KCF Technologies Blog

Wireless Sensing + Vibration Energy Harvesting = "A Great Combination"

A SmartDiagnostics® vibration sensor and
harvester.  In his article "Wireless Condition
Monitoring Arrives (and Just in Time),"
ARC Senior Analyst, Harry Forbes says,
"...wireless sensing and vibration harvesting
make a great combination."
Established in 1896, Power Engineering magazine is "the comprehensive voice of the power generation industry that provides readers with the critical information needed to remain efficient and competitive in today's market."  That's why, for three years in a row, it has been named the most read and useful magazine in the power industry.  It is ably supplemented by Power Engineering Online, which provides up-to-the-minute energy news, stock quotes, five years of searchable editorial archives, power generation conference schedules and details, and an industry product and services guide.

Among the worthwhile articles in the online archive is "Wireless Condition Monitoring Arrives (and Just in Time)" by Harry Forbes, a specialist in power generation, transmission, and distribution and a Senior Analyst with the ARC Advisory Group.  His overview begins with a survey of then-new wireless predictive maintenance technology, followed by a short but insightful perspective on what it all means, and the future of equipment condition monitoring (ECM) and prognostic aqpproaches in the power gen industry.

So what does Forbes foresee?  To begin with, still greater challenges ahead:

"Today's utility engineer may be responsible for performance of a 500MW or 750 MW unit, where problems with any of roughly 50 rotating shafts located somewhere on the unit can affect unit availability.  Tomorrow's utility engineer is going to confront an even greater challenge.  For one thing, the low cost baseload generation of future power markets will include far greater amounts of wind power.  In the future, engineers will have to monitor the condition of a far larger number of machines, and the machines will not all be located within a few minutes walking distance from their desk."

Forbes believes "that the cost, flexibility, and other advantages of new wireless sensing technologies will expand the coverage of equipment condition monitoring to a far higher fraction of critical equipment in the power generation industry....This will make condition monitoring a greater challenge for utilities, who will rely on a much larger number of machines to deliver power (and profits) during peak hours."

The crucial question ahead: "What recommendations should a utility follow?"

"First, utilities include automated analytics and diagnosis (not just automated data capture) as factors in their evaluation of new EMC offerings."

"Second, they should use wireless sensing systems to expand both internal and external collaboration in the ECM area."

"Third, greater levels of collaboration also will be essential for condition monitoring in the future, so start building this capability now."

"And, finally, wireless sensing and vibration harvesting make a great combination.  Utilities should expect their suppliers to deliver products that leverage this match."

Photo by Christopher Shannon/KCF Technologies.  All rights reserved. 

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