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Motice - Greater Value & More Added Value

With condition monitoring, Flottweg SE is following a digitization offensive that focuses on the reliability and efficiency of production plants. With Motice, users are presented with a system that addresses maintenance failures ahead of time. Critical changes in the condition of decanter bowl bearings indicate at an early stage, that maintenance will soon be necessary. Frank Ebert is available to answer questions on the technical and economic background of this work.


Condition monitoring systems (CMS) make wear and tear predictable, thus making repairs plannable and downtime less frequent: Signals from the machine offer added value because predefined signals can be used to detect deviations that warn of increasing wear. Thus, malfunctions can be prevented. Analyses also reveal dependencies across data and allow conclusions to be drawn about maintenance and repair.

Frank Ebert, Development Engineer Mechatronic Systems at Flottweg SE, talks about how planning can be improved with Condition Monitoring, sensor-based machine monitoring in decanters and how this affects availability.


Mr. Ebert, with Motice you have taught a machine to listen. How does the prediction and identification of the different bearing conditions function?

"The geometry of each bearing has its own fingerprint. The frequencies which relate to bearing damage are stored in Motice and are intelligently and permanently monitored. Flottweg Motice detects the beginning of bearing damage. With a remaining operating lifetime of up to three months, there is still enough time for a precise analysis and an efficiently planned maintenance assignment. We primarily use an envelope curve for bearing condition monitoring, in which individual frequencies are displayed and individually monitored. If defined threshold values are exceeded, the system reacts immediately and can determine exactly if the damage affects the outer ring or the inner ring."


Before/after consideration: How was condition data collected in the past and what are the benefits of Motice?

"To date, there have only been safety-oriented automatic switch-off devices, for example when the overall machine vibration is too high. Individual components have not been monitored to date. Another difference is that a CMS never causes the machine to shut down. It only monitors the machine continuously and reports emerging wear at an early stage. It is also conceivable that the vibration of motors and screws could be controlled, which would make a CMS even more meaningful."


In what way does this change maintenance for the user and what does this mean for the Flottweg service team?

"It is obvious that bearing maintenance is becoming increasingly plannable. Suspect bearings can be replaced at an early stage and if service is needed, only the particular bearing needs to be replaced. This saves money for the customer and time for the service staff, who after training can now do their tasks digitally. Additionally, the service department is assigned a broad range of responsibility which ranges from the assessment of damage, to an exact diagnosis via remote maintenance on the PC.


What is the difference between Condition Monitoring and predictive maintenance?

"One leads to the other. Without a CMS, focused preventive maintenance is not possible. Maintenance can only be perfectly coordinated when the data relating to the condition (of as many components as possible) is individually evaluated and permanently recorded.


What is your advice to companies that want to address predictive maintenance?

"It is very important to consider the maintenance path separately. We are moving from damage-dependent, corrective or reactive maintenance, as it is still common today, to preventive or predictive maintenance, which reduces the risk of failure but often also shortens maintenance intervals. Only then can condition-oriented maintenance with sensor-supported monitoring be performed with Motice. The subsequent stage of expansion results in predictive maintenance, which uses model data to predict future condition data."


Are customers still reluctant to use predictive maintenance because access to their machine data must be granted?

"This is indeed an important issue that generates skepticism among customers. To prevent this, Flottweg Motice has a dedicated control system that is separate from the main control system. This means that we can only access the Flottweg Motice via remote access and that data is only provided on bearing conditions, used speed and operating times. Customer-specific process parameters are thus securely retained by the customer. This requires the approval of the customer, meaning that the customer always has sovereignty over his system and his data."

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