Handheld vibration monitors pay for themselves in two months

Schaeffler has supplied FAG Detector III handheld vibration monitoring systems with modified software to enable Siemens Mobility to check train traction motors for early signs of bearing damage.

Schaeffler UK has supplied two handheld FAG Detector III vibration monitoring systems with modified software to Siemens Mobility and these have paid for themselves within two months by minimising disruption costs to rail operators and by significantly reducing the number of traction motor repairs due to bearing deterioration.

Peter Ridgway, Production Support Engineer at Siemens Mobility, Rolling Stock, comments: "If we detect early signs of wear to traction motor bearings, we can repair or replace that motor at our own convenience before more significant damage occurs. The cost of repairing a damaged traction motor would be many times the cost of a standard overhaul."

Prior to investing in the FAG Detector III handheld vibration monitors, Siemens had been experiencing bearing deterioration problems on some traction motors fitted to the Desiro electrical multiple units. The bogies on these trains are all driven by the same traction motor. What Siemens needed was a method of monitoring the condition of the traction motor bearings in order to predict their remaining operational life and take appropriate corrective action before damage was caused to the motor.

Not a million miles

Ridgway states: "In theory, these traction motors have a service life approaching one million miles before they need overhauling, but we were experiencing some bearing issues earlier than this. In March last year, I therefore started to search for a suitable solution and came across Schaeffler's UK website, which was very helpful."

After talking to Schaeffler UK's Engineering Manager Dr Steve Lacey, Ridgway decided to work with Schaeffler on developing a suitable condition monitoring system.

Between March and October 2010, Schaeffler carried out a comprehensive programme of measuring vibration from around 100 traction motors. This involved measuring vibration on the traction motor housing and assessing the condition of the bearings and other associated mechanical components. The vibration measurements were carried out while the trains were positioned over an underfloor wheel lathe at two of Siemens' rail maintenance workshops in Southampton and Ilford (see photo above). These wheel lathes are used to perform routine wheelset skimming in order to maintain the correct tread profiles.

As Dr Lacey explains: "At the onset of the investigation, I was not very hopeful that simple vibration-based parameters could be used to give a reliable indication of motor condition. However, after carrying out detailed vibration measurements on the traction motor housing, it became apparent that simple characteristic vibration parameters related to the raw signal and signal envelope could be used to give a very reliable indication of the condition of the motor, even in the presence of high background vibration from other sources within the transmission system and the wheel lathe such as the gearbox and axle box, as well as the belts, conveyors and bearings within the lathe itself. We believe this novel solution for assessing the condition of rail traction motors is an industry first and we are very excited about the potential benefits that our FAG Detector III can bring to rail operators."

Special software

Following this in-depth analysis and reporting, Schaeffler developed special software for its FAG Detector III. The aim was to provide Siemens with a device that would be easy to use and that did not require a vibration monitoring expert to interpret the measurement results. The modified Detector III now enables maintenance engineers at Siemens to implement vibration measurements on a routine basis. The device has a new 'Rail-Measurement' menu option with preset limits for the Desiro traction motors.

The train normally comprises four cars (coaches), each with two bogies and two axles per bogie. Each train has eight driven axles, each with their own asynchronous traction motor.

Vibration measurements on the Class 444 and 450 trains (with power collection via a DC third rail) were undertaken on the Southampton wheel lathe at a surface speed of 80m/min. For the Class 360 train (with power collection via AC overhead cables), measurements were obtained on the wheel lathe at Ilford, at a surface speed of 60m/min, which was the maximum speed available. The Desiro motor bogie has two axles, each fitted with a 250kW traction motor driving the wheelset through a 4.15:1 ratio gearbox.

Dr Lacey reports: "Initially, we took measurements horizontally on the traction motor housing at both the drive end and non-drive end positions by attaching an accelerometer with a magnetic base. Prior to attaching the accelerometer, the surface area had to be cleaned with a solvent to remove as much grease and dirt as possible.

"We then collected vibration data using our FAG Bearing Analyser over three frequency bands: 0-200Hz, 0-1kHz and 0-5kHz and using 8096 data points. The results demonstrated that, even amongst the very high background noise and vibration levels, it is possible to detect vibration frequencies that are related to the drive end bearing."

Reliable data

It was proved that simple based parameters such as the RMS (root mean square) of the signal envelope (RMS Env) and the carpet level of the envelope spectrum (CL Env) gave very reliable indications of motor condition.

In most cases it was the drive radial ball bearing that seemed to be experiencing most of the problems, including some deterioration of the raceways and rolling elements. The cause of the damage is still being investigated but is thought to be due to a number of possible reasons, including degradation of the lubricant and possible electrical erosion.

Ridgway concludes: "Siemens is committed to undertaking maintenance to the highest standards of integrity. We have been extremely impressed with Schaeffler's commitment to this project and cannot fault the company's drive and dedication to finding a reliable and practical solution for us. The cost of purchasing the two FAG Detector III units is modest compared to the cost savings we will make due to fewer motor repairs, eliminating the possibility of in-service traction motor failures and the disruption that would cause to our rail operators and networks.

"In addition, we can now properly survey the fleet of trains to assess the condition of their traction motors and to make more informed decisions as to when to overhaul a particular motor."

Follow the link for more information about Schaeffler's FAG Detector III and other condition monitoring systems, call the Marketing Department on +44 (0)121 313 5870 or email info.uk@schaeffler.com.

Schaeffler (UK) Ltd

Unit 308, Fort Dunlop
Fort Parkway
BIRMINGHAM
B24 9FD
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)121 313 5830

info.uk@schaeffler.com

www.schaeffler.co.uk

More applications
3 hours ago
Nabtesco delivers solutions for every drive application
To continue meeting increasing demand, Nabtesco is substantially expanding its production capacities with the construction of a new factory in Hamamatsu, 250 km southwest of the its headquarters in Tokyo – which will double the annual production capacity to two million precision gearboxes by 2026.
21 hours ago
Festo showing ‘Progress in Motion’ at PPMA 2022
The Festo stand at PPMA 2022 will focus on key applications for the process and packaging sector. These include innovative process valve controls, servo-controlled flow wrapping and a new solution for controlling web tension with dancing rollers.
1 day ago
IFM Electronic makes IIoT easy at PPMA 2022
At this year’s PPMA Show, IFM Electronic is focusing on its moneo IIoT platform. This has been developed specifically to provide a convenient solution to the challenge of converting the huge amount of data produced by modern plant and machines into useful information that can be used to reduce downtime, optimise efficiency and cut costs.
1 day ago
Bürkert extends capabilities with Fine Controls partnership
The key distribution partner agreement between Bürkert and Fine Controls brings OEMs or end users in process control a distributor who can supply all the parts necessary to build a complete process system, as well as offering design and specification support.
5 days ago
Individual service for signal integrity
The demands on connection technology performance are constantly increasing. By providing customised support, Phoenix Contact helps customers select connection components to ensure the highest possible signal integrity.
5 days ago
Aveva MES rises in the leader ranks of the latest Gartner report
Aveva’s Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) offering, which is deployed in the UK & Ireland by AVEVA Select partners SolutionsPT, has been recognised as a global leader in industrial software in the latest 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems.
5 days ago
Harwin and MSA Components sign German distribution deal
Harwin is bringing greater strength to its German supply chain through a new strategic partnership with MSA Components. The agreement allows MSA to offer all the latest products from Harwin’s extensive portfolio.
6 days ago
Siemens selected by Microsoft for RAMP Programme
Siemens Digital Industries Software has been selected to participate in the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes (RAMP) Phase II initiative.
6 days ago
Kontron receives VDC Research’s Gold Award for vendor satisfaction
Kontron has been recognised for outstanding customer satisfaction. The company has received the Gold Vendor Satisfaction Award for IoT and Embedded Hardware technology from VDC Research.
6 days ago
Mouser wins Vishay Distributor of the Year Award
Mouser Electronics has received the 2021 High Service Distributor of the Year award from Vishay Intertechnology, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components.

Login / Sign up