Intelligent Maintenance Draws Interest

Jay Lee’s tireless evangelistic efforts, as well as promising results of intense academic research, attracted a gathering of approximately 150 engineers and researchers to the Conference Center at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, in Georgetown, Ky., Nov.

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30. This was at least 50 percent larger attendance than the last meeting in May, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The occasion was the Tenth Industry Advisory Board meeting of the Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems (www.imscenter.net), where Lee is director.

Lee is not only Director of the Center, but he is also a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati. This cooperative research Center includes faculty and students not only from UC, but also from the University of Michigan and the University of Missouri–Rolla. Staff from other universities were in attendance to determine if they should also join. Toyota maintained the largest end-user visibility in the research, but General Motors and Boeing were also involved. Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation has had a long time interest in the Center.

Automated Precision, DaimlerChrysler, ETAS, Ford, Harley-Davidson, Komatsu, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Montronix, Omron, PMC, Siemens (Germany), TechSolve, Tongtai Machine Tool and United Technologies are all company members. Advantech Automation, of Cincinnati, added its name to the membership rolls at the conclusion of these meetings. Sponsor companies include Cincinnati Lamb, Cognex, Eagle Technology, Iconics, Kistler, National Instruments, Rexnord, Sensor Synergy and Xerox. .

As reported at the event, joint academic and industry research has led to the development of a “Watchdog Agent.” This is a set of tools that can be used for various types of sensor and machine diagnostics. Developed in the MatLab programming language, it is being ported to C, a more widely used language, so that it can be embedded in devices and become commercially usable.

Researchers reported results and projected new research in various areas of condition monitoring and diagnostics. Typical of the research were papers on “Network Health Monitoring,” “Sensor Performance Degradation Assessment,” “Quality Function Deployment-based Watchdog Agent Tool Selection” and “Watchdog Agent Hardware Platform.” Future research includes projects on a tool for anomaly detection, air compressor bearing prognostics, surge modeling and control for centrifugal compressors and robot health assessment and prognostics.

Gary Mintchell

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