Firms Turning to Condition Based Monitoring to Avoid Costly Breakdowns

Firms Turning to Condition Based Monitoring to Avoid Costly Breakdowns


Condition based monitoring (CBM) is playing an increasingly important role in supporting maintenance programmes. And it’s not hard to see why, when the modest investment required to implement a CBM solution is compared against the potentially huge costs associated with repairing or replacing machinery that has been damaged.

The IMC Group has introduced vibration and shock monitoring technology to a series of CNC milling machines used to produce aluminium parts for the aerospace industry. The unexpected failure of the machines had left the owners of the facility facing significant costs and loss of customer confidence.

Central to the effective running of a machine are its spindles and bearings, which are subjected to massive forces during operation. Yet heavy demands on manufacturing and engineering teams, manual checking procedures are not always a high priority and when they are missed hidden problems can arise. Additionally, not all potential problems are even detectable by a worker, whereas monitoring technology can pick up the smallest inconsistencies.

IMC Contor uses tri-axial Piezo accelerometer technology to record precise spindle vibration, assisting the operator to manage preventative maintenance. The real-time condition based monitoring information provided by the IMC Contor unit prevents damaging outcomes with instant alarm notifications of excessive impact to the spindle, providing customers with vital data that reduces maintenance costs and production downtime. IMC Contor uses sophisticated communication via ZigBee RF to a central Contor interface where data is stored within an SQL database. Data from the central IMC Contor interface can then be interrogated via the comprehensive software, overcoming a traditional problem of CBM systems where huge volumes of data are produced, which take significant time and expertise to analyse. The system developed by The IMC Group incorporates user-friendly software that automatically identifies potentially dangerous data trends and delivers an alert.

The technology works alongside customers’ existing SEIKI systems, adding an additional layer of performance optimisation.

Customers benefit from significantly reduced machine downtime and loss of production. Excessive vibration can be a symptom of problems and predictive maintenance for the bearings is enabled by monitoring the RMS vibration of the system. Spindle damage is significantly reduced thus increasing spindle life. Milling machine performance is optimised, unnecessary maintenance is eliminated and costs are reduced. There’s even accurate data available for any warranty claims!