SKF's wireless machine condition sensor uses the WirelessHart communication protocol and provides dynamic vibration and temperature data for condition monitoring and machinery diagnostic applications. The product has ATEX Zone 0 certification, which means that it can also be used in hazardous environments, for example those found in petrochemical, oil and gas, or pharmaceutical plants. The sensor combines both sensor and router node into one compact and battery-operated unit the size of a typical industrial accelerometer.
The sensors communicate with each other, and with a wireless gateway, creating a mesh network. This type of network and communication protocol is designed for monitoring rotating machinery throughout large plants, in hard to reach locations, or in areas where traditional WiFi communications will not work.
The SKF wireless machine condition sensor operates in a low power consumption mode, allowing the battery to last for years in the field. Communication capabilities include relaying data from one node to another, relaying data back to the gateway, and receiving automated commands from the wireless sensor device manager software that initiate the measurement and processing circuits to take data and transmit it back over the network. If a node is unable to receive signals directly from the WirelessHART gateway, it will instead send and receive its data through a nearby node that can pass the data to and from the gateway – ultimately creating the mesh network.
Once data is collected, the WirelessHART gateway communicates with the wireless sensor device manager software supplied by SKF. Device Manager then automatically exports the data into a diagnostic and analytic software package, where a plant engineer can analyze the data and determine a course of action.