Obama and Merkel impressed by ABB's new 'fitness band for motors' at Hanover Fair

2016-04-25 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama were the first to experience a groundbreaking new sensor from ABB during their visit to the Hanover Fair on Monday. As guests of honor at the world’s largest industrial trade show, they were shown how ABB’s latest innovation allows electric motors for the first time to report their condition through a wireless Internet connection.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer - accompanied by Greg Scheu, President of the Americas region, and Hans-Georg Krabbe, Managing Director in Germany - explained how the smart sensing device can be applied to the vast majority of low-voltage (LV) motors, whether new or already in use, making it possible to improve efficiency, reduce downtime and save money. The digital solution enables LV motors to be integrated into the expanding “Internet of Things, Services and People” (IoTSP).

At the ABB stand, Spiesshofer showed the two leaders how easy it is to attach the smart sensor to LV motors, enabling operators for monitor their condition and access cloud-based services. In this way, unexpected breakdowns can be avoided and energy consumption reduced.

“The smart sensor is like a fitness tracker that you wear on your wrist, giving operators full transparency about the health of their electric motors," Spiesshofer said. “The sensor demonstrates our pioneering technology leadership in services that boost productivity in transcontinental digital industry."

The sensor is one of several groundbreaking digital technologies that ABB is presenting at the week-long fair, bringing the company’s IoTSP concept to life at the stand with an eye-catching installation that is the largest in Germany using individually controllable LEDs. Among the IoTSP solutions that enable customers to improve productivity, boost efficiency and develop new business models, ABB also presented Ekip SmartVision, an easy-to-install cloud solution that can be used to monitor, optimize and control complex electrical systems, reducing energy bills.

Easy access to critical data
ABB’s smart sensing solution continuously monitors the LV motors to which they are attached, transmitting information on vibration, temperature and loads, as well as power consumption. Data is uploaded to the cloud, and alerts are generated when a motor is performing sub-optimally and may require maintenance.

The sensing devices can be attached in just minutes to almost any LV induction motor, whether or not it was made by ABB. Industrial systems, in both manufacturing and energy, rely heavily on the use of multiple LV motors, so the performance data provided by the sensors makes life a lot easier for their operators. Traditionally, motors have been checked manually, maintained on a fixed schedule or simply allowed to run until they break down.

‘The new standard’
“This innovative solution makes condition monitoring the new standard for LV motors,” said Pekka Tiitinen, president of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. “Optimized maintenance schedules help reduce maintenance costs greatly. Unscheduled outages are reduced considerably or even eliminated completely.”

The benefits are potentially large, as preventive maintenance can significantly reduce system downtime, extend a motor’s lifetime and avoid collateral damage to other equipment in the event of a failure. Studies have shown that 10 percent of the energy used by industry to power electric motors could be saved; better maintenance is a key factor in achieving these savings. Downtime reductions of up to 70 percent are possible, and the lifetime of the motors can extended by up to 30 percent.

The smart sensing solution will be made available on the market later this year.

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