As experts in the field of connection technology, we have addressed the topic of predictive maintenance to develop solutions for anticipating the service life of cables in the industrial environment.
Cables with a high bending and flexing load are put under extreme pressure, especially in dynamic and positively driven Industrial applications, for example in a cable chain. In Robotic applications, torsional force is an additional factor. Although the cables are specifically constructed for this kind of load, they are still considered a wear and tear part. Despite all of this, . Good cables can withstand several million bending cycles, but they do need to be replaced at this point, if not sooner, as the plant may otherwise fail and unplanned downtimes result.
Our solution for data cables: ETHERLINE® GUARD
What is ETHERLINE® GUARD?
ETHERLINE® GUARD is a stationary monitoring device that continuously monitors an Ethernet cable, detects a decline in performance and displays it with an easy-to-understand parameter - the cable status. Maintenance measures can be planned in advance based on the cable status as a value between 100% and 0%. The device supports copper-based Ethernet data cables compliant with 100BASE-TX according to IEEE 802.3 (at 100 Mbit/s) and is suitable, for example, for EtherCAT, EtherNET/IP and PROFINET applications.
What is the purpose of ETHERLINE® GUARD?
The device is particularly useful for data cables that are exposed to constant mechanical “stress”. This includes movement at high speed and acceleration, changing motion sequences, rotations with very high axial angles of rotation, short cycle times and small bending radii. The device is also used in critical processes, where a downtime would result in high downtime costs or even personal injury.
How and where has ETHERLINE® GUARD proven itself?
ETHERLINE® GUARD was tested by potential customers from the early development stage and optimised thanks to valuable feedback. Successful use in pilot projects in medical engineering, automotive manufacturing and intralogistics, as well as in LAPP's own service and logistics centre, enabled us to improve the functions and product features once again.
ETHERLINE® GUARD continuously determines the performance status of the cable and issues an alarm in good time before the performance falls too far.
Your benefits of using ETHERLINE® GUARD
What makes LAPP's solution so special is that the device is simply connected to the data cable in series; special sensor elements in the cable or a second device on the end of the cable are unnecessary.
More in-depth information: Predictive Maintenance
The key aspect of the Digital transformation is the collection of machine data: motors, valves and sensors independently report their operational status. These data are recorded and evaluated and analysed using algorithms (self-learning or not). The aim is to boost a system’s efficiency or gain an insight into the plant’s current status so that upcoming failures are detected at an early stage. If these data or these processes are uploaded to or run via the cloud, the plant can even be accessed globally. So the days of long distances being an issue are long gone – because everything is networked together and is digital. Mechanical engineering and the automotive industry with their highly automated and time-sensitive manufacturing processes are particularly interested in smart developments. In the worst-case scenario, a single component failing could actually mean that the entire manufacturing process comes to a standstill, which would mean enormous financial damages.
To minimise this risk, predictive maintenance systems that offer the user the opportunity to record and evaluate the maintenance and performance status of any components are on the rise. This gives the plant operator time to determine when a component is about to fail so that they can perform the corresponding maintenance before the plant comes to an unplanned standstill. This condition plays a key role, especially in cost-intensive applications or safety-critical infrastructures. At present, in such plants mainly a preventative approach is pursued based on condition monitoring. This means, wear and tear parts are replaced at pre-defined intervals, regardless of their condition or remaining lifespan.
Predictive maintenance can be used to specifically predict the failure of a plant component. As part of this predictive maintenance approach, plant data are gathered and specifically analysed during ongoing operations. To optimise the plant’s costs and operational safety, the signal for maintenance measures should neither be given too early (high costs) nor too late (plant failure).