PHASE3 Technologies –Electrical Motors predictive maintenance in action

By:Prosper Dayan- Phase3 -Technology  inventor & CTO

In a world that diverts two thirds of its electrical energy to electric motors (2 billion motors in existence and manufacturing rate is 80 million motors a year) it is impossible to ignore the global need for predictive maintenance. Phase3 Technologies started out at the L.N. Incubator in Haifa and is developing predictive maintenance for rotating equipment in industrial electric motors such as pumps, compressors, generators, turbines etc.

The technology is mainly aimed at heavy industry which is conservative by nature and where assimilating hi-tech technologies into low-tech industry tends to be challenging. However, with innovative companies, like Mekorot, which actively pursue new technologies benefits can ensue for both parties.

A large portion of the industry applies breakdown maintenance, in which rotating equipment is only replaced after failure. This is a worthwhile approach when the price of failure is low. But, in expensive systems or high-cost production lines, the cost of failure can skyrocket. In these cases, installing a fault-detection system like Phase3 device is a cost-effective solution.

פרסום

Phase3 technology is based on an algorithm that predicts mechanical malfunctions in rotating equipment by measuring the induction current from the electric motor or generator supply cables. There is a physical association (based on Faradays Law of Induction) between the measured induction current and motor vibrations. Current is measured at a very high sampling rate and at a resolution that makes it possible to measure minute currents compared to the energy supplied over the net frequency. As a result it is possible to identify anomalies in the current that are caused by mechanical problems.

Phase3 algorithm is constructed of innovative mathematical models that have been patented by the company.

Phase3s great advantage over its competitors is that their algorithm uses a broad database based on data gathered from a very extensive collection of motors.

Phase3 competitors use a model per motor which requires a learning process on each motor, with the additional assumption that the motor is normal. Phase3 claims that whether a motor is new or repaired, it is fundamentally wrong to assume a motor is normal.

A further advantage of Phase3 devices is that installing the system is very simple and does not require shutting down of the motor. The device is installed on a DIN rail in the electrical cabinet and current probes are installed around the supply cables with no physical contact. Installation takes a few minutes, as opposed to rival systems which require shutting down the motor and physical connections to the supply cables. The prototype took two years to develop, and now the next generation called Protector is available; it can connect to the local control-room using various communications protocols.


A Phase 3 system installation

פרסום

Pilot at Mekorot via WaTech®

As part of the cooperation with Mekorot and WaTech®, Phase3 surveyed all the companys pumps in the central district, some of the southern district pumps, and the Shafdan facilities. These tests significantly expanded the Phase3 database and at the same time detected a small number of malfunctions at Mekorot facilities that were later confirmed. For the second phase of the pilot, four prototypes were installed at two sites in the central district. At this point monitoring was available automatically and online, and the report was delivered directly to the user interface. During this stage, Phase3 detected a malfunction in one of the motors two months before it failed. Repairing this motor cost $100,000.


Discovering the malfunction in one of the pilot motors.
Expanding activities

In the wake of the one-year pilot, Mekorot decided to purchase an initial 20 Phase3 Protector systems for installation countrywide. The goal of this purchase is to expand the knowledge base and working experience with the product for different products and under varying conditions. This was a first procurement of this size for Phase3, and the company is currently in touch with other water utilities through its connections with Mekorot and WaTech®.

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