SKF innovates with intelligent wireless bearing technology
SKF launches SKF Insight™, an innovation in intelligent wireless technologies that are integrated into SKF bearings. SKF developments in various smart technologies now enable bearings to communicate their operating conditions continuously, with internally powered sensors and data acquisition electronics.
“These innovations are set to revolutionize condition monitoring for bearings, especially in critical machinery and technically challenging applications. SKF Insight technology will make condition monitoring more widely available, especially in applications where it was previously impossible or impractical,” says Tom Johnstone, SKF President and CEO. “With our integrated diagnostic technology, our customers can get even better control over the life cycle of their machinery, leading to lower total costs with higher reliability and machinery uptime.”
SKF Senior Vice President, Group Technology Development, Alan Begg adds, “Three years ago we had a vision to create an integrated, self-powered sensor package that could wirelessly communicate the condition of a bearing at any time – making a smart bearing capable of sending a message when something happens to it. Following extensive R&D work, including miniaturization, solving power generation challenges and developing unique packaging of sensors and electronics, the introduction of SKF Insight technology makes this a reality.”
Monitoring directly on the bearing
Prior to SKF Insight, condition monitoring techniques could only monitor damage after it has occurred. Now, by sensing directly on the bearing, SKF is able to monitor the damage from the first microscopic effect as it is happening, and with this information, customers can take remedial action to reduce the reason for damage in the bearing – adding lubricant, mitigating transient overloads, etc.
In addition, by monitoring the load directly on the bearing, SKF Insight makes it possible to measure the load the bearing actually experiences rather than what it was designed for. This valuable information can be routed back into the design phase to improve both the system and bearing design.
SKF Insight technology includes:
- Miniaturization – Packaging of sensor technologies enables measurement of critical parameters such as RPM, temperature, velocity, vibration, load and other features.
- Self-powered – Using the application environment itself, smart bearings can generate their own power needed to operate.
- Simplicity – Intelligent wireless communication technology packaged inside the bearing enables it to communicate within environments where traditional WiFi cannot operate.
- Smart networks – Communicating through each other and via a wireless gateway, bearings with SKF Insight form a “mesh network” and can send information relevant to their condition for analysis.
SKF Insight application specific solutions are under trial with key customers in industries including wind energy, railways and metals, and SKF is actively developing more application trials in other industries.
I would be very interested in understanding how this innovation is achieved. What is the communication protocol of the wireless information? How is it self-powered? Do you have any clue?