Condition Monitoring News 2010

Dec 212010Approach to Monitoring Technologies and Reliability

Monition’s approach to condition monitoring (CM) emphasises that one should not expect that the CM tools will automatically deliver improved performance.

Monition views the application of CM as part of an overall improvement in asset reliability. It has to be understood that reliability is wider than simply condition monitoring and predictive technologies. Although they are integral components of successful reliability programmes, reliability encompasses much more of a part of successful plant asset optimisation. Reliability-focused strategies and programme development drive the correct mix of technologies (including CM and predictive tools), based upon asset failure modes, impact of failure, and consequences of failure on customer-specific key business drivers.

Approach to Monitoring Technologies and Reliability

The fact of why reliability is truly important is that best-in-class reliability performers typically spend about 60 per cent less on maintenance than industry averages, whilst simultaneously achieving better results in every meaningful category – process uptime, labour efficiency, equipment availability, safety, environmental compliance and on-time delivery.

Monition’s methodology for each client project is to ensure ‘right-tool, right-job’, so that the information supplied to the client can be utilised to improve performance.

To complement the above advancements in tamping bank assessment Monition has developed a full condition monitoring and health check procedure for each type of OTM machine including both Plasser and Matisa. The data obtained can then be used in conjunction with operation details to truly understand the mechanical and operational dynamic of each unit to drive reliability, reduce cost and improve safety.

In addition to the developments directly associated with OTM machines Monition has also just completed a three-year development of ‘INTELLIOIL’ web-based oil diagnostic and management software. The development follows a two-year European Project ‘BIOMON’ to develop new biodegradable oils. Monition’s task was to establish the new standards required for monitoring the condition of ‘new’ biodegradable and identifying at what point the oil is by definition no longer biodegradable. This led to the UK Government, under the auspices of the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA), funding a £400,000 project with Monition to commercialise and develop Intellioil.

The purpose behind the software was to ensure true knowledge transfer and remove a dependence on individuals for accurate diagnostic and machine assessments. The program has been designed to be accessible to all levels within a business. The whole system is driven from a customer-designed KPI dashboard, which allows a quick and easy review of current status with full prioritisation of not only oil results but overdue samples and allocated maintenance tasks.

During the development it was realised that to make this a lab-dependent product via the Monition oil lab would be extremely restrictive to the potential in the global market. This has led to the system being configured in a way that is fully compatible with data from any existing laboratory, allowing full integration of data. The system allows the end user, via the web interface, to have full control and configuration rights to a viewing and managed service.

The software has utilised a number of intelligent knowledge-based algorithms to ensure the assignment of correct alarm levels based on varying criteria including, criticality, duty cycle and environment, which are hidden behind user-friendly front ends.

The configured data then automatically sets maintenance frequencies, alarm levels and PM schedules linked to an Outlook-style planner. Maintenance tasks identified during testing are added to the task management section and are all linked to the main dashboard for ease of tracking and status.

The work carried out under the Biomon project has allowed for an artificial intelligence system to be embedded to allow the software to self diagnostics of problems correlated back to end-user experience and investigation. This has an extremely high benefit when managing distributed fleets of similar machines, even if these are operating in multiple locations or countries. This removes the dependence of the individual lab technician’s experience, unifying diagnostics and delivering consistency of results.

The software has been rigorously evaluated over the last 18 months via a number of UK rail operators and international oil companies operating in Hong Kong, Nigeria and Singapore.

Monition sees the developments as a key development in being able to reduce maintenance costs from a proven data-driven source ensuring that decisions made do not compromise safety.

Nov 14 2010 Patent Granted to Monition

Monition Ltd has strengthened its position as the leading OTM fleet maintenance monitoring specialist, by securing a Patent on their innovative Condition Monitoring methodology for assessing Tamping Machine maintenance condition.

Patent Granted to Monition

A first in the industry, Monition’s defining standard for monitoring highly specialised rail maintenance machines enables OTM operators to dramatically reduce the amount of machine failures and cut the amount of time required to perform track maintenance (possession times).

The reduced disruption to the rail network as a result of rail maintenance will increase the reliability of services for both commuters and commercial rail users.

The Tamping process is an important and essential component of routine track maintenance which has to be scheduled within strict time slots to coincide with off-peak network traffic.

Overruns in maintenance work caused by machinery breakdowns has serious impact on scheduled rail services and leads to heavy penalties on maintenance contractors. Since the number of tamping machines available at any one time is limited, preventative maintenance and minimum downtime of tamping machines - particularly during operation - is critical.

Tampers are on-track machines used to maintain the bed of aggregate ballast upon which railway tracks are laid. Tampers operate by inserting vibrating metal forks into the ballast around the rails to compact the loose aggregate and prepare it for the forces exerted on the rails by high speed train travel.

Due to the nature of operation, Tamping Machines are highly prone to wear in moving components. Bearings, pins and bushes all require frequent and rigorous monitoring to establish maintenance and operating condition.

Monition found that conventional Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) wasn't capable of accurately monitoring the high-frequency signatures generated by a Tamper’s violent vibration movements during operation. Moni’s rail engineering team pushed the development of Time Domain Stresswave Analysis in this particular application in order to capture high frequency noise activity and very accurately determine component condition.

Out in the field, Monition’s condition monitoring methodology has defined a range of pre-determined running speeds within the operation of Tamping Machines, optimum for determining the precise capture of data sets.

Through the collection and analysis of tens of thousands of readings, the specific characteristics of wear and deterioration for a Tamping Bank’s various individual components have been recorded, investigated and categorised. Moni’s data analysts have compiled the world’s most comprehensive database of Tamping Bank datasets in the world, against which, captured data can be compared to very accurately determine remaining life in Tamping Bank component condition.

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