Cloud Computing Brings Test Data Down to Earth

From helicopters to medical screening CT machines, air-conditioning units and cars, manufacturers depend on accurate sound and vibration measurements to assess quality and confirm correct operation. These measurements need to be accurate, repeatable and easy to obtain. Organizations also need a straightforward way to share these measurements with experts round the world, to get good diagnostic results and quickly resolve any issues.

How do you take precision vibration and noise measurements of a helicopter gearbox in a remote location? Companies can’t have experts everywhere to take these measurements, but the data needs to be captured and analyzed wherever the helicopter is located and decisions and action taken based on the results.

Using simplified instrumentation and a globally networked data management solution makes it easy for non-specialized technicians to take measurements in the field and then share this data with experts anywhere in the world, who can decide the best course of action.

Straightforward measurement

It all starts with accurate, repeatable measurements that are easy to perform using instrumentation in the field, so that regardless of where your equipment is, technicians can get reliable data, without having to be skilled in noise and vibration measurements.

Being able to take reliable measurements is just the first step. The information is useless if it simply sits on someone’s computer and cannot be shared with others who need it.

So, rather than storing it locally, the data is transmitted to a cloud-based system using the Internet. In the cloud, Brüel & Kjær looks after the measurement data in a form that means authorized people can access it.

Automatic diagnostics of product quality and performance

Once measurement data is captured in the field and sent to the cloud, it is automatically processed to determine a pass/fail result, based on specific criteria validated by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

If a measurement result fails this initial screening, then companies have various options, depending on the specific equipment. For the gearbox in the helicopter, for example, a detected problem could mean the helicopter is grounded until the issue is solved.

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Cloud-based data management can significantly improve helicopter gearbox field maintenance.

Cloud-based data management can significantly improve helicopter gearbox field maintenance.

Data anytime, anywhere, accessible to anyone

But how do companies solve problems that have been detected? If you do get a failure, then often the measurements need to be referred to a specialist (for example, a specialist in helicopter gearbox maintenance) who can determine what needs to be done. By reviewing and analyzing the sound and vibration data further, an expert can decide if the failure can be overridden or how to rectify the condition.

Working together with the OEMs, Brüel & Kjær makes it easy for the essential data needed for assessing and resolving an issue to be shared with specialists, wherever they are.

Via the database in the cloud, this solution is a reliable way to share measurements so that you can concentrate on cost-effective operations and avoid downtime due to equipment failure.

An efficient operation based on accessible information is crucial for business profitability, whether it’s a helicopter gearbox, a generator in a powerplant, or a CT machine in a hospital.

A cloud-based data management system can significantly improve field maintenance – regardless of where your products are in relation to your headquarters or technical specialists.

Production line measurements

The same data management solution can also be used to establish and monitor product quality on production lines during manufacture. For example, in the case of medical CT machines, the performance of the bearings used in the machines can be measured as they are released from the production line at the manufacturer. This confirms that the parts meet stated quality criteria.

Similarly, data is sent to the cloud where it can be accessed remotely. Manufacturing facilities are routinely located away from the equipment design facilities, in different countries and different time zones. Often manufacturing is outsourced to different companies. Cloud-based data management enables the production test data to easily be shared with the OEMs in real time.

By reviewing and analyzing the sound and vibration data further, an expert can decide if the failure can be overridden

The benefits of this include:

  • OEMs can obtain early warnings of any changes in component quality before they start to fail quality criteria. This allows action to be taken without yield dropping or production stopping
  • Saving time and money because production quality issues can be resolved remotely, avoiding having to send experts from the OEM every time a problem is detected at the manufacturing plant

Obtaining measurement data from the production line and being able to easily share this information with experts anywhere in the world helps to maintain quality levels and manufacturing throughput.

Noise and vibration maintenance check results for CT machines can be recorded and stored in the cloud.

Noise and vibration maintenance check results for CT machines can be recorded and stored in the cloud.

Avoid operating failures and costly downtime

Continuing the example of the bearings, once they are manufactured, they are installed in CT machines, which are then delivered to hospitals around the globe. During the operating life of the machine, maintenance technicians can use Brüel & Kjær’s instrumentation to carry out easy-to-run, routine, noise and vibration maintenance checks, and the results can be recorded and stored in the cloud.

In the event of problems or concerns over operation, the OEM can access this information in a centralized database and advise on any problems and on how to resolve them. Because the data gets to the experts quickly, the fault can be diagnosed and resolved quickly, which reduces downtime and provides a better result for the hospital and, ultimately, the patients who need a CT scan.

Safe storage, simple retrieval, long-term datasets

Because all the measurements are securely stored and are easy to access and analyze, you can look at trends in the noise and vibration data going back many years. For the CT machines, for example, you can see when the performance of the bearings is degrading. Over time, you can look at aggregates of your data and can anticipate when failures might occur. For example, perhaps failures start to happen when the bearings show a particular vibration characteristic. This might suggest preventative maintenance procedures can be adapted to change bearings less regularly, based on how much the machine is used, which optimizes costs and minimizes downtime.

Many diverse organizations and manufacturers can use a cloud-based data management solution to improve the routine maintenance of different types of equipment out in the field. The testing is easy to perform, so reliable measurements can be taken by non-specialized technicians. You can quickly obtain pass/fail results and, because you can easily share this data with your equipment specialists and experts, you can get good diagnostics and a quick resolution of any issues.

Ultimately, accurate vibration measurements in the field, with easily accessible results

Ultimately, accurate vibration measurements in the field, with easily accessible results, help to maximize uptime, optimize preventative maintenance cycles, and facilitate a quick resolution of issues. And the secure, long-term storage of data also means that the solution can be used to generate insights that positively influence maintenance procedures, for the long-term benefit of businesses.

Brüel & Kjær’s Web Test Advisor

The Web Test Advisor is a new development from Brüel & Kjær that couples sound and vibration test equipment with cloud processing and storage, to share data between stakeholders around the globe.

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Data is captured in real-time from PULSE production line test systems, or from hand-held devices like Hand-held Analyzer Type 2250 and transmitted to the cloud for secure storage. Data can be automatically processed with diagnostics results transmitted immediately back to site, or alerts sent to other parties to take immediate action.

Test results are accessed through a Web-based dashboard by authorized users from anywhere connected via the Internet. The dashboard enables individual tests to be accessed through simple metadata searches. The results can be displayed and downloaded locally for further analysis in a variety of applications. Data remains securely stored and accessible for as long as the service subscription is active.

As well as test results, the dashboard shows performance data. On a production line, this can be a real-time display of throughput, yield and failure modes aggregated across multiple production lines and manufacturing facilities in different countries. For in-field product maintenance, this could be the number of units tested, failure rate and, for example, the number of failed cases still open for resolution.

Web Test Advisor

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