Sensslip Helps To Increase Drive-Belt Efficiency

Tenants at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham are working to design a system to cut costs and make lower-carbon manufacturing processes a commercial reality. Sensdata has developed a cost-effective drive-monitoring system and, in partnership with Drive Management Services (DMS), it hopes to deliver a system that increases the efficiency of vee-belts, which in turn will reduce plant downtime, energy waste and CO2 emissions. The Sensslip system automatically monitors slippage in drive belts, which are widely used in manufacturing equipment.

DMS managing director Allan Findlow believes the Sensslip system has a major part to play in enabling modern-day engineers to analyse critical plant driven by vee-belts. He believes it could save thousands of pounds spent on lost electrical energy. In a trial at Corus's Stocksbridge site, the system revealed its benefits. Chris Spenceley, energy-services engineer at Corus, said: 'We have a number of heat-treatment furnaces at the Stocksbridge site equipped with combustion air- and fume-extraction fans that are powered by large motors.

'They are fuelled by either natural gas or heavy fuel oil. 'We therefore also have lots of vee-belts. 'While most obvious safety systems are closely monitored, the vee-belt is often given low priority if any and you tend to forget about it,' he added. Corus did not have a structured vee-belt slip-monitoring system in place, despite the fact that a failed vee-belt meant the furnace could be shut down for three to four hours and steel in the process could be scrapped or need additional treatment.

'In critical areas we can't afford them to fail, and therefore we change the belts twice a year during planned shut-downs to ensure they are replaced before their expected failure time - whether needed or not. 'This incurs additional costs,' Spenceley explained. After agreeing to a trial, Corus was impressed by the Sensdata system. In just one sample period of monitoring a belt, over 4.3 days of continuous running, Sensdata confirmed the transmission drive was sometimes running at only 82 per cent efficiency.

Accepted industry parameters are that vee-belts should provide peak efficiency of between 95-98 per cent when first installed. This could equate to more than GBP9,290 of energy wasted from just one vee-belt drive system. The Sensslip system complements condition-monitoring systems developed and provided by DMS. The engineering consultancy works with blue chip and SME organisations across a range of sectors including manufacturing, water treatment, building supplies and food production. It offers a range of condition-monitoring products and services designed to eliminate downtime and lost production as a result of machine failure.

Findlow said: 'Sensdata's system adds value to our existing product and service range. 'Through our current trials of Sensslip we are able to collect anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness, giving us facts and figures to promote the system to existing and potential clients suffering similar problems with vee-belts,' he finished. DMS hopes to integrate the Sensdata system into its newly developed web-based condition-monitoring system, thereby opening new markets to both companies and giving UK manufacturers a competitive advantage while at the same time implementing low-carbon processes.


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