SpotSee reported it will release in Q1 2020 an ethernet-wired version of its successful stand-alone machine vibration monitoring solution for immobile equipment, OpsWatch. With the release, “you will have a WiFi option as well as an ethernet-connected option,” Tyson Stuelpe, vice president, global sales and marketing, SpotSee, said. The latter “is in the final stages of development.”

The need for wiring occurs when the equipment the OpsWatch device monitors acts like a faraday cage, blocking WiFi, or when the equipment is remotely located and connectivity is unavailable.

The company reported the wired version of the device would be ideal for some conveyors, elevators, rollers, kilns and motors. “It could also monitor compressors, engines, any part of the mining operation that involves reciprocating or rotating motor that is potentially going to fail during operation,” Kraig Nunn, technical sales manager, SpotSee, said.

Released in 2017, OpsWatch, described as a triaxial accelerometer, “monitors low-level impact and vibration of equipment while in operation,” the company reported. It measures the values of vibration and transmits them to the SpotSee cloud. Users access the data using a web browser on a computer or a mobile device. The data is built into charts that clearly show any “changes in the impact and vibration signature in real time.”

The changes detected ideally can be seen as “early warning signs that part of the system being monitored is beginning to experience unexpected stresses and these stresses can eventually trigger system failure,” Spotsee reported.

The stand-alone device, which gets its electricity from the equipment it monitors, is 4 in. by 3 in. by 3 in. and can be attached with magnets, adhesives, screws or bolts. “It lends itself to be applied in multiple different locations, so it is very simple to attach,” Nunn said.

OpsWatch offers numerous benefits, according to SpotSee.

According to company literature, OpsWatch offers 10 times more transmit power than the competition to ensure superior radio link reliability. Part of that means it offers greater volume of data communication. It requires no battery, so there is no need for replacement and no battery temperature constraints.

With a low frequency floor, OpsWatch is capable of monitoring a wide range of equipment, including slowly rotating equipment, the company reported. “Lower frequency vibrations have higher damage potential.”

Along those lines, OpsWatch can provide measurements as small as 7 mm per second, and as high as 2,000 mm per second.

Other benefits include alerts or notifications, and the ability to configure the unit through any WiFi-enabled device.

Nunn said the device is designed for applications in extreme environments. “It is basically sealed to IP 67, which means it is basically submersible in liquid up to a meter for about an hour,” he said. “The devices can withstand temperatures between -40°C up to 85°C.”

The WiFi-ready version is ATEX certified. Stuelpe said the wired version will be Class 1 Div. 2.

New to the metals mining space, OpsWatch has been field proven in the oil and gas space and at frac sand ops.

The company reported that it was deployed last year to a frac sand facility where it monitored a silo elevator. After “an unexpected impact strike was recorded,” the OpsWatch “began recoding chatter,” SpotSee reported. “Something was causing frequent low impacts that were not part of the normal signature of the equipment.”

The maintenance team checked and discovered the elevator needed service. Afterwards, “the elevator was restarted and the chatter was no longer recorded and the facility avoided equipment degradation and potential failure,” SpotSee reported.

Its use at the frac sand op proved that the device is well-suited for operations “that have the greatest cost of downtime,” Stuelpe said. “Whether it is in the mines themselves or the transload facilities that are used to convey the sand, either one of those could contribute to missed shipments of sands and they get charged a very significant amount for that,” he said. “The point is where you have that acute issue, those are really the places where it makes the most sense for those companies to make sure that they have vibration monitoring equipment to prevent the potential downtime.”

Successful deployment at the frac sand op also proved OpsWatch allows remote operations to inexpensively continuously monitor large pieces of equipment, Stuelpe said. At such operations, located in the middle of nowhere, “they have huge pieces of equipment that often are being left unmonitored or they are monitored occasionally by handheld vibration devices,” he said. “On a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly frequency, they will go in and monitor and take a vibration reading.”

That is often enough right up until it is not. “The problem with that is we’ve seen that for something to go wrong, it can happen in a matter of hours, and so if you leave big gaps between your readings you can have equipment that goes down seemingly without any indication,” he said. “OpsWatch presents a huge opportunity for these mines or other facilities.”

In most cases, OpsWatch pays for itself with the first prevented downtime event, Stuelpe said. “Our devices go for $2,000 to $2,500 a piece; so, obviously the return on investment can happen extremely quickly just by preventing that type of failure,” he said. “The ROI could be in no time at all.”

Both versions help SpotSee expand its marketshare, Nunn said. “It is expanding our capabilities to fixed equipment where previously all our devices have been for monitoring transport.”

And it expands those capabilities to remote, rugged sites, Stuelpe said. “That is where we think OpsWatch fits in best.”

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