21 June, 2018

Condition monitoring prevents unplanned water treatment plant downtime

25 October, 2016

The Perlenbach water supply association supplies fresh drinking water every day to around 50,000 residents across seven municipalities in the Eifel region of Germany. This equates to around 2.4 million cubic metres of water per year, which needs to be filtered and treated using complex methods.


Increased noise and vibration levels on the centrifugal pumps are often caused by bearing defects, which can result in pump failure, posing a threat to water supplies. To prevent this, Perlenbach decided to change from regular patrol pump monitoring to a continuous online system – the objective being the early detection of any signs of wear or damage to the bearings before the pumps failed.

Vibration and temperature sensors

Schaeffler and its local partner KSA recommended the FAG SmartQB system. As part of a pilot project, two centrifugal pumps were fitted with two SmartQB sensors (for measuring vibration and temperature) and connected via one FAG SmartQB. In the event of any bearing defects, the FAG SmartLamp installed next to the FAG SmartQB illuminates red and the system generates an alarm message. With only two additional clicks on the touchscreen display, the maintenance technician can view more detailed information about the fault and is provided with specific recommended actions.

After a short period of time, the system has proven itself. Due to the information provided by FAG SmartQB and its automatic fault assessment feature that gives an early warning of the onset of any bearing damage, maintenance personnel are now able to react quickly and in a targeted manner.

Both bearings in the 8-stage centrifugal pump were replaced in a very short time, which prevented severe damage to the facility. Unplanned downtime of up to several weeks combined with significant damage amounting to several thousands of euros was therefore prevented.

The pilot project was so successful that Perlenbach is currently considering fitting sensors to additional pumps and integrating the FAG SmartQB system into its internal maintenance alarm management system. In this way, all condition monitoring data can be centralised as well as viewed locally on the FAG SmartQB display.

Local data to cloud-based diagnosis

Vibration monitoring systems are one of the most reliable methods of monitoring the condition of rolling bearings and for detecting the early onset of damage to bearings and other machine components. However, as the use of sensor technologies becomes more and more prevalent, the volume of measurement data available is increasing.

Schaeffler’s FAG SmartQB is an innovative standalone system for monitoring the condition of rotating plant and equipment with fixed or variable speeds from 100 to 15,000 rpm. Due to its automatic fault assessment feature, the system can be operated by maintenance staff with little or no expertise in vibration monitoring technology.




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