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Self diagnostics: an enabler for predictive maintenance

05 August 2017

Food Processing reports on the use of level measurement devices which are able to monitor build up and automatically alert maintenance personnel when cleaning is required. 

Imagine a food production process where devices can diagnose themselves. They would know when something is wrong and send an alarm. If, for example, excessive build-up occurred in a silo or tank measurement sensors would be able to signal the need to clean a process. 
Self-diagnostics has been standard in a variety of Endress+Hauser flow devices since 2012 and its portfolio was recently expanded to include level devices. Instruments incorporating its Heartbeat Technology are able to offer permanent process diagnostics and in-situ diagnostic functions. The highlights for the food industry are devices like the Proline Promag H 100 electromagnetic flowmeter and the radar instruments for level measurement Micropilot FMR52 and FMR62. The flowmeter is designed for applications where space is a premium. The level instruments have a completely PTFE-filled and flush-mounted antenna. The FMR52 is used for continuous, non-contact level measurement of liquids, pastes and slurries, suitable for changing product and process conditions. With the Heartbeat Technology inside it provides a very easy proof test concept SIL applications. The potential of 80GHz technology in the Micropilot FMR62 also enables long measuring ranges up to 80m and a high beam focusing for vessels with many internal fittings.  

Endress + Hauser’s Heartbeat Technology tracks the performance of a device to ensure it is not adversely affected by abrasion, corrosion or sticky build-up. Standardised and clear diagnostic messages are sent regarding what needs to be done in order to maintain the plant economically and as a matter of priority. As the devices run their own diagnostics, proof tests are only necessary in maximum extended cycles. Furthermore, the automatically generated protocols provided by Heartbeat Technology without process interruption support documentation relating to international standards. For future-orientated predictive maintenance the instruments offer parameters to monitor the performance for process optimisation.

Self diagnostics
Instruments which incorporate self-diagnostics allow plants to run more cost-effectively and safely with no interruptions. A simple, predefined procedure will guide the maintenance team through the verification procedure and, at the end, the verification results are documented. The SIL test, according to the safety manual and documentation, saves time and reduces costs and an automatically generated verification protocol supports the evidence demanded by regulations, laws or plant standards. 

The data acquired through self-diagnostics facilitates trend recognition for the implementation of predictive maintenance programmes. A combination of instrument and process parameters provides the information needed to undertake the next steps in maintenance, or for targeted process optimisation. 

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