Connecting the Offline Equipment

July 25, 2016
Fluke’s new condition monitoring system includes portable sensors and software that send measurements from second-tier equipment into the cloud for trending and analysis.

As the industry chatters about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), manufacturers are left scratching their heads about how to connect all of their plant floor assets. While most critical assets likely have smart sensors built-in, many pumps, heat exchangers, compressors and blowers don’t have the sensors needed to include them as part of the IIoT network.

Fluke, a maker of industrial test and measurement products, set out to solve that problem, and next month the company will introduce a family of portable condition monitoring tools. The set up includes sensors, a gateway and software that connect to the cloud to provide a history of equipment performance before, during and after an event, allowing operators to make preventive maintenance decisions.

The 3500 FC Series Condition Monitoring system is Fluke’s next step toward total asset management, a strategy it outlined last year as part of its Fluke Connect Assets, a family of wireless tools that link test tools to smartphones, dashboards and the cloud where measurements can be viewed, shared and stored for trending and analysis. The latest announcement takes asset management to the second-tier equipment areas that are often overlooked and not connected to the cloud, yet, can cause a major production problem if they stopped unexpectedly.

The 3500 FC Series includes portable wireless AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, power quality and temperature sensors that can be installed in a matter of minutes in electrical panels and on electro-mechanical equipment. The sensors connect to a WiFi gateway to stream data to the Fluke Connect app and desktop dashboards. Users can receive alarms through emails or text messages and remotely access the condition monitoring software from a computer or handheld device.

How it works: The sensors send measurements 24 hours a day for up to 40 days and as frequently as once a second in order to catch intermittent problems when they occur. A gateway receives signals from the sensors up to 30 feet away and streams measurement data to the cloud, feeding Fluke Connect software. Meanwhile, the Fluke Connect Condition Monitoring software and mobile app compares streaming measurements against thresholds to trigger alarms when exceeded and compiles measurements from sensors and Fluke wireless tools to create a comprehensive view of equipment health.

In addition, this streaming data syncs up with the rest of Fluke Connect so that information is integrated into an asset log or work order, for example.

The tools are perfect for in-house maintenance managers and third-party service contractors. And, because the Fluke Condition Monitoring system can be easily moved around the plant, it delivers the versatility to monitor whatever system aspect is necessary to solve a problem. According to the company, measurements can be logged 24/7 and set up with text or email alerts so that technicians and managers can leave the plant with the peace of mind that the problem is being watched.

The Fluke 3500 FC Series Condition Monitoring System will be sold directly by Fluke, in hardware and software bundles. The company is taking pre-orders now, with general availability scheduled for mid-August.

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