Eddy Current Sensors Used in IIoT and Condition Based Monitoring

By CIOReview | Monday, November 26, 2018

Condition-based monitoring (CBM) is getting modified as a part of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Companies want a bird’s eye view of all the operations going on through the Internet and Ethernet. The trend is growing, and Inductive edgy current sensors can play an essential part in CBM systems, especially in situations when equipment failure would be catastrophic, extremely costly or dangerous. 

IIoT and predictive maintenance

CBM forms the foundation for condition-based predictive maintenance which uses a wide range of technologies such as vibration analysis, current motor signature, oil analysis, and ultrasound to predict future failure. Newer CBM solutions allow access to data from anywhere in the world. The new CBM tools enable users to identify issues and identify trends by using the power of cloud computing and wireless communication which allows data transfer at higher speeds over sizeable distances.

Growth in the cloud-based CBM programs is closely related to IoT. The term IIoT is a subset of IoT, and it refers mainly to manufacturing industries. IIoT is expected to improve productivity, transform the workforce, and exploit analytics for innovation. Advanced sensors in IIoT allow end users to track vast amounts of data efficiently. For CBM programs, IIoT makes it easier to see all the data and outputs which in turn makes it easier to spot trends.

What creates new trends for CBM programs?

Stricter environmental regulations are increasing the need for monitoring programs. In the past, manufacturers only wanted to monitor machine oil levels and were worried about a machine getting too hot. Now, some regulatory agencies require automatic oil level monitoring with an alarm or light to immediately indicate any possible leakage.  The biggest reason behind using CBM programs is the economic trend. Manufacturers want to improve system efficiency and reduce power use. They can make the machine implement the change with a tap on the keyboard.

Eddy current sensors for IIoT CBM programs

Many different types of sensors can be used in IIoT CBM programs. The right sensor should be chosen based on what is being monitored, budget considerations, and technical constraints. Designers observe the output and based on the results chose the number of sensors to need to go live. A few sensors are too fast for the device, so the system designers have to send particular data to operators.

Eddy current sensors are the best for tracking targets that are conductive, must be monitored really precisely, cannot be touched, and may be moving very fast. Inductive eddy current sensors work by causing a high-frequency electromagnetic field. Sensor performance is affected by target material conductivity, and a conductive target is required for it to function but not a ground connection. Inductive sensors’ performance is affected by temperature changes, but they can perform in vacuums or fluids.  CBM systems are found in nuclear power industry which uses eddy current sensors. The system monitors shafts and pumps that run on high temperatures and high pressures.