Proper maintenance of low voltage motors is essential if they’re to last and deliver value, but unfortunately, not all units are given the attention they need. Generally, this is because there is a fairly significant time and cost consideration when it comes to monitoring the condition of potentially dozens of motors. Permanent monitoring solutions can be expensive, and of course there’s the manpower and specialist knowledge required to go and check on each motor. ABB Ability Smart Sensor technology aims to change that however, by making it both easy and cost effective to keep an eye on the status of all your motors. Here’s a quick run-through of how this technology works, and what it could mean for your business.

So how does it work?

The main innovation here is the use of a very compact sensor unit, which is attached to the side of the motor. From this little unit, numerous parameters can be monitored, including temperature, vibration, general condition and more. Many low voltage ABB motors will now come with this technology from the factory, but it can actually be retrofitted too, which is great news for those businesses that want to implement this new monitoring system without replacing any of their current stock of motors. What’s more is that the kits are compatible with motors from other manufacturers too, and they can be fitted in the field within minutes - you don’t need to remove the unit for servicing.

Each sensor unit then transmits all of the data that it gathers to a device such as a smartphone or PC, allowing engineers and other users to very quickly view the information in an easy-to-read interface. It’s expected that ABB will introduce a cloud service in the near future, which means that the data will be stored with their servers after passing through a gateway.

What does this mean for your business?

The biggest benefit of course is that you’re now able to quickly and simply see which motors need maintenance, in what way, and how urgent it is. ABB are using a traffic light system for each motor, which indicates whether the unit is running well, whether it is due for maintenance, or if it requires urgent attention. The idea is that you’ll be able to see issues arise before they have a chance to become a problem, and you can keep all of your units running well and delivering value. This could have a potentially large impact on cost - it’s cheaper to fix than replace, and it’s cheaper to maintain than it is to fix. ABB’s estimates suggest that the sensor units will pay for themselves within a year.

Data will be stored too, and can be tracked over time, which allows you to see trends and make judgements about all manner of things, including power consumption and productivity.

What does the future hold?

In the age of ‘big data’ and the ‘internet of things’ however, there are added benefits, which are likely to improve as ABB increases the functionality of this technology. The initial release of is just the beginning. These sensor units are essentially turning straightforward machines into smart, connected devices that can help users, engineers and owners make better decisions about how their motors are used. Plant-wide optimisation will be possible, reducing power consumption and reducing costs.

Call us on 01614329995 for more information about this technology, and about how we can help you with your low voltage motor needs.