SKF Wireless Sensors Enable Automated Machine Monitoring in Heavy Industries

April 01, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

SKF release accurate and highly robust sensors to enable manufacturers to cope with the demands of increased production.

SKF is leading manufacturers for rotation equipment. The company develops, designs and manufactures bearings, seals, lubrication systems, and offers solutions such as machine health assessment,  reliability engineering and remanufacturing services. 

Industrial plants can come under increased pressure to deliver their products when demands increase. If the maintenance and reliability of automated rotating machinery are compromised this can disrupt productivity, resulting in reduced capital investment.

To maintain the condition of rotating parts and monitor for any inefficiencies of heavy industrial machinery,

SKF has released a compact, cost-effective vibration and temperature sensor. SKF's Enlight Collect IMx-1 is primarily used as a part of their Rotating Equipment Performance solution (REP). The IMx-1 sensor allows users to reduce expensive unplanned downtime and reduce maintenance costs. 


The SKF Enlight Collect IMx-1 Sensor

The cost-effective sensor negates the need for the collection of machinery health data through manual portable devices. Using the long-lasting (4-year battery lifetime), wireless IMx-1 sensor, engineers and technicians can save time and unnecessary equipment handling.

The data is easily received by the sensor and transmitted to a host computer network. The data can then be forwarded on to cloud-based analysis services at SKF REP centers.



The SKF Enlight Collect IMx-1 Sensor. Image used courtesy of SKF


The IMx-1 utilizes a low energy “mesh network” to communicate with a large number of other sensors within its vicinity. This capability allows the data to be transmitted over a longer distance than would be possible with a single device.

Additionally, radio interference from things like pipework or large storage vessels can be avoided.

The sensor also allows for reliable and consistent data collection. Using SKF acceleration enveloping technology, the device can detect both already damaged bearings, early-stage bearing defects, and other impact type phenomena.

This enables quicker and more efficient maintenance. The sensor can also detect unbalance, misalignment, looseness and electrically induced vibrations of rotating equipment. 

Other features of the sensor include broadband acceleration and velocity measurements, periodic measurements, industrial wide-range powered gateway (24 V DC or PoE), configurable data acquisition and processing, and wireless connection to the SKF App and software.

The device is also IP69K rated and able to withstand exposure to dust, oil, grease, contaminants, flying debris, temperature changes, wind, rain, high-pressure hot water wash downs and more.


Four Elements of the Enlight Collect IMx-1 System

The IMx-1 sensors are one component of a system constituted by a commissioning app, gateway, and SKF software. The sensors save energy and costs by remaining in sleep mode until the gateway initiates asset monitoring at a configured time.

Dynamic data can be captured and assessed, while waveform data can be accrued long-term to create historical trends used in predictive maintenance. During installation, a commissioning app is used to set up the sensor and the gateway.

This allows users to match sensors to the data-point in the host software. Control of the sensor passes to the mesh network and the data-collection parameters are downloaded. The gateway manages the “mesh network” and enhances wireless communication paths. 



A system with four elements. Image used courtesy of SKF. 


Benefits of Using the IMx-1 Sensor

Customers in the automation industry can use the IMx-1 sensor to benefit from:

  • Increased periodic testing of machinery
  • Wide range monitoring coverage (from hours, days, weeks to months)
  • Accessibility of data from machines in inaccessible locations or measurement points behind guarding
  • Quick and scalable deployment
  • Reduction of unplanned downtime by identifying and resolving problems before they result in costly machine failure

The SKF Host Software is the final destination point for machine health data and localizes computing results, to conclude and communicate actionable maintenance information.


Do you use sensors like this one?