How long does ePIG take to set up?
Installation time will depend on the configuration of the machine being monitored. The ePIG box itself requires only 4 self-tapping sheet metal screws to mount at any convenient location. 24 VDC power needs to be supplied, usually from the PLC power supply. Only one sensor needs to be installed, located on the spindle nose. To install the sensor, the spindle will need a small "flat" ground near the forward bearing location, and a drilled, tapped hole to connect the sensor via a small Allen screw. The armored sensor cable will then be routed back to the ePIG box, normally though the cable conduit. These are the only mandatory connections.
During the beta trials at Romeo, ePIG systems were installed and configured on a variety of machines, taking approximately 3-4 hours for skilled trades to install the box and sensor in most cases. Software configuration can be completed in less than 15 minutes.
How does ePIG learn a good cycle vs. a bad cycle?
ePIG determines machine health based on statistical distribution patterns of a filtered vibration signal. During the initial data collection period, ePIG automatically performs statistical analysis and normalization, which establishes distribution limits of both good and bad cycles, based on its algorithmic rule set. ePIG will automatically ignore any bad cycles that may occur during this learn period.
On processes which are "out of control" (not repeatable or unstable), ePIG may be put into an "extract only mode," wherein the statistical data is acquired, but no pass/fail criteria are applied. This avoids having ePIG in a state of constant alarm, yet allows engineers to evaluate the causes and effects of machine problems.
Can I manually set "pass/fail" limits?
Yes. Any user can manually enter values for the pass/fail criteria. However, ePIG's automatic learning process will likely establish a more statistically meaningful criterion than a manually set limit. For users who wish to set more or less stringent testing limits, ePIG will allow complete flexibility via its set-up interface.
Can ePIG adapt to varying speeds and feeds?
Yes. ePIG has been designed to acquire data and automatically adapt to speed/feed changes of up to +15% from the initial learned operating conditions. This allows ePIG to function through machine "tweaks" and normal minor process changes. Changes of more than 15% will require that ePIG re-learn the baseline conditions.
How does ePIG diagnose problems?
ePIG looks for changes in the statistical distribution of the vibration signal, rather than relying on amplitude or frequency content. In addition, ePIG monitors the machine cycle during both the idle and cutting portion of the cycle, which gives it much more sensitivity to faults and part quality issues. When machine problems (bearing faults, chatter, insert breakage, etc.) occur, the vibration distribution patterns change, allowing ePIG to make an accurate assessment of the alarm condition.
How do we interpret data? How much training is required to be able to interpret data?
ePIG is not intended to provide pinpoint diagnosis of a problem (e.g. "forward bearing inner race spall"), but rather to indicate that a serious problem exists in the machine. However, information as to where the problem exists (during idle, machining, part transfer, etc.), allows the user to trace likely sources of problems. ePIG comes complete with "Workstation" software, allowing the user to view historical data and to database all downloaded information, and in many cases, to provide some basic diagnostic path to begin solving the problem. Many problems that ePIG detects are easily found simply though a visual or functional inspection (broken inserts, loose clamps, etc.). The plant's vibration analysis staff can be utilized to further investigate difficult problems. The one-day ePIG introduction class will give the user some basic diagnostic training.
Can ePIG be connected to the PLC to stop a machine when a fault is detected?
Yes, ePIG has digital outputs to indicate fault conditions, as well as to indicate that ePIG is working correctly. These outputs are easily wired to a PLC, warning lamps, or other indicating device. ePIG also has optional auto-paging capability.
Will ePIG work with our current vibration analysis equipment?
Yes. ePIG's analog output can be directly connected to CSI or IRD analytical equipment for "route-based" data collection. However, ePIG's trend data is NOT compatible with commercial maintenance programs such as MasterTrend or Entek. The ePIG Workstation software (included with each ePIG order) is the only software routine that can currently be used to view and trend ePIG data.
How much does ePIG REALLY cost?
The cost of the ePIG box, sensor, armored cable and all software is $1800 per system. Volume pricing is still being investigated. Since installation and setup is simple, each plant or machine supplier should be capable of installing ePIG systems on all critical applications. Training classes are available for skilled trades installers and engineers.
I already have accelerometers installed on my machine spindle. Can I use these instead of the ePIG sensor?
No. The ePIG accelerometer requires a special filter characteristic in order to work correctly with the ePIG hardware. Conventional accelerometers can not be used.
How reliable are the sensors in the manufacturing environment?
The ePIG sensors have proven to be quite reliable during the trial period at Romeo. They are hermetically sealed, ruggedized and capable of operating at high temperatures. Of course, in the event of a severe impact (hammer hit) or other destructive force (yanking them out via the cable), they can be damaged. However, under normal use, we have had no failures at REP.
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