When drinking water supply could have been compromised by the threat of bearing defects and the solution was either 24 hour manual monitoring or effective predictive maintenance, Schaeffler enabled one supplier to make the right choice.
Perlenbach water supply association, which supplies fresh drinking water to around 50,000 residents in seven municipalities of Germany’s Eifel region every day.
Because bearing defects in the centrifugal pumps could cause them to fail and compromise the security of the water supply, management faced the threat of having to monitor and staff the site 24 hours a day throughout the year in order to ensure a fault-free, reliable operation
The association identified there was a need to install a predictive maintenance system that would continuously monitor and lubricate the machinery.
Joachim Dankwardt, deputy manager of the water procurement/treatment department at the Perlenbach water supply association, puts it baldly: “For us, condition monitoring means a secure supply.”
Adoption enabled customers to optimise their maintenance processes sustainably and increase productivity
To ensure a satisfactory installation, the association opted for Schaeffler, on account of the company’s record for producing intelligent solution packages for machine monitoring and lubrication.
A combined approach
As the last pump failure to occur at Perlenbach was caused by over-lubrication of a bearing, Schaeffler advised counteracting this problem with its Concept8 lubricator.
The product precisely supplies up to eight lubrication points with the correct quantity of grease. Insufficient lubrication or over-greasing and the resulting damage can therefore be prevented. The power supply to the lubricator is coupled to the pump, which means that lubrication only takes place when the relevant pump is actually running.
The firm advised use of the Concept8 lubricator together with preconfigured SmartQB condition monitoring system from Schaeffler to ensure fault-free operation.
The standalone solution detects irregularities in electric motors, pumps, fans and the rolling bearings that all of these rely on. The SmartQB identifies the potential cause of failure – whether it is due to bearing damage, imbalance, friction, temperature increase, or changes to the vibration pattern – and gives a clear text notification of the findings.
Integration of the system, which was developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric, into the control room visualisation means that maintenance staff are informed of incipient damage at an early stage and can immediately initiate maintenance measures and procure any replacement parts that might be needed.
No previous knowledge required
A major advantage of the solution is that the SmartQB is a preconfigured plug-and-play system, which makes it very easy to put into operation.
“Conventional systems for machine monitoring are costly and complicated. In contrast, the SmartQB is so easy to use that our employees did not require any specific knowledge of vibration diagnosis. We were able to start right away,” reports Dankwardt.
The electrical specialists on site were able to connect the SmartQB directly to the control system and the emergency telephone equipment.
This solution from Schaeffler, which combines condition monitoring and requirements-based relubrication, allowed maintenance work to be scheduled well in advance. The company said that adoption enabled customers to optimise their maintenance processes sustainably and increase the availability and productivity of their machines and equipment.