Intelligent drive technology is the prerequisite for digitalisation and automation of production. Billed as a pioneer in the industry, NORD Drivesystems manufactures drive solutions in both hardware and software, and supports customers with its communication and application know-how in the Industry 4.0 realm.

NORD claims that its intelligent, networked drives enable continuous condition monitoring, form the basis of predictive maintenance and, in addition, offer intelligent digitised production, advanced maintenance concepts, and new services.

The NORDAC Link field distribution system.
The NORDAC Link field distribution system.

All NORD drives are Industry 4.0 ready and can be directly integrated as active components in Industry 4.0 environments throughout the world, according to Martin Broglia, managing director for NORD Drivesystems Australia, who says the prerequisites for this are the internal PLC as decentralised intelligence and the extensive range of communication options.

“The drive units are compatible with all common field buses and Ethernet-based protocols and provide analogue and digital interfaces for sensors and actuators. Drives are prepared for integration into a cloud and can be connected to various external cloud systems.

“Fast, efficient and comprehensive evaluation of analogue and digital data by the intelligent PLC in the drive electronics forms the basis for modern maintenance and servicing concepts, such as condition monitoring and predictive maintenance,” he said.

Due to continuous monitoring of the field level, as well as linking of communication, sensors, process data, and vital parameters of the drive, deviations from the normal state can be quickly detected.

“Drive operators therefore have the possibility of responding in good time before damage or breakdowns occur,” said Broglia.

Condition-oriented maintenance replaces time-based maintenance. NORD says this results in user benefits such as an increase in plant availability, prevention of unscheduled down times, improved planning of service and maintenance as well as a significant reduction in costs.

At present, NORD is investigating sensorless monitoring of oil ageing and the condition of geared motors with virtual sensors. The aim is a predictive maintenance concept which determines the optimum oil change and maintenance intervals for each individual geared motor, oriented to the actual condition of the geared motor and the gear oil.

“For this, intelligent algorithms evaluate the operating data of the frequency inverter and determines the oil temperature from this information,” said Broglia.

Without the hardware costs for external sensors, oil ageing and the optimum time for replacing the gear unit lubricant can be determined with great reliability, Broglia adds.

“Tests have shown that the oil temperature as measured in tests can be reliably calculated,” he said.

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