The intelligent revolution in couplings for Industry 4.0
Sascha Markert – Technical-Articles
There are many cases where an expensive torque sensor would be excessive for measuring torque and speed. R+W Antriebselemente has launched a completely new alternative with its intelligent coupling. The product innovation presented here permits recording measurement data directly in the drive train, taking very accurate measurements and simultaneously user-friendly operation.
Some of the objectives underlying the Industrial Inter-net of Things (IIoT) include the optimisation of operational efficiency, cost-cutting in production and moni-toring equipment or machinery. All kinds of production processes can be better adjusted to the prescribed requirements on the basis of the data collected and processed. Constant improvements in process reliability are possible with modern procedures, such as predictive maintenance and artificial intelligence in machines. This cuts throughput times and enhances product quality.
Collecting the data required in the field of drive technology is not always a simple task. Recording measurement data in a rotating drive train is hampered by the fact that direct networking by a cable is either not possible or the installation space needed is lacking. With immediate effect, R+W Antriebselemente will be offering a hard- and software solution that offers user-friendly, versatile deployment in the form of the intelligent coupling.
Tried-and-tested mechanism with smart measurement electronics
The intelligent coupling is an upgraded standard coupling, which offers additional measurement technology functions, thanks to integrated sensors that measure torque, speed, acceleration, rotation and position in space. This data is processed directly in the internal electronics while being simultaneously transmitted and presented in a wirelessly connected mobile device. At the same time, the mechanical properties of the coupling are not impaired by the integrated electronics. In addition, compensation of axial, lateral and angular misalignment and torque transmission are possible.
Networked drive train
The intelligent coupling can be easily and flexibly integrated in the drive train. The installation options are not restricted by a permanent cable connection. Power supply from an integrated battery permits deployment in very cramped spaces or mobile application areas. The measurement data can be transmitted almost in real time to a smartphone or tablet with the R+W app via a Bluetooth Low Energy connection. This features the option of a high transmission rate of 500 Hz or especially low power consumption. Software on the mobile device shows the data as a mean value and with a min/max memory in large, freely configurable views. Various scalable diagram types track the detailed course of the factors measured. For example, any number of measured variables can be presented on top of each other in the multigraph. Measurement data of several couplings can also be graphically illustrated simultaneously and clearly in a diagram. The measurement data can be saved as a CSV file for the purpose of further analysis and imported into Excel on a computer.
Fast and easy recording of measurement data
R+W’s intelligent coupling is a smart alternative to a torque sensor. It provides highly precise measurements of various factors at a low price. The intelligent sensors permit data measurements without having to install an external measuring amplifier. An additional advantage is the small amount of space needed for installation, since no elaborate auxiliary construction is required. Mounting of the intelligent coupling in the drive train is fast and easy as it is integration in pre-existing systems. Alternatively, the sensors can also be retrofitted in pre-mounted couplings.
For greater transparency in the drive train
Among other things, the combinable, time-dependent factors measured can be used to achieve better evaluation and transparency of dynamic behaviour in the rotating drive train. Determining torque and forces can reduce or prevent outage and downtimes, for example, to boost system availability and reliability.
In 2020, even more models with integrated sensors will succeed the intelligent disc pack couplings, but the development will still be far from exhausting its full potential. New functions and various algorithms for evaluating the data measured will ensure that couplings become even more intelligent, setting new standards on the market.