LTTS Creates Wireless Vibration Sensors for Conveyors in Food Industry

Project Success Story

Wireless technologies allow users to fully leverage the benefits of their intelligent devices, giving them access to more live process and diagnostic information, and to measure operations parameters in real time. Users are now focusing on using smart sensors to create value in hybrid industries such as food processing, where vibration sensors are beneficial.

A smart sensor obtains an analog or digital measurement by interaction with the outside world, possesses onboard computing and storage, can communicate measurement and other data via a wired or wireless network interface, and can perform autonomous actions following predetermined business rules.

With the introduction of battery powered wireless sensors, remote operations in real time is an added advantage. While still relegated primarily to applications where wired sensors are not practical, wireless devices are becoming more prevalent as manufacturers recognize the benefits and develop more confidence in the technology.

Background: IoT-based wireless sensor for measuring vibrations from conveyors used in a Japanese food processing company. The client needed a sensor with reliable, long lasting battery, and low maintenance requirements.  It also had to be designed to consume limited power i.e. less than 1mA in sleep mode.

The Solution: L&T Technology Services (LTTS) created a sensor that continuously transmits vibration data using ZigBee for wireless transmission. In addition, the device tolerates vibration levels up to 6.5 g, and has been designed with a battery life of over 6 months. Wireless standards are helping users, many of whom have been noncommittal or skeptical toward wireless, to more easily deploy wireless field devices or connect existing stranded assets to plant asset management (PAM) systems. With only 20-30 percent of field devices deployed in critical control applications, wireless adoption for less-critical, asset monitoring and similar applications will thrive as the acceptance of wireless standards becomes more widespread. 

Quantifiable Benefits: With the deployment of the wireless sensor, the client could benefit from the following operational advantages:

  • Continuous data transmission and update at every 10 second interval over ZigBee
  • Installation of a sensing device with 3 Axis vibration sensing capabilities
  • Multiple units could be used with a single receiver
  • Eliminated the need for screwing the device unit as magnet was mounted on the conveyor
  • A long battery life up to 8 months
  • Vibration data also included information on acceleration, frequency, amplitude, and battery voltage

Users should always seek opportunities to leverage industry standards such as ISA 108 (intelligent device management) to improve their own plants’ operational performance and help promote application of smart field systems and intelligent device management in their respective industries.

Keywords:  Food Industry, Product Development, Plant Asset Management, L&T Technology Services, ARC Advisory Group, Wireless Devices.

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