Smart chain condition monitoring system from iwis

Posted 24 May 2021
Iwis monitoraggio catene CCM-S

Iwis antriebssysteme presents CCM-S, an in-house developed and patented monitoring system that continuously measures the wear elongation of chains during operations, in order to prevent production downtimes resulting from unscheduled maintenance and repairs.

In the path to predictive maintenance, and in the context of Industry 4.0, the system permanently monitors chain elongation and provides a timely warning so that appropriate action can be taken. If chains stretch and wear as a result of temperature and load, or if chains running in parallel have different lengths, even a deviation of 1% from the nominal chain pitch can lead to problems in a machine. The patented system enables companies to take early measures by providing maintenance staff with timely information as to when certain measures need to be taken and whether a chain needs to be re-tensioned or replaced.

The system’s intelligent data analysis enables service staff to plan service activities and personnel requirements in advance. “Continuous chain elongation measurement offers some decisive benefits for our customers – says Florian Wimmer, value engineer at iwis -. These include fewer downtimes and interruptions to production on machines and systems, which can jeopardize a company’s ability to meet promised delivery dates. If maintenance can be planned, the maintenance staff can react in good time with the help of our system”.

monitoraggio condizioni catene CCM-S IwisCCM-S also helps reducing the time needed for maintenance, by telling engineers which drive chain needs to be replaced before the system is opened up. These benefits allow customers to get the most out of their equipment and increase machine utilisation and productivity. The CCM-S system measures chain elongation without any contact and does not actively intervene in the chain drive. In the CCM-S, iwis has developed a monitoring system that makes use of the physical principle of induction: the chain rollers move past the coils of the sensor and can thus be identified as a metallic unit.

The solution is plug and play and installation is easy, not requiring to preset any values or perform any calibration in the application. The module is simply installed in the machine and the system is ready for use as soon as the cable is plugged in. If the module is installed in an existing chain drive, users can immediately start evaluating the data on wear in the chain drive using either iwis software or IO-Link. The system can also take measurements irrespective of the speed. It always records two readings at two different sensor locations, with both readings being taken at the same time.

The company’s developers also wanted to make the smart solution as widely applicable as possible and designed the monitoring system for different chain sizes. Since the CCM-S detects only one strand of the chain, it can also monitor duplex and triplex chains. The solution can be quickly and easily retrofitted in a variety of applications without the use of special attachments on the chains. Thanks to an SLE function (Segment Link Elongation), the system does not only record elongation of the entire chain in the system. Using the SLE function, the entire chain can be subdivided into individual segments. These are measured individually and assessed for differences from the average chain elongation. To achieve this, magnets must be attached to both sides of the outer plates of the chain strand in order to define a start/end point. This allows the system to generate a bar chart showing the elongation of individual chain segments.

Finally, CCM-S can also measure the temperature at the sliding guide on the surface of the chain rollers thanks to a dedicated sensor. A lack of lubrication can be indicated by excessive chain strand temperatures. A further sensor also measures the temperature of the CPU inside the CCM-S. Furthermore, if the chain hits the sliding guide of the CCM-S, this is registered by a jolt sensor in the CCM-S. This can, for instance, be caused by stiff links, which in turn result from inadequate lubrication. At last, chain pitches larger than 50.8mm can be handled by combining two CCM-S modules and mounting them one behind the other on one chain strand. Each CCM-S then works as a single sensor.

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