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How Motor Sensors Predict – and Prevent – Equipment Failure

Predictive maintenance is vital to keep equipment running at its peak at all times. In a variety of industries, using wireless sensors for motor condition monitoring helps minimize unplanned shutdowns and reduces the cost of maintenance.

Motors are the workhorses of manufacturing facilities, powering conveyors, pumps, blowers, fans, compressors, and more. Even one failed motor can impact an entire production line, with the possibility of huge losses in time and money. When a line goes down, workers sit idle and production deadlines get missed. It can also mean major expenses if an entire motor has to be replaced instead of just one part. This is where predictive maintenance and motor condition monitoring comes in.

Motor Condition Monitoring and Industry 4.0

Manufacturers have begun to use industrial sensor systems to monitor their equipment. A network of sensors can monitor a motor’s actual conditions, establishing a baseline and then establishing parameters that may indicate a problem. Maintenance can then be scheduled for downtime, and before it becomes a bigger headache.

Often, however, these systems are expensive and complicated to install. Retrofitting wired sensors onto existing equipment can mean extra work and hassle to get them up and running, and it may not be possible to integrate them with existing PLC software. In addition, it’s unweildy for all three types of sensors (temperature, vibration, amps) to be installed on one motor.

How Does Motor Condition Monitoring Work?

Motors actually just don’t quit without warning. In most cases, there are indicators week or months before a motor fails – the trick is to monitor and detect them early enough.

There are three main indicators of impending motor failure:

  1. Temperature – the motor will “run hotter” than […]

Innovative Wireless Temperature Monitoring for Freezers & Refrigerators

Temperature-sensitive products like COVID-19 vaccines call for fail-safe cold storage units. Phase IV Engineering now offers wireless temperature monitoring systems that easily attach to a facility’s existing refrigerators, freezers, or ultra-low freezers.

Anyone who has kept up with the news knows that certain COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly temperature-sensitive. If vials are left out too long at the wrong temperature, the vaccine degrades and must be discarded. Other sensitive items, from lab samples to frozen food, also require accurate temperature monitoring. A door left open or a power outage is both a health hazard and costly, so accurate tracking and monitoring is crucial.

Some commercial-grade units are equipped with continuous monitoring systems that meet CDC or FDA guidelines and industry best practices, but what do you do if your cold storage unit doesn’t have these features built-in? Phase IV has just released its refrigerator & freezer monitoring system (link). Part of the breakthrough Leap Sensors system, it’s designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing refrigerators and freezers at temperatures down to −40°C/°F.

Our smart design makes it simple for you. The advantages of the Leap Sensors refrigerator & freezer temperature monitoring system include:

  • A paper-thin cable from the sensor transceiver node to the probe for gasket seal integrity.
  • Edge computing (at the sensor level) calculates weighted averages to determine if a reading is truly out-of-spec, eliminating false alarms.
  • Easily replaceable NIST-traceable tip (optional) for simple calibration.
  • Plug-in wall transformer (optional) that acts as power outage detector. With the plug-in option, this battery acts as a backup power source.
  • Door-open sensor (optional) to track how long a door is open, which helps troubleshoot alerts.
  • Thermal mass bottle (optional) prevents false alarms from defrost cycles […]

Phase IV Receives Colorado Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) recently announced its Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant recipients, and we are excited to announce that Phase IV Engineering was one of only 36 Colorado companies to receive the grant.

Phase IV’s CEO Scott Dalgleish commented, “We are proud to be recognized for the groundbreaking work our team has done on the Leap Sensors® system. With this grant money, we will be able to scale up production and to continue our tradition of innovation in Boulder, Colorado.”

Phase IV was selected from more than 119 applications. The multi-phase selection process included review by committees of business, technical and financial experts, a second industry-specific review, and a pitch session with the full Advanced Industries committee.

Read more about the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grants.

WIKA Group Invests in Phase IV Engineering

As of August 31, 2020, WIKA Group has made a majority investment in Phase IV. This partnership will enable customers to leverage wireless technology with WIKA measurement instruments and systems across a wide array of products, applications, and markets.

According to Todd Gardner, President of WIKA Americas, WIKA is “looking forward to working with the Phase IV experts to integrate WIKA best-in-class measurement technologies with Phase IV’s cutting-edge IIoT systems.”

“We see this partnership as a game-changer in industrial sensing. By combining our breakthrough wireless technology with a highly respected and established industry leader, we are in a unique position to meet the rapidly growing demand for Industrial IoT solutions,” says Scott Dalgleish, CEO of Phase IV.

See the full press release.

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