolving technology improving the measurement accuracy, low cost, small size and low power consumption. VibConnect uses the MEMS vibration sensor, since vibration is one of the first parameter to consider for condition monitoring.   To maximize the utility and minimize the operational overhead of vibration sensors, an analytical framework is proposed, especially designed for vibration analysis based on its unique characteristics. The VibConnect workflow covers the whole analysis process, from data collection, preprocessing, analysis to outcome visualization. VibConnect actively monitors vibration of the structure during operation.

VibConnect system architecture capable of capturing high-frequency vibration data from the attached instrument/structure and aggregating data in case of multiple sources for decision-making algorithm. The data can be accessible for end-user in terms of GUI with small latency. VibConnect has ability to generate the alerts for user in case of emergency.   

The sensor node designed to remain active during the operation at low energy consumption and ultra-low power consumption during sleep period. This defines the smart power management of sensor node. Sensor node act as nervous system for collecting continuous streams of data and software act as brain. Preprocessing and cleaning of data implemented on sensor node that reduces overhead for transmission. Processed data is transmitted using lightweight communication protocol to cloud.

The transmitted data has to be processes and stored in an efficient and interpretable way. This was implemented using cloud computing services, represented by the top layer of cloud platform. The cloud platform provides a range of insights for the monitoring purpose. The user has direct access to the results of the analysis as well as authority to respond the events for taking measures for maintenance. OKIT GmbH developed cloud platform for data exchange between asset and user, data storage and data visualization. Smart dashboards setup for intuitive data visualization and analysis. It take couple of seconds from sensing data to visualize onto platform. Smart visualization and active response by platform making VibConnect ideal for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.  

As example, VibConnect can be attached to a structure to determine the resonance of the structure and automatically tune an active absorber for stabilization of the structure. The sinusoidal amplitude can be measured accurately and can be shown on dashboard with a red lamp in case if the structure is vibrating at resonance. Dashboards lights the green lamp if the structure is not vibrating at resonance. The preprocessing of data was done on sensor node itself and data was transmitted using http protocol. VibConnect can be customized according to the requirement of the application. Different variants of asset can be measured by sensors and forwarded to central platform. The decision-making algorithm can be implemented that fulfills the need-based actions.