NI launches wireless hardware for online asset condition monitoring

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Automated test and measurement solution provider National Instruments () has launched a new wireless monitoring hardware for for online condition monitoring on the market with full access to data and customization with the Software Development Kit.

The new wireless devices automate the otherwise manual process of route-based data collection, so reliability engineers can spend more time analyzing data and solving problems and less time climbing stairs with instrumentation and personal protection equipment to collect data.

With InsightCM and the new wireless devices, plant maintenance teams that rely on manual, route-based data collection for plant assets can now achieve daily visibility into machine health. And, unlike many wireless devices on the market, the new NI wireless devices transmit diagnostic quality waveform data back to the InsightCM server so subject matter experts can immediately respond to alerts with a laptop rather than making a trip to the plant.

This wireless hardware helps plant owners connect a greater percentage of their assets to IT networks by drastically reducing the costs associated with installation: conduit, cabling and plant design work. “It takes us days to install continuous monitoring systems, but with wireless, it’s closer to hours so we can connect more equipment in less time and for less cost. More connected assets will mean fewer routes and a shift in focus to data analysis rather than data collection,” said Chuck Requet, group leader, Engineering for Generation Services, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities Energy. “For the same FMax [useable frequency range], the NI wireless device data quality is as good as our wired continuous monitoring devices.”

Ian Fountain, NI’s director of marketing for Industrial IoT applications, said, “The new wireless hardware transmits data with the quality needed by maintenance engineers and lowers the cost of install – compared to wired monitoring systems – helping reduce time needed to recoup project costs during a digital transformation.”

The new wireless monitoring hardware encompasses two separate devices with support for InsightCM. The NI Wireless Vibration Measurement Device connects 12 standard piezoelectric accelerometers, or ±30 V sensors such as proximity probes, and is ideal for hard-to-access equipment that already has sensors installed. The monitoring device connects to the sensor junction box that would otherwise be used for handheld route instrumentation.

AC, DC and battery-powered options are available. The battery-powered NI Wireless Vibration Sensor has an onboard MEMS triaxial accelerometer with a temperature sensor. Maintenance teams install the wireless sensor with the same installation methods used for piezoelectric accelerometers: magnetic-mount accessory or epoxy pads.

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