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Industry 4.0 applications require complex interlinking and allow intelligent data analyses for increased efficiency. This article explores a new generation of multi-channel condition monitoring system which has been fully integrated with these new requirements and options. Article by Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG.

ProLink CMS is ideal for monitoring entire production facilities in a range of sectors that includes the paper and steel industries as well as for machine tools. The modular design and flexible integration into existing customer systems combined with the high level of signal and analysis quality that ProLink CMS provides mean that the system is easy for the customer to operate and delivers maximum efficiency in machine and facility monitoring. The technology is by no means confined to local implementation, however: It also provides a gateway for Industry 4.0 solutions and paves the way for digital services from German company, Schaeffler.

 

Premium Signal Analysis Without Expert Knowledge

ProLink CMS is easy to put into operation, as the system requires no knowledge of any kind in the field of signal recording and vibration analysis. With the help of the intuitive configuration assistant, the customer enters only basic data for the components to be monitored via a web browser. Intelligent templates fill in all remaining information for the specific components, such as rolling bearings, motors and gearboxes, fans and pumps.

During the self-learning test phase in operation, ProLink CMS automatically defines the alarm thresholds for up to 100 operating points for each machine based on its speed and load conditions. Just like the company’s single-channel SmartCheck CMS, the ProLink multi-channel system provides the customer with high-quality and frequency-selective detection of bearing and gearbox damage, imbalance, and much more.

ProLink CMS comprises a main processor module for signal processing as well as a range of signal recording modules including a vibration measurement module that can have up to 16 channels. The modules are simply mounted on the switch cabinet’s top hat rail. An outstanding feature of the multi-channel CMS is that it can be universally integrated into the customer’s infrastructure using a plug-in field bus module. The system supports OPC/UA and Profinet as well as CC-Link IE, with further field bus protocols to follow.

An advantage for service providers and system integrators is that ProLink CMS allows them to operate multiple control landscapes on the market with a single hardware system. OPC/UA and MQTT are used for cloud communication. All of this means that the multi-channel CMS is the perfect choice for Industry 4.0 applications.

Gateway To Digital Services

The customer can operate ProLink CMS locally and connect it to their machine control system via the field bus. Additionally, ProLink CMS provides the additional option of transmitting the preprocessed sensor data to the company’s service platform for more specific analysis via MQTT. Customers will have all of Schaeffler’s digital services – including the ConditionAnalyzer and load collective classification – at their disposal in the future via this interface. ProLink CMS can be used here as a universal gateway for connecting the sensor level with the control and management levels and even cloud applications. ProLink CMS therefore represents an excellent basis for mechanical and plant engineers to develop sector or even machine-specific Industry 4.0 solutions and thus offer their own added value models.

 

IAA INTERVIEWS MATTHIAS GITZEN, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, CONDITION MONITORING, SCHAEFFLER AG, AND CHAN MIN LING, HEAD OF INDUSTRY 4.0, SCHAEFFLER ASIA PACIFIC ABOUT THE PROLINK CMS.

The ProLink CMS was presented at the Hannover Messe. How was the reception for this latest offering from Schaeffler?

[Matthias Gitzen, MG] Since the SmartCheck is already much valued for its easy handling and sophisticated analysis features, the ProLink was well received for taking this concept further by offering a scalable number of channels and a much enhanced connectivity. The main goal was an easy and flexible integration into customers infrastructure. Therefore, the ProLink CMS provides a special module for fieldbus connection (Profinet or CC-Link IE) and additional Ethernet based protocols like OPC/UA; MQTT and WebServices.

If you could, what would you do to improvise the ProLink CMS further?

[MG] The hardware of the ProLink has a lot more potential, so we will on one hand improve the connectivity further (other bus protocols), on the other hand we will implement more sophisticated algorithms for the analysis right on the device. The ProLink CMS is the first system which is based on a modular concept. In future, we can provide special module for special application, for example, wind turbines. Furthermore, the ProLink CMS is the gateway to Schaeffler IoT Hub which will provide futher digital services (see point 4).

What are your expectations for the ProLink CMS in Asia and Southeast Asia?

[Min Ling] The demand for ProLink CMS in the Asia Pacific region will arise from OEM manufacturers who are looking for new ways to add the capability to monitor predictive maintenance in their product. In addition, the modular scalable structure expands the capability in the production facility to use the ProLink CMS which gives operators the earliest possible warning and can optimally integrate the relevant maintenance measures in their operating strategy. The application of ProLink CMS can be used in a wide range of industries ranging from Paper Machinery, Metal production and processing to Wind Turbines.

With the rise of Industry 4.0, could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the automation manufacturing industry?

[MG] On one side, with rising availability of industrial grade cheap IIot solutions, more and more sensors and gateways are entering the plant floors. With that happening we have to cope with more and more data. On the other side we see a lot of experienced maintenance people retiring and leaving a gap of knowledge about running machines efficiently. So the demand for automated data analysis and a smart information management was never higher. Experiencing these needs, customers become more open now for new solutions, also for cloud based processing of some of their data. That is the reason, why Schaeffler is providing further cloud based CM services and analytics, that fully integrates our IIoT devices like SmartCheck and Prolink CMS.

 

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