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ABB Ability smart sensor enables preventative maintenance to be scheduled to prevent unplanned outages

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The ABB Ability smart sensor attaches to a mounted bearing and employs temperature and vibration sensors to accurately track the health and performance parameters of the asset at regular intervals and identify problems before they occur.

Bearings are a critical component of an overall system and are often an initial indicator of system issues that could result in unexpected breakdown. The smart sensor platform allows plant maintenance personnel to get an indication of the bearing’s ‘health’ more efficiently than would be possible through manual data collection, which in turn helps to schedule necessary maintenance, improve reliability and safety, and extend the life of equipment while reducing costly unplanned downtime.

The integrated Nordic nRF52832 SoC sends the collected diagnostic data from the device in the field to the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone and/or an ABB gateway via Bluetooth LE connectivity. The raw condition data is then transmitted to a secure cloud-based server, where it is analysed. The data is then stored and displayed graphically within the proprietary ABB Ability portal on a tablet or PC for further analysis. The server also provides status information, alarm notifications and analytics results about the equipment back to the Android- and iOS-compatible ABB Ability smart sensor app on a user’s smartphone, making it easy for maintenance managers and reliability engineers to remotely track the health condition of bearings, motors and pumps at any time.

The nRF52832 SoC’s high link budget 2.4GHz radio offers a maximum receive (RX) sensitivity of -96-dBm and a maximum transmit (TX) output of +4-dBm, and a total link budget of >100dBm. Combined with Bluetooth LE’s robust frequency hopping, this enables the sensor device to transmit rf signals in challenging environments where machines are often located.

The Ability smart sensor achieves an expected battery life of approximately two years depending on external conditions. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimise power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent, compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT and proprietary 2.4GHz rf protocol software). This features 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5.2-certifed rf software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections and enables concurrent role operation.

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