Condition Monitoring/Predictive Maintenance

Condition Based (CBM) versus Planned Periodic Maintenance (PPM)

Surprisingly, many companies still use a system of Planned Periodic Maintenance in an attempt to avoid costly downtime arising from the failure of their equipment and machinery. In other words, they replace parts that tend to wear out (e.g. motor bearings) on a routine basis whether they need replacing or not. Not only is this needlessly costly, but can make matters worse by introducing faults during the process of stripping down and rebuilding a perfectly good machine. Even more of a problem is deciding the PPM time intervals. Too frequent, means more wasted time and cost (and more potential for introducing faults) but not frequent enough, means more unexpected breakdowns.

Condition Based Maintenance relies on the fact that a machine’s condition (degree of wear) can be monitored, by measuring the vibration levels in motor bearings for example. This way, the machine only needs to be maintained when its condition deteriorates beyond an acceptable level. This decision is based on recording and tracking changes in the machine’s condition over time (trending). Put simply, CBM philosophy is if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it!

This approach obviously saves time and money since machine parts are only changed when they need to be. However, CBM can potentially save a lot of money by spotting a machine that is about to fail prematurely before it fails and hence avoid an unexpected and costly shutdown.

Clearly, CBM is a superior technique but until now, its cost of implementation has put off some companies from using it. Traditionally, both CBM equipment and the expertise required to use it has been prohibitively expensive.

Test Products International (TPI) has however completely revolutionised this concept with the introduction of its low cost, portable vibration analysers and free to use trending software. Both the analysers and software are very easy to use, stemming from the fact that they are very intuitive and based on internationally agreed (ISO) alarm levels for rotating machinery.

TPI’s free to use VibTrend machine management and trending software stores machine condition readings and displays their trends in a clear and easily understood graphical format. In addition, various ‘expert system’ features are incorporated into the software, such as bearing quality assessment, which is achieved by analysing the frequency components of the vibration data and automatically identifying the classic ‘signatures’ associated with bearing wear. That way, it is very easy to monitor the health of a bearing simply by observing the level of bearing quality displayed on the trend plots.

A complete CBM system can cost from as little as £1,450 with the TPI 9080, which uses industry standard accelerometers and offers on-meter analysis for the detection of machine faults such as unbalance, misalignment, looseness and bearing wear. The equivalent intrinsically safe version (IEC Ex, ATEX and North American) TPI 9080Ex offers a complete Zone 1 CBM solution for £3,500. Both versions include a full VibTrend free to use unlimited software license.

For more information please contact TPI Europe’s head office on +44 1293 530196 or take a look on the website at or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SICK’s MPB10 Sensor Bolts-on for Continuous Condition Monitoring

SICK has announced the launch of its MPB10 Multi-Physics Box condition monitoring sensor, a pioneering and rugged bolt-on device designed to deliver real-time, continuous service data from industrial machines, including electric motors, pumps, fans and conveyor systems, even in the harshest industry environments. 

SICK’s first dedicated condition monitoring sensor, the MPB10 is an all-in-one device designed to make it easy to monitor and interpret vibration, shock and temperature measurement data delivered right from the heart of machines. The MPB10 provides service data to enable more cost-efficient predictive maintenance practices that can improve plant availability, maximise operating life, and protect product and process quality. 

Detecting Signs of Failure

The SICK MPB10 measures vibration, shocks and temperature that can be the tell-tale signs of approaching machine failure. Users are provided with pre-processed, concise and easy to interpret information that can be customised for the machine and process.

A stand-alone SICK MPB10 can transmit data over IO-Link to a machine control or output a simple alarm-based switching signal. With wide-ranging measurement parameters, the MPB10 can be set up according to the type of machine to alert, for example, when values exceed pre-configured thresholds. 

Dashboard Visualisation

Users also have the option to visualise real-time and historic data from the SICK MPB10 on easy-to-interpret, customisable dashboards using the SICK Monitoring Box digital service. Via the Monitoring Box, operators can also receive notifications via email, or provide data for integration into cloud-based applications.  

The SICK MPB10 detects vibrations (± 8 g) and shocks up to 200g in all 3 axes via the sensor’s MEMS elementsMulti-stage alerts can be set up to monitor vibration thresholds according to the requirements of DIN ISO 10816-3 in rotating machines such as electric motors, fans, turbines and generators. The indicative vibration values in the time and frequency range are significantly easier to interpret than raw data, helping to detect, for example, insufficient lubrication, bearing damage or motor imbalances. 


Protected by a rugged IP68 stainless-steel housing, the MPB10 delivers consistent contact temperature data between −40 °C and +80 °C, even in dusty or wet environments. Ideally fixed close to the bearings, the MPB10 can be mounted securely using a single M3 screw or fixed onto curved surfaces using the mounting plate supplied. Alternatively, it can be secured with epoxy glue or welded.  


Cost-Saving Benefits

David Hannaby, SICK’s Market Manager for Presence Detection, said: “The SICK MPB10 is a rugged little instrument with the potential to add huge value to industrial machines and processes. By bolting on an MPB10 to their machine, plant operators and managers can upgrade simply to predictive maintenance practices and identify problems early before any significant decrease in performance or failure. 

“By avoiding damaging temperatures, shocks or vibrations, the availability of the machine can be increased, product and process quality can be protected, and operators have more potential to extend the life of their machines. Maintenance effort and costs are reduced because reactive interventions can be avoided, and time-consuming routine preventive inspections can become less frequent.” 

For more information, please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 This article was also featured in the issue of a EMS below

A powerful combination of broadband ultrasonic measuring device and asset tree management software

The new BS40 structure-borne sound sensor offers reliability and precision


„What led to this condition? “ is one the most common questions asked by clients during the inspection of failed or damaged bearings. Although rolling bearings are among the most invaluable components in most of machines, it is pretty common the case that companies are lacking of effective bearing inspection practices. Monitoring for changes (trending) is conducted to reliably detect deterioration in critical assets condition. This must be done using robust characteristic values. If the alarm threshold is exceeded, an action must follow, which then requires a detailed analysis. In order to identify a fault or damage pattern and to reveal the causes, special evaluations of raw data are made. Simple characteristic values are not sufficient for this purpose. For machinery with rotating shafts, the focus lays in monitoring the rolling bearings. As interface between shaft and foundation of the machine, they have to absorb the resulting forces. This implies that faults and damage in design and operation have a particularly strong impact on rolling bearings. This is exactly what makes them suitable measuring points.

BS40: Innovative and reliable solution

The new BS40 structure-borne sound sensor was developed and manufactured by SONOTEC to help companies worldwide to take a better care of their bearings. This handy and robust sensor is ideally suited for condition monitoring of rotating machinery parts. It convinces with a laser-welded stainless-steel housing. The ¼”-28 UNF threaded bolt allows maximum flexibility in mounting. The BS40 can be used with magnets for flat or curved surfaces or can also be screwed to adhesive pads with an internal thread. Thus, a high reproducibility can be achieved. The optimized sensor characteristic in the range from 10 to 65 kHz ensures a nearly linear frequency response. A downward extension of the ultrasonic frequency range to < 1 kHz also provides more flexibility for machine diagnostics. The sensor contains a piezocomposite material developed by SONOTEC which helps to overcome the disadvantages of many market solutions. A more reliable assessment of bearings becomes possible.

SONAPHONE & LevelMeter App: Intuitive hardware and software

With the intuitive LevelMeter App, the digital ultrasonic testing device SONAPHONE® enables broadband measurements and characteristic value determination. Due to its high sampling rate of 256 kS/s, signals up to 128 kHz can be analyzed. Up to this limit, characteristic values can be calculated and audio signals can be generated based on the filter settings. The device offers two methods for transforming the ultrasonic signals into the audible frequency range. The heterodyne method is used when a narrow-band transformation (bandwidth 4 kHz) is realized, while the vocoder method is suitable for a broadband transformation. The live signal is shown as time wave form, level graph and spectrogram.


Excellence in condition monitoring program

A great and powerful combination of the SONAPHONE®, the intuitive LevelMeter App, the broadband BS40 sensor and the software for the management of predictive maintenance tasks DataSuite helps to achieve excellence in an ultrasound condition monitoring program. This holistic ultrasonic solution helps the maintenance team to ensure that manufacturing processes in the industrial facility are running smoothly. Lubrication decisions can be made based on the acoustic feedback of bearings. Furthermore, companies are able to act in advance when bearings replacements become imminent as an early intervention can help to omit significant issues. It is now easy to recognize bearing damage early and optimize their lubrication with ultrasonic testing devices developed and manufactured in Germany.    

To learn how SONOTEC can help you, please visit




Case study by SPM Instrument UK

1. Introduction

”This case study describes the process of using the correct condition monitoring technique to monitor Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC) main bearings at 1RPM”

Severn Trent Water Asset Care Team were tasked with finding a reliable condition monitoring solution to monitor the main bearings of these RBC’s as when they fail they have huge consequences to the business. These RBC’s are usually located in remote sites and are difficult to keep track of with each area maintenance team having planned inspections but no real idea of condition.

2. Conclusion and Summary

SPM HD is proven to be the ideal condition monitoring solution for monitoring the lubrication decrease and early signs of damage on these bearings, other techniques such as ultrasound or Vibration Analysis could not detect these problems during previous trials. Due to SPM Technology proving itself Severn Trent Water decided to start with purchasing a Leonova Emerald initially then after presenting to the Directors they decided to invest in the same portable instruments for every area in waste water for Severn Trent. 38 Leonova Emerald instruments.

3. Application description

Rotating Biological Contactors (RBC) are an essential part of the water industry in remote areas. The RBC process allows the wastewater to come in contact with a biological film in order to remove pollutants in the wastewater before discharge of the treated wastewater to the environment. 



Fig.1 A remote site with 2 RBC enclosures

Each RBC consists of a main bearing at either end of the main shaft. One side of the RBC has a Motor/Gearbox. The speed of the main bearings are fixed usually between 1.8rpm and 0.9rpm depending on the size of the RBC. The length from one main bearing to the other also varies depending on the type of RBC installed.



Fig.2 Construction of an RBC


Small discs with Biological fluid are in close proximity to each other which is called media. As the RBC rotates slowly these discs treat the water which then moves to the next part of the Treatment process.

4. Background

There are over 500 RBC’s in Severn Trent Water in different locations around the area. They are all in remote sites which are difficult to access. When a main bearing fails they have to plan in the replacement which can take months as the lead time on the bearings is long as well as the installation of cranes and lifting equipment to remove the RBC. 

Severn Trent Water had a number of these catastrophic failures resulting in them deciding to make plans to trial condition monitoring equipment. 

5. Case description

The initial readings on this asset was shown to be high in comparison to all other RBC’s. The below shows the overall SPM HD measurement results. The bearing was checked and repacked with grease showing a decrease in reading up until October




The overall SPM HD reading derives ultimately from the time signal reading below. This was confirmed that there was large impacts in the pressence of low readings indicating damage.





Corresponding Time signal

On relacement clear score marks could be seen around the shaft and damage was seen around the casing of the bearing and rollers. If this was left without monitoring it would have catastrophically failed.




Fig.9 Bearing pictures on replacement

After planned replacement the SPM HD readings reduced from alarm state to acceptable levels. The graph below shows the point when the bearing was replaced around the 20th November.




SPM HD Trend throught measurement lifetime




Time signal from healthy bearing






ABB partners with Samotics to expand its condition monitoring services


  • ABB and Samotics enter a strategic partnership to extend ABB’s asset health monitoring services to harsh and submersible environments
  • ABB to acquire 10 percent stake in Samotics, leading provider of electrical signature analysis (ESA) technology for motor-driven industrial equipment
  • Joint ambition is to reach next level of condition monitoring by co-developing advanced digital service solutions focused on energy efficiency and operational resilience

ABB and Samotics, a leading provider of ESA technology that is a high-growth scaleup company based in the Netherlands, have entered a strategic long-term partnership to provide enhanced condition monitoring services. The approach will leverage each company’s capabilities to deliver more insight into machine health and energy efficiency. As a first step, ABB will integrate Samotics’ plug-and-play monitoring solution into its digital portfolio. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Samotics’ technology is complementary to the well-established ABB Ability™ Condition Monitoring service for powertrains, a sensor-based solution that analyzes the health and performance of rotating equipment. Samotics’ SAM4 technology, based on electrical signature analysis (ESA), will expand ABB’s application of asset health monitoring of motor-driven industrial equipment as it does not rely on mounting sensors in the field. This means that SAM4 can be deployed on machines in harsh and submerged environments.

Adrian Guggisberg, President of ABB Motion Services said: “Our strategy is to build an ecosystem with leading service providers who can contribute to our customers’ overall success. With Samotics, we share the ambition to co-develop digital services that will offer even greater insight across a wider range of applications to help our customers taking better decisions. The partnership will also create even more value from digital service solutions to grow our annual recurring revenues.”

Jasper Hoogeweegen, CEO of Samotics said: “Entering into a strategic partnership with ABB will open doors with potential customers around the world and help us scale our business. At the same time, we share a mindset and commitment to help solve reliability and energy efficiency challenges.”

Ultimately, developing a system that uses both datasets will provide industrial operators with a more detailed view of asset health so that they can make better decisions to optimize maintenance, boost reliability and reduce downtime.

Samotics has established SAM4 as a robust and scalable system. It is already being implemented across the wastewater and water, steel, and chemical sectors and has established a fast-growing base with thousands of assets monitored. 

ABB plans to roll out Samotics technology to customers before the end of 2022 as part of its growing service portfolio for rotating equipment.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.

ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) is the venture capital unit of ABB (NYSE: ABB). ATV looks for breakthrough technology companies aligned with ABB’s goal to write the future of industrial digitalization. Since its formation in 2009, ATV has deployed around $250 million into startups spanning a range of sectors including robotics, industrial IoT, AI/machine learning, energy transition, cybersecurity, electric mobility, smart buildings and distributed energy. For more information, visit

Samotics is a leading provider of real-time actionable insights to optimize performance and energy efficiency of AC motors and rotating equipment. An expert team of data scientists, software developers and technical specialists has developed an AI-driven platform that supports global industrial companies in reducing energy waste and unplanned downtime.

New Adash Vibrio M - perfection in its best shape! Vibration Meter, Analyser and Data Collector in One

Evolution takes time, and it’s not easy to improve what is already great, but we like challenges, and we did it. Adash’s bestselling vibration data collector, the A4900 Vibrio M, has been relaunched with significant improvements.

Supplied in kit format, in a small yet robust protective transport case, with all required components; it’s ideal for operators, engineers, consultants and analysts alike. Fully integrating into the Adash DDS software suite, the device retains its simple 3-button control, standard vibration measurement(s) and outstanding FASIT evaluation tool, enabling auto diagnosis of potential failures and problems which are presented clearly to the user with visual waveforms and traffic light alarms. This allows equipment breakdowns to be avoided by non-professional users.

Plug and play, don’t bother with settings, just measure!

This pocket sized vibration analyser and data collector has been upgraded with a larger TFT display (240x320 pixels) which ensures the screen is always visible, even in direct sunlight. The larger display further enhances the user experience when viewing FFT and time waveforms, improving front line and visual analysis and problem identification.

Replacement of the standard AA battery chamber with Li-Ion battery technology, provides a rechargeable power pack capable of providing 15 hours of continuous operation. The additional comfort of charge indication means there is no requirement for the user to carry replacement batteries or return to the office to recharge, during longer route data collection activity.

The rubber protection bumper case bolsters an already rugged industrial package, improving the overall mechanical protection and integrity, whilst covering the bottom panel has increased the overall ingress protection from duct and moisture, ensuring this device can be utilised in the most aggressive and oppressive environments.

If you want to identify faults, prevent equipment breakdowns and save money, don’t settle for second best, choose Adash and the New Vibrio M……Perfection in it’s best shape!

Condition monitoring for bearings improves grinding process

NSK CMS SAM 0425 Korr RZAs part of its AIP+ (Added Value Programme), NSK’s Condition Monitoring Service (CMS) is a method to determine the health of machine components such as bearings while the machine remains operating. Indeed, data from the process can also be used to help determine (or at least narrow down) the causes of form errors when producing parts on grinding machines.

Fluke makes predictive maintenance simple, safe and fast through wireless condition monitoring solutions

ems april 1 19 2By using the capacity of cloud-based software to combine the real-time and historical data from Fluke Connect™-enabled tools and sensors, Fluke now enables maintenance engineers and managers to monitor a comprehensive picture of equipment health throughout the facility. The introduction of condition monitoring products that wirelessly transmit data from the field, combined with Fluke Connect Condition Monitoring (FCCM) software, has enabled safe, cost-effective maintenance programs. Maintenance teams can remotely detect potential equipment failures and remedy them before they cause costly downtime. Predictive maintenance is now not only simplified, but it is safer and faster.

Why do I need to use time waveform analysis?

mobius now 17Spectrum analysis provides a great deal of information about the health of rotating machinery. But you should consider the spectrum as a summary of the vibration within the machine.


ems sept 16 1RUFTECHNIK expands its intelligent Online Condition Monitoring portfolio with VIBGUARD compact. As intelligent online CMS, the new VIBGUARD compact offers premium asset manufacturers of drivetrains and machines as well as their operators the same performance as its big brother VIBGUARD.

While VIBGUARD features 20 measuring channels, VIBGUARD compact offers 6 measuring channels for continuous monitoring of fast and highly dynamic processes. The system can be easily integrated into the process control environment of the customer using the bidirectional Modbus interface. With focus on rotating equipment, VIBGUARD compact delivers continuous and detailed condition overviews of all relevant machine components in nearly real time.

SPM Instrument UK Hosts International Management Meeting

12jul 1On the 20th to 22nd of June, Manchester based condition monitoring specialist SPM Instrument UK Ltd. hosted a meeting with the CEO of SPM International and Managing Directors of its fourteen subsidiaries in Europe, USA, Singapore, and India.

The biannual SPM Management meeting is an integral component of the SPM International corporate structure and an important part in setting the course for the further development of the Group and its activities. The meeting is an itinerant event which the different SPM companies take turns organizing. This time, SPM Instrument UK was chosen to host the meeting, held at the Hilton in Manchester and rounded off with a social event at the Lakeside Hotel & Spa in Newby Bridge.

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