The only thing I didn’t like when I saw the Emerson CSI Machinery Health Monitor earlier this year was the price. At approximately $7000 a whack, it will be a cold day in a very warm place before every motor train in a process plant can be outfitted with a MHM. Unfortunately, the price point is at least seven times lower than the CSI device.
The problem I see is that I doubt that the CSI device will be installed in large enough numbers at a typical process plant to bring the large cost savings in preventive maintenance that the cost requires for payback.
Partly, I believe this is because the CSI device has too many bells and whistles for many MHM applications. Using pattern recognition software, like John Boland’s Visibit (http://www.visibit.com), and simpler, less expensive sensors, it should be possible to do predictive maintenance on the majority of motor trains in a plant. Perhaps the CSI unit will only be used on the 10 or 12 most important trains.
Why I bring this up is that my vision is just that much closer to becoming a reality.
“The IMI Division of PCB Piezotronics has been granted a U.S. patent (No. 6,889,553) for the Model 682A05 dual 4-20 mA output, DIN rail mount machinery fault detector, an advanced vibration signal conditioner and transmitter designed to provide early warning of imminent machinery failure using PLC, DCS, SCADA, alarm and control systems.” (from a press release I received recently)
In discussion with Eric Yax, the Division Manager of IMI, I found that the device meets some of the criteria that I know are essential for making my vision of a completely connected predictive maintenance system a reality. Admirable as the device is, it falls short on some of the requirements.
The device is designed to monitor motor trains in reasonably close proximity to PLCs on the plant floor. This covers a significant number of the applications, many more than the CSI device does, and I expect IMI to sell a bunch of these babies. Especially since the price is well under $1000.
But what is still needed is a device that will do the same things, but with very low power consumption, the ability to run on batteries, and the ability to have digital connectivity (wireless Ethernet)to the control system.
We’re getting close now. Somebody is going to do it, and then we’ll really see the rich savings in both maintenance cost and increased uptime caused by the practical end of catastrophic motor train failure.
Am I out on a limb on this one? Let me know what you think!