The self-powered Interent of Things is starting up: Page 2 of 2

June 24, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
 The self-powered Interent of Things is starting up
Matthias Poppel, chief operating officer for EnOcean GmbH, says energy-harvesting with sensors for the Internet of Things is already being deployed for predictive maintenance.

The measurement prevents unexpected failures and allows a better planning of changing the bearings. In that way, the maintenance intervals are extended, whereas malfunctions, major damage, and thus production downtimes are avoided. That is an important cost benefit, as only one hour of downtime in a paper plant would cost up to $7,000. In addition, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is reduced as service staff is only required when the sensor reports a necessary servicing or repair.

Self-powered sensors positioned at machines can measure data from many different points where power cables or batteries would prove to be a drawback. Batteries last for only a limited time and must therefore be replaced regularly, which is sometimes impossible if the sensor is placed at a point where a change can only be done by stopping the machine. It is out of the question that this would be opposed to a monitoring system, which is intended to avoid downtime. In addition, the initial installation time is significantly reduced. The self-powered sensors can flexibly be positioned at the machine. An IP gateway, which can be a plug-in receiver for instance, receives the encrypted wireless signal from the sensors and sends it to a monitoring PC – done. Altogether, such a functioning installation can be completed within 15 minutes or less.

Using energy-harvesting wireless technology, an intelligent predictive maintenance can be realized at affordable costs, even in retrofit projects. It enables the connection of a large number of battery-less, maintenance-free sensors into an IP network that processes data for intelligent and safe conditions monitoring and for a better understanding of technical systems. The best thing: This IoT application is already stepping into reality with field trials in real industrial environments.

Prior to working for EnOcean, Poppel was European director of embedded processing marketing and applications at Texas Instruments. His responsibilities ranged from microcontrollers and microprocessors to wireless transceivers. This article first appeared on EE Times' Planet Analog website.

Related links and articles:

Energy harvesting switch powers 2.4GHz radio link

The Internet of Things: How will the dream come true?

Do we need more wireless standards for an M2M world?


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