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Motor Condition Monitor

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MCM (Motor Condition Monitor)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

In industrial facilities, electrical motors are the heart of every activity. The global electric motor market is expected to reach a value of 113.280€ million by 2019. Considering maintenance and operational schedule, predictive tools are a critical asset rather than reactive or preventive maintenance to avoid serious losses or safety problems. If a motor suddenly stops, the industrial factory manager must decide if the motor should be replaced or rewound. This brings huge losses to the company especially if the motor is critical, creating heavily downtime losses.
On the other side, electric motors are responsible for more than 40% of the total electrical energy consumed worldwide, and represent the most important component in the industry energy consumption and 75% of global CO2 industrial emissions. As electric motors often operate at poor efficiency, there is a great potential to improve energy efficiency in this sector.

MCM allows to continuously monitoring electric motors, even the ones that are submerged in liquids, decreasing the downtime and operating costs in industrial facilities, increasing this way productivity and equipment’s lifetime. Additionality it brings safety benefits since a catastrophic motor failure can result in serious security hazards. MCM enables an accurate prediction of malfunctions in electric motors and improvement their efficient operation. This allows for a reduction of approximately 70% of the repairing costs and 85% of the equipment’s downtime and the efficiency levels can be increased by 15%, resulting in an additional reduction of the operating costs. The gains achieved through the electric motors continuous monitoring and the consequent optimization measure, have also an important role in the reduction of the high energy consumption in the industry sector.
During this project, some prototype versions of the hardware/software were made in order to allow the installation of Enging’s MCM solution in an industrial environment for proper validation.

Therefore, in order to validate the developed technology in a real industry application, a prototype system was developed and installed in a cement production facility in Brazil.

The chosen motor to be monitored was a high power electric motor driving a vertical mill. This asset performs a critical role in the production process, being responsible for crushing and grinding the raw materials in an early stage of the cement production. Due to its critical role and considering that in this application the electric motor is forced to operate in very demanding conditions (near full load operation with strong transients), it was the obvious choice to install Enging’s MCM solution.

The MCM prototype system installed at this cement factory was very successful, allowing to demonstrate the great potential and effectiveness of this Enging’s solution. During the trial period, the MCM solution brought some important benefits to the costumer:

• Correction of power quality issues – The severity factors related to the supply and the harmonic distortion values calculated by MCM proved that the power quality at that particular site was not the best. There was a preliminary study regarding this made by the costumer, but lack of precise information was not available. MCM was able to provide detailed values regarding harmonic distortion parameters, allowing the costumer to move on to purchase passive filters to improve power quality at this critical place.
• Fault prediction – The system was able to detect intermittent rotor faults. These are the most difficult problems to be detected in real-time and specially in very high load oscillating conditions as it was the case. Since electric motors with this particular rotor type construction are very common in critical cement applications, the costumer was very impressed with the system.

At the end, a partnership was established between Enging and a Brazilian company in order to commercialize the MCM solution in South America. Regarding the costumer where the trial test was performed, a proposal was requested to install the MCM solution in 10 similar electric motors, in different factory locations and a purchase order is expected very soon. Other proposals were sent to other companies in the cement sector, showing very interest in this disruptive technology.

More recently, and in order to validate the technology in the water sector, a trial pilot was also installed in a waste water treatment facility from the United Utilities, England. The chosen motor to be monitored was a pump installed in a place with some difficult access (it is installed some meters below the ground with limited physical space) and that operates under very harsh conditions, with high degrees of humidity and surrounded by water leakages, pumping sewage with lot and great variety of debris 24 hours a day.

This pilot test is still undergoing and it is expected that it allows to gather data in order to better understand the operating conditions of electric motors when driving pumps.
The main goal is to obtain data to better predict specific related issues in the water sector, and how the operating process can be optimized in order to decrease operating costs (electricity costs) by increasing the drive overall performance.

Finally, important data was collected that allowed to elaborate a detailed feasibility study that addresses key important topics:
• Market Assessment – market overview; market segmentation; industry analysis; competition analysis; outlook and market trends;
• Stakeholders’ Assessment – value chain analysis; partnerships search; potential customers, distributors and suppliers’ engagement;
• Technical Validation – technology roadmap update; high-fidelity piloting tests; prototype update based on customers and end-users’ feedback;
• Intellectual Property and Regulatory Assessment – freedom to operate analysis; patent plan; science disclosure plan; regulatory assessment;
• Business Plan – operational plan; business model validation; marketing and commercialization plan; risk assessment and contingency plan; financial plan; scale-up strategy.
Since electric motors represent the most important share in the industry energy consumption and 75% of global CO2 industrial emissions, this solution also addresses the issues related to climate change and environment. The gains achieved through the electric motors continuous monitoring and the consequent optimization measures, can have an important impact in the reduction of the energy consumption and carbon footprint in the industry sector, which is perfectly aligned with the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge “Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy”.

This project also had a positive impact in Enging’s structure since it allowed to rapidly develop a prototype of a disruptive technology, contributing to hire new personal and for the sustainable growth of the company.