Smart sensors to predict machinery malfunctions

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




(2000), "Smart sensors to predict machinery malfunctions", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 52 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Smart sensors to predict machinery malfunctions

Smart sensors to predict machinery malfunctions

Keywords: Sensors, Smart sensors

Intelligent monitoring and warning systems built into standard chips could soon be saving industry huge sums by anticipating critical equipment failure. A new technology, TESPAR, from Domain Dynamics, is proving highly effective at monitoring noise and vibration signals in even the most difficult situations. Real-world feasibility studies indicate that the technology is particularly suited to petrochemical, food processing, transportation, semi-conductor and other industries where plant and equipment malfunctions can drastically disrupt operations and cause huge financial losses.

"With today's more mobile workforce and fast changing technologies you cannot always find an 'old hand' with years of experience to know when 'things don't sound right', explains Ian Taylor, Director, Domain Dynamics. "Although the trained human ear has often been the finest diagnostic instrument, it takes time to pick up these listening skills. TESPAR is providing a reliable automated solution that can identify many faults before they happen and before anyone notices that something could be amiss."

TESPAR has already been proven in a wide range of applications to be a highly sensitive signal processing technology with extremely low memory, processing and power requirements. This means that TESPAR's algorithms can readily be accommodated on a simple 8-bit micro-controller chip and used in hostile and restricted environments.

"TESPAR-inside" Smart Sensors are ideal for fault prediction in machinery where noise or vibration may give clues to impending breakdown. TESPAR is able to analyse and spot subtle changes in complex signals, identifying whether they are significant and if so, raising the alarm.

"We know that in the petrochemical industry, downtime caused by compressor failures, for example, can easily cost £1 million per day per plant - so the figures across the whole of UK. industry must be phenomenal", said Ian Taylor.

"We have proved TESPAR's capabilities in many areas. With Geoquip, we successfully used TESPAR with an environmental sensor (geophone) to detect suspicious activities around perimeter fences and walls. For automotive applications, GenRad licenses TESPAR for sensing, diagnosing and locating vehicle faults during service operations. In yet another application area, Domain Dynamics holds a patent for the detection and prediction of faults in computer disk drives."

For more information contact Ian Taylor, Director, Domain Dynamics Limited, Heaviside Laboratories 12, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, Swindon, UK, SN6 8LA. Tel: +44 (0) 1793782793; Fax: +44 (0) 1793782008. E-mail; Web site:

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