Table of contents:
- Monitor wear condition of multi-plate clutches permanently
- Miniaturized sensor nodes deliver measured values to the on-board computer
- Wireless energy supply
- Use rotational energy in the transmission
Video: Miniature Sensors Are Designed To Measure Wear In The Ship's Gearbox - Wirelessly And Energy Self-sufficiently
Temperatures, speeds, torques and vibrations can already be measured wirelessly and bearing data in the gearbox can be identified using the data. Now the scientists at Integrated Production Hanover GmbH (IPH) want to further develop the system so that, for the first time, the state of wear of the torque-transmitting components can be monitored during operation - for example of couplings, shafts or gears. So far, no technologies should exist for this.
Monitor wear condition of multi-plate clutches permanently
First of all, the researchers want to dedicate themselves to the multi-plate clutch, which transmits the power of the engine to the transmission. In the event that the friction linings on the plates wear out, the power transmission works poorly or not at all. The researchers are therefore looking for ways to measure wear. With a remote diagnosis system that continuously monitors the state of wear, it would be possible to plan the maintenance or the replacement of components precisely - this saves costs. In addition, it could practically be ruled out that components would fail while driving.
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The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has also set itself the goal of increasing safety at sea. That is why it is funding the research project "CoMoGear - Condition Monitoring of Marine Gearboxes" with around 350,000 euros and is thus funding the development of the condition monitoring system.
Miniaturized sensor nodes deliver measured values to the on-board computer
At the heart of the system are miniaturized sensor nodes that are installed in the transmission and send measured values to the on-board computer. The researchers face two challenges during development: First, the sensors in the oil-flushed transmission must work. So far, the researchers have only installed sensors on the outside of the transmission housing and, for example, measured vibrations with which, among other things, bearing damage can be detected. No measurements are currently possible within the gearbox.
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Secondly, the energy supply must be ensured, although no power cables are laid in the transmission and no batteries can be replaced during operation. Therefore, the condition monitoring system should work wirelessly and energy self-sufficiently and generate the necessary energy from the environment with the help of energy harvesting technologies.
Wireless energy supply
The researchers have already proven that wireless energy supply works in the previous “DriveCoM” project. The sensors that they developed in this project use the temperature difference between the transmission and seawater to generate energy. Thermal energy converters should generate enough electricity to record temperatures, speeds, torques and vibrations every 20 minutes and send them to the on-board computer. The technology was developed by the IPH together with Reintjes GmbH, Bachmann Monitoring GmbH, Microsensys GmbH and the Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft for Applied Research eV and tested on the gearbox test bench of Reintjes GmbH: bearing damage could be detected using the vibration data.
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Use rotational energy in the transmission
In the new “CoMoGear” project, the partners want to further develop the system so that the wear of rotating components within the gearbox can also be measured. This requires a new way of generating energy, because there are no large temperature differences within the gearbox that can be exploited. That is why the researchers want to use the rotational energy in the transmission to generate electricity for the sensors. The measurement data should not only be regularly transmitted to the on-board computer, but should also be readable with a smartphone using Bluetooth.
Over the next two years, the researchers plan to develop a demonstrator and test it again on the gearbox test bench at Reintjes GmbH. More information about the research project is available here. (sh)
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