ABB Ability Smart Sensor Now For Use With General Machinery

October 10, 2022 by Gunner Scott

ABB expanded its Ability Smart Sensor capabilities to allow customers to perform predictive and preventative maintenance for not only powertrain equipment, but now general machinery and industrial motors.

Transitioning from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance is key for the future of facility services across various industries. ABB has expanded its Ability Smart Sensor to general machinery and industrial motors which will connect all facility services to a centralized cloud-based location that can easily be monitored and analyzed.


digital monitoring of powertrains

Digital monitoring of powertrains. Connecting the full system of motors, gearboxes, pumps, and drives to the cloud. Image used courtesy of ABB


Condition Monitoring

ABB's initial start in condition monitoring technology was the ABB Digital Powertrain. A cloud-based machinery smart sensor solution for predictive and preventative maintenance for powertrain equipment. 

Current maintenance philosophies for services in the manufacturing industry rely directly on reactive and time-based preventive maintenance. As equipment ages, maintenance teams must regularly schedule downtime for equipment to properly inspect failure points and plan for equipment replacement. If inspections miss any issues, major equipment failure would lead to even lengthier downtimes and larger maintenance costs. 


The ABB Ability Smart Sensor found original use in ABB's Ability Digital Powertrain. Video used courtesy of ABB South East Asia


ABB’s Digital Powertrain focused on providing a technology that can transition from reactive or preventive maintenance to predictive and smart maintenance. The Digital Powertrain brings reliable real-time data to the drive, motors, gearboxes, mounted bearings, and pumps across a building's pump systems to the cloud for analysis and to make informed decisions. 

Service men and women can view the system either as individual components or as an aggregated system, allowing them to foresee and plan for downtime, demolition, and reinstallation of full systems or individual components without the need for forced downtime and mitigating unforeseen failures.

The success of ABB’s Condition Monitoring displayed the effectiveness of the smart sensor technology, and now, ABB has released additional smart sensors for commercial motors and machinery.


ABB Smart Sensor

A key component of any condition monitoring system is the ABB Ability Smart Sensor. The sensor converts standard uncommunicative machinery into a smart device, measuring key maintenance indicators in various sterile and hazardous environments. The sensor's exterior is designed to withstand high levels of vibrations and protect against dust penetration into an array of accelerometers, an ultrasonic microphone, a magnetometer, and a battery.

Available in two sizes, the high performace sensor offers fifteen years of service while the standard sensor can provide up to five years. Certified for ATEX (EU directive), IECEx (global certification for explosive environments), and NEC 500 (hazardous areas), the intended use of the sensors is for pumps, fans, and motors and can measure the following parameters:

Health Parameters: Overall condition, bearing health, vibrational issues, temperature, and acceleration.

Operating Parameters: 3-Axis vibration, RPMs, operation time, electrical supply (voltage, amperage, and frequency), output power, and the total number of starts.


ABB Ability Smart Sensor for general machinery

ABB’s new technology allows for incorporating advanced analytics for commercial motors and machinery. Image used courtesy of ABB


Any failure can result in terrible significant financial loss for plants that rely on continuous processing. Industrial benefits of the ABB Ability Smart Sensor include:

  • Quickly identify areas of inefficiency within systems

  • Extend equipment lifetime

  • Mitigate downtime across systems

  • Discover points for energy savings

  • Reduce maintenance costs

All sensors throughout a facility will read back to a Smart Sensor Gateway via Bluetooth 5.0, which converts all individual sensor information for cloud processing. There are three main modes of accessing information for the Gateway. A Web Portal can be used as a dashboard through a desktop that displays performance data and historical trends and offers user inputs for setting and manipulating alarm sequences. For mobile devices, an app interface is useful for any field work as technicians and maintenance workers work directly on equipment. The cloud monitoring system can be integrated into ERP and SCADA systems for customers with customer requirements via an API.


ABB Expertise

To gain feedback and focus on iterative improvement of the Ability Smart Sensor, ABB shares risk with their customers by implementing long and robust warranty policies on their sensors and providing expertise for installing, implementing, and maintaining their sensors.