Vibration Health Monitoring Systems: A Digital Future

Machinery vibration heath monitoring systems deployed today in military and civilian applications consist of analog sensors individually cabled back to a digital signal processing (DSP) box.  Such analog/digital systems have been the basis for the HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring Systems) industry for the past 25 years and have reached the peak of their technological refinement; there are many aspects of improvement presented by digital platforms that are simply not possible within the technology envelope of legacy systems.  Looking ahead, the challenge for the future is to manage the sensor suite in a digital, bus-based environment in order to realize the myriad advantages that such systems will offer.  Sensor technology is now merging with DSP technology thanks to ever shrinking component geometries resulting in smaller size, lower power consumption and increased software integration.  On-board DSP implementations are powering a new generation of smart sensor applications.  Processing broadband dynamic vibration data at each individual sensor location and reducing it to meaningful outcomes for transmission over a digital bus is now possible thanks to the migration of DSP to each sensor location.  An all-digital sensor management system is now truly possible in a bussed environment.

Advanced Digital Sensor Network: Introducing CAN-MD™

Demand for smart sensor technology is growing at an exponential rate, driven by an increased need for more intelligent data collection systems.  At the same time, transmitting raw dynamic vibration data over a bus is not possible with today’s limited sample rates and transmission speeds.  Many different bus architectures exist, but the Sage-Dytran team has selected CAN bus as the platform for our system. 

Our system utilizes the latest technologies in vibration monitoring by blending high-resolution piezoelectric sensor technology with an integrated miniature signal processor and data output via the wildly popular CAN bus v2.0b interface.  By using the CAN protocol, the processing and data throughput is now sufficient for a truly integrated Vibration Health Monitor (VHM-in-a-sensor).  This sensor offers the ability to collect vibration data and calculate Condition Indicators within the sensor itself, without the need of an external data processor and large wiring loom used with traditional analog IEPE type accelerometers.  The CAN-MD™ sensor can then transmit the vibration data and Condition Indicators (CI) over the CAN bus network for data storage and use by other devices on the network. However, the biggest advantage of this system is its ability to continuously monitor components in ways never before possible.