Water works & Condition monitoring

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Based in the Eifel region of Germany, the Perlenbach Water Supply Association is using the condition monitoring of Schaeffler’s new FAG SmartQB, which can identify problems in advance and then recommend preventative actions to be taken.

The SmartQB unit has been released in Australia and provides information about the condition of up to six machines or assemblies using plain text messages.

“The technology used by the Perlenbach Water Supply Association is readily available across Australasia, and is our easiest to use condition monitoring device,” says Mark Ciechanowicz, Industrial Services Manager, Schaeffler Australia. “It’s designed to generate plain text messages on its screen, so that any in-house technician can operated the unit without additional knowledge of vibration technology.”

The Perlenbach Water Supply Association supplies fresh drinking water to roughly 50,000 residents in seven municipalities in the Eifel region each day. Around 2.4 cubic meters of water is supplied in the area each year, which has been filtered and treated using complex methods until it meets the high requirements defined in the German drinking water regulations.

This system has proven to be reliable only after a short period. The maintenance personnel were able to react quickly and in a targeted manner thanks to the information and specific fault assessment provided at an early stage about the onset of bearing damage. Both bearings in the 8-stage centrifugal pump were replaced by the maintenance staff in an extremely short period of time, thereby preventing severe damage to the facility. Unplanned downtimes of up to several weeks in combination with considerable damage could be prevented this way.

Increased vibrations and noise on the centrifugal pumps are often due to bearing abnormalities. These irregularities may cause the centrifugal pumps to fail and thus pose a threat to the supply of water. To prevent this, the Perlenbach water supply association decided to change from a temporary pump monitoring system to a continuous pump monitoring system. The objective was to generate long advanced warning times.

As part of a pilot project at the association, two centrifugal pumps were equipped with two FAG SmartQB sensors each and linked with the FAG SmartQB. In the event of irregularities, the FAG SmartLamp installed adjacent the FAG SmartQB illuminates red and the system generates a message. With only two extra clicks on the touch display, the maintenance technician can view more detailed data about the fault and specific recommended actions.


Henry Sapiecha

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