Case studies

RS Components safeguard critical conveyor systems with Pressac machine monitoring sensors

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RS Components use Pressac’s CT clamps to monitor the electrical current used to power their conveyor system. A spike in current can indicate the motors have become overloaded, giving the team chance to fix the issue and preventing a costly breakdown.

Background

With operations in 32 countries, RS Components is the world’s largest distributor of electronic, electrical and industrial components. They offer around 500,000 products from 2,500 leading suppliers and sell through catalogues and trade counters as well as through their ecommerce site, rs-online.com.

At their UK distribution centre in Nuneaton, over 2,000 motors are used to power over 7km of conveyor systems. Tens of thousands of orders are processed daily, meaning the cost of a major breakdown can run into millions.

The challenge

Packing and fulfilling orders is big business at RS, and getting orders out of the door on time is entirely dependent on the motor-powered conveyor system. It’s absolutely essential that the motors are kept in top condition – not just because that makes them more energy efficient, but also because a breakdown could be catastrophic. According to Deloitte 42% of industrial downtime is caused by equipment failure.

As the company’s facilities team identified, the two most critical elements of the conveyor system were the lowerator and elevator, which pass packaging totes between floors during the order fulfillment process. By monitoring the condition and performance of these two parts, they could schedule maintenance when it was needed and avoid costly breakdowns.

The solution

They main three indicators that a motor is running smoothly are vibration, temperature and current. Any changes to normal operating conditions can indicate a fault or potential breakdown, so by monitoring the electrical current drawn the facilities team would have an insight into the health of the motor.

The team retrofitted our CT clamps to the motor control boards – a simple case of clipping the clamps around the conductor, mounting the transmitter and linking to the asset management system. Transmitted data is displayed on a dashboard in the facilities control room. Data can be seen in real time, and any anomalies trigger an alarm and generate a works order.

The results

With a far greater awareness of how well motors are performing, RS Components can now plan maintenance as it’s needed. Any issues can be investigated and fixed quickly, before they become a major problem. Deloitte has found that this approach – known as predictive maintenance – can increase equipment uptime and availability by 10% to 20%, and reduce overall maintenance costs by 5% to 10%.

“Chain tension can be a giveaway, but other than that the only way to detect issues with a motor is by looking at the data. Being able to monitor the operating characteristics, in real time, gives us a far better chance of preventing critical issues.”

Neil Burrows, Facilities Manager, RS Components

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