(19)
(11)EP 3 404 502 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
21.11.2018 Bulletin 2018/47

(21)Application number: 17171581.6

(22)Date of filing:  17.05.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G05B 23/02  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(71)Applicant: Caverion Oyj
00620 Helsinki (FI)

(72)Inventor:
  • HÄRKÖNEN, Tuomo
    00620 Helsinki (FI)

(74)Representative: Seppo Laine Oy 
Itämerenkatu 3 B
00180 Helsinki
00180 Helsinki (FI)

 
Remarks:
Amended claims in accordance with Rule 137(2) EPC.
 


(54)CONDITION-BASED MAINTENANCE OF DEVICE


(57) There is provided condition-based maintenance of a device. One or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device are estimated on the basis of measurements from a sensor and threshold levels indicating a maintenance need of the device. At least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.




Description

FIELD



[0001] The present invention is related to condition-based maintenance of a device and more particularly estimating a change of the maintenance need of the device.

BACKGROUND



[0002] Condition-based maintenance (CBM), shortly described, is maintenance when need arises. This maintenance is performed after one or more indicators show that equipment is going to fail or that equipment performance is deteriorating.

[0003] Sensors may be used to monitoring equipment. However, the amount of data generated by the sensors is vast and therefore its use of the purposes of CBM is difficult. The amount of data becomes even higher when one sensor per equipment is not enough for characterizing the equipment for the purposes of CBM and more sensors are installed to monitor the equipment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0004] The invention is defined by the features of the independent claims. Some specific embodiments are defined in the dependent claims.

[0005] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for condition-based maintenance of a device, comprising:- a) obtaining measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device, by a network interface capable of communications with the at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor;- b) obtaining , by a network interface capable of communications with the device or processing unit connected to the device, information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device;- c) determining , by a controller operatively connected to the network interfaces, one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device;- d) estimating , by the controller, one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.

[0006] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided an arrangement for condition-based maintenance of a device, comprising a network interface capable of communications with at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor, wherein the at least one sensor is installed for monitoring the device, and a network interface capable of communications with the device or processing unit connected to the device, and a controller operatively connected to the network interfaces to cause:- a) obtaining measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device; - b) obtaining information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device; - c) determining one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device; - d) estimating one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.

[0007] Some embodiment provide that changes in the use of the device over time may be used to adapt the estimated time instant of the change of the maintenance need and maintenance operations may be scheduled more accurately prior to the change of the maintenance need. Further advantages will become apparent from the detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0008] 

FIGURE 1 illustrates an arrangement for condition-based maintenance of a device in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 illustrates a method in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention;

FIGURE 3 illustrates an example of generating maintenance need information in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention;

FIGURE 4 illustrates a method for adapting operational parameters of the device for supporting condition-based maintenance;

FIGURE 5 illustrates a relationship between threshold levels and operational parameters of the device in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention;

FIGURE 6 illustrates a user interface displaying threshold levels and measurements obtained from a sensor installed for monitoring a device in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention;

FIGURE 7 illustrates a user interface displaying estimated time instants and alarm information in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention;

FIGURE 8 illustrates generating a relationship between threshold levels and operational parameters of the device in accordance of at least some embodiments of the present invention; and

FIGURE 9 illustrates measurements obtained from a device operated by sets of operational parameters.


EMBODIMENTS



[0009] FIGURE 1 illustrates an arrangement for condition-based maintenance of at least one device in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention. The arrangement comprises a network interface 106 capable of communications with one or more sensors 115a, 115b, 117a, 117b or processing units connected to the sensors. The sensors may be installed to devices for monitoring the devices 114, 116. The arrangement may further comprise a network interface 108 capable of communications with the devices or processing unit connected to the devices 114, 116. It should be appreciated that the network interfaces may be implemented in a single unit or device, or in separate units or devices. The arrangement comprises a controller 102 operatively connected to the network interfaces 106, 108 to cause predictive condition-based maintenance of the devices, wherein the condition-based maintenance of the devices is performed on the basis of measurements obtained from the sensors and information indicating operational parameters of the devices. Connections between the controller and the network interfaces may for example computer data buses.

[0010] Examples of the device comprise devices for mechanical material processing. The mechanical material processing may comprise processing wood or excavated material, for example. Such devices comprise chipper-shredders and crushers.

[0011] The device may have one or more parts that are moving by an alternating and/or a rotational movement, when the device is operated. Examples of the moving parts may comprise gears and shafts. Accordingly, the parts may be actively moved, when the device is operated. It should be appreciated that the device may further comprise one or more parts that are passively moved. Examples of the parts that may be passively moved comprise bearings. In active moving of the parts, operating power of the device is operatively connected to the parts for causing their active movement. An operative connection may be achieved by power transmission means capable of communicating power from a power source to the parts of the device. In passive moving of the parts, operating power of the device is not, at least directly, operatively connected to the passively moved parts. Accordingly, the operating power is not connected by power transmission means of the device to the passively moving parts. The power transmission means may comprise gears, shafts and electrical buses. The device may obtain the operating power from an external power source or an internal power source. The device may have an input connection for receiving power from an external power source to the device and/or the device may have an internal power source. The power generated by the power source may be communicated to the parts by the power transmission means. The power generated by the power source may comprise electricity, kinetic power or hydraulic power. Examples of the power sources comprise a hydraulic accumulator, an electrical generator, mains electric connection, a combustion engine, a diesel generator.

[0012] In an embodiment, one or more sensors 115a, 115b, 1176a, 117b installed for monitoring a device 112, 116 may comprise a displacement sensor, an acceleration sensor and/or a velocity sensor, and the device is capable of mechanical material processing, wherein the device comprises one or more parts that are actively movable by operating power of the device, when the device is operated, whereby the sensors are installed to the device for monitoring movement of the actively movable parts, during operation of the device. The measurements may be utilized in adaptively estimating maintenance need of the device. Since the sensors are installed for monitoring movement of the actively movable parts, condition of the actively movable parts may be particularly well monitored for the purposes of estimating maintenance need of the device. The sensors may be installed within a neighborhood, e.g. within a short distance, of the actively movable parts. Specifics of the installation may depend on the construction of the device and type of the sensor used.

[0013] In an example, a device 114, 116 and one or more sensors 115a, 115b, 117a, 117b installed to the device for monitoring the device may be deployed in an industrial automation system 112. The industrial automation system may be arranged to provide communications of data, operational parameters, measurements and commands over one or more connections outside the industrial automation system and over one or more connections inside the industrial automation system. In this way communications between the device 114, 116 and the sensors 115a, 115b, 117a, 117b inside the industrial automation system may be provided with network equipment outside the industrial automation system. The network equipment outside the industrial automation system may comprise the network interfaces 106, 108 of the controller.

[0014] In an example, devices 114, 116 and/or the sensors 115a, 115b, 117a, 117b may comprise, or be operatively connected to, internal or external communications modules that provide communications of data, measurements and commands with the network.

[0015] Examples of connections inside the industrial automation system comprise various field buses and private networks using private address, e.g. Internet protocol address, space.

[0016] Examples of connections outside the industrial automation system comprise public networks, for example the internet, telecommunications networks capable connecting terminals over wired and/or wireless connections, and IEEE 802.11 standards based wireless local area network.

[0017] Examples of the sensors comprise a displacement sensor, a velocity sensor and an acceleration sensor. The sensors are capable of performing measurements. A measurement may comprise values in measurement units of a specific quantity measure by the sensor. Accordingly, in an example a velocity sensor may produce measurement values in m/s, and an acceleration sensor may produce measurement values in m/(s^2). The sensors may be applied in determining vibrations in the device. In an example, 1st derivative of the measurement values of the displacement sensor may be used to obtain vibration speed and 2nd derivative of the measurement values of the displacement sensor may be used to obtain vibration acceleration.

[0018] The information indicating operational parameters may comprise operational parameters, a temperature and rotational speed. It should be appreciated that one or more operational parameters may serve for indicating one or more other operational parameters. In an example a changes in rotational speed of a chipper-shredder may indicate variance in diameter of the timber processed by the chipper-shredder. The operational parameter may indicate load of the device. In one example the load of the device may be determined in voltages or by power. The temperature may comprise a temperature outside the device and/or a temperature inside the device. The rotational speed may be a speed of a rotating axis of the device, for example.

[0019] In an embodiment, the arrangement may comprise a user interface (UI) component 120 capable of causing to display information comprising one or more user selectable elements, threshold levels for measurement values, measurement values, indicators, estimated time instants, alarm information and operational parameters of the device. Examples of the user interface component comprise a display device and display controller. The display device may a user interface component located close to the user for displaying the user information for condition-based maintenance of the device. The display device may be included in or connected to a computer, a smart phone or tablet computer. The display controller may be a user interface components located remote from the user for delivering information for condition-based maintenance to the user, for example to a display device of the user or to a computer connected to the display device. The display controller located remote from the user may be provided by one or more networked computing resources, for example computers or virtual machines. The display controller located remote from the user may be implemented as part of a cloud computing system, whereby information regarding estimating a change of the maintenance need of the device may be provided as a cloud computing service. In this way the information may be accessed provided that there is a network connection to the cloud service.

[0020] Connections outside the industrial automation system described above may be also utilized for connections between the controller and the user interface component.

[0021] In an embodiment, the arrangement may comprise a pre-analyzer unit and a post-analyzer unit, wherein the pre-analyzer unit capable of performing dedicated analytics specific to the device and/or operating environment of the device and the post-analyzer unit is capable of performing generic analytics. The generic analytics is less dependent on the device and/or operating environment of the device. The pre-analyzer unit may apply dedicated analytics to measurements from sensors installed for monitoring the device and operational parameters from the device. The dedicated analytics may have relatively high resolution. For example, the measurements and operational parameters may be processed in a time scale of milliseconds. The dedicated analytics results in aggregated measurements and aggregated operational parameters, whereby the amount of information is reduced. In this way the high resolution applied by the pre-analyzer may be reduced to for example to the level of hours, days or weeks. The pre-analyzer is preferably local to the device such that the amount of measurements and the operational parameters may be reduced close to the device and communications of raw measurements and raw operational parameters over long distances may be avoided, the aggregated measurements and aggregated operational parameters may be sent to the post-analyzer. The pre-analyzer and post-analyzer units may be capable of implementing the controller 102 such that functionalities of the controller may be distributed between them. The post-analyze unit may be implemented by a cloud computing system, for example. Reducing the resolution by the pre-analyzer provides that data transmission resources between the pre-analyzer and the post-analyzer may be kept and acceptable levels and controlling processing resources needed at the post-analyzer.

[0022] In an embodiment the dedicated analytics comprises generating aggregated data. Aggregating data, i.e. operational parameters and/or measurements, may comprise extracting a specific part of high resolution data. The extracted specific part may comprise peak values and/or Root Mean Square (RMS) of the data. In one example, peak value may be extracted from a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th derivatives of measurement values. RMS may be extracted at least from the 1st, 2nd derivatives of the measurement values. The operational parameters and measurements may be high resolution data, for example in a time scale of milliseconds, whereby the aggregation may be performed over a time period, for example hours, minutes or days, that is longer than the time scale of the high resolution input data to the aggregation. The aggregating may be performed by a controller or a pre-analyzer, in connection with obtaining the measurements and operational parameters in phases 202 and 204. The derivatives of measurement values may be generated by the sensors or by the controller or pre-analyzer.

[0023] In an example, aggregation may be performed on measurement values obtained from a displacement sensor. Measurement values of the displacement sensor may be aggregated by determining peak values of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th derivatives of the measurement values. A 1st derivative of the measurement value of the displacement sensor is a vibration speed and the 2nd derivative is a vibration acceleration. Peak values of the vibration speed and/or the vibration acceleration may be further aggregated by determining RMS of the peak values.

[0024] An arrangement or a part of the arrangement, for example a controller 102, may comprise a processor and memory storing computer program code that when executed may cause one or more functionalities described in an embodiment described herein.

[0025] In an embodiment, the arrangement is a cloud computing system comprising a user interface component 120 capable of causing displaying information comprising at least one of user-selectable element, a threshold level for measurement values, a measurement value, an indicator, an estimated time instant, alarm information and operational parameters.

[0026] FIGURE 2 illustrates a method in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention. The method may be performed by the arrangement of FIGURE 1, for example the controller 102. The method provides adaptively estimating maintenance need of the device.

[0027] Phase 202 comprises obtaining measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device, by a network interface capable of communications with the at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor;

[0028] Phase 204 comprises obtaining, by a network interface capable of communications with the device or processing unit connected to the device, information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device;

[0029] Phase 206 comprises determining, by a controller, one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device;

[0030] Phase 208 comprises estimating, by the controller, one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels.

[0031] In phase 209, it may be determined whether the generated estimate should be adapted or further measurements should be obtained in phase 202. The method may continue to phase 210 if new measurements are available for adapting a previously generated estimate of the time instant. The new measurements may have been obtained in a time period following the time period, where the previously generated estimate was generated. The method may continue to phase 202 for obtaining further measurements by the sensor in a time period subsequent to the time period, where the previously generated estimate was generated.

[0032] Phase 210 comprises adapting at least one of the estimated time instants in a previous time period on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period. In this way changes in the use of the device over time may be used to adapt the estimated time instant of the change of the maintenance need and maintenance operations may be scheduled more accurately prior to the change of the maintenance need.

[0033] It should be appreciated that the method may continue after phase 210 to phase 202, whereby the condition-based maintenance of the device may be continued.

[0034] In an embodiment, phase 206 comprises determining one or more threshold level by a linear model based on computational models of two, three or more operational parameters of the device. In this way the operational parameters may be transformed by the models for determining the threshold levels and on the other hand the threshold level is not dependent on a single operational parameter of the device. The linear model may be used to determine more than one threshold level by offset terms specific to each threshold level.

[0035] The basis of the linear model may be defined as


where xT=[x1,x2,...,xm] is the vector of operational parameters of the device and the functions ƒi are partially defined computational models, e.g. first-order linear models, specific to individual operational parameters. Using equation (1), n threshold levels may be generated:


where β={β1,β2,...,βn} is a set containing a different offset term for each threshold level and alarmLimit is a threshold level and AlarmLimits is a set of n threshold levels.

[0036] In an embodiment, phase 208 comprises, prior to estimating the time instants, operating the device to obtain reference values for one or more operational parameters and reference measurements, and applying the threshold levels subject to the measurements meeting at least one criterion. In this way the, threshold levels may be initialized for condition-based maintenance of the device. The device may be operated by user interface of the device locally to the device or via a remote user interface provided for example by an industrial automation system.

[0037] In an embodiment, an indicator for the change of the maintenance need may be set, when the estimated time in phase 208 is less than a threshold time and the indicator may be re-set, on the basis of the previous estimated time instant adapted in phase 210. The indicator may be set on a user interface. The user interface may be caused to be displayed on a user interface component 120.

[0038] In an embodiment, a maintenance operation may be scheduled, before at least one estimated time instant. The time instant may be estimated in accordance with phase 208 in FIGURE 2. In this way the maintenance operation may be performed prior to the estimated time instant, whereby the change of the maintenance need may be prevented at the estimated time instant. Accordingly, the maintenance operation may be determined on the basis of the maintenance need after the estimated time instant. In one example, the estimated time instant may be May 4th 2017 and the maintenance need after May 4th may be "maintenance of bearings" of the device. Consequently, the maintenance operation may be determined on the basis of the "maintenance of the bearings" to comprise "checking of the bearings and replacing of the bearings". The "checking of the bearings and replacing of the bearings" may be scheduled prior to May 4th to avoid change of the maintenance need of the device at the estimated time instant. Once the maintenance operation has been performed, condition-based maintenance of the device may continue for example in accordance to the phases in FIGURE 2. Maintenance needs of devices may be various, whereby it should be appreciated that a maintenance need and maintenance operation associated with a next estimated time instant in phase 208 may be different than maintenance need and maintenance operation associated with a previous estimated time instant. However, in a very simple device, the estimated time instants may be associated with the same recurring maintenance need and maintenance operation, for example maintenance need of the battery and a maintenance operation to replace the battery.

[0039] In an embodiment, a time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need is determined by fitting the obtained measurements in phase 202 to threshold levels over time for finding a time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need, at which the measurements are estimated to meet one or more of the threshold levels. In one example the fitting may be based on regression analysis. The fitting may be performed as part of the phase 202 or phase 210. In an example, the threshold levels may comprise a warning, alarm and failure level, whereby the time instant may indicate, when the measurements are estimated to meet the warning level, alarm level and/or failure level.

[0040] In an embodiment one or more of operational parameters and measurements from sensor installed for monitoring may be aggregated. The aggregating may comprise extracting a specific part of high resolution data, i.e. operational parameters or measurements. The extracted specific part may comprise peak values and/or Root Mean Square (RMS) of the data. In one example, peak value may be extracted from a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th derivatives of measurement values. RMS may be extracted at least from the 1st, 2nd derivatives of the measurement values. In an example, aggregation may be performed on measurement values obtained from a displacement sensor. Measurement values of the displacement sensor may be aggregated by determining peak values of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th derivatives of the measurement values. A 1st derivative of the measurement value of the displacement sensor is a vibration speed and the 2nd derivative is a vibration acceleration. Peak values of the vibration speed and/or the vibration acceleration may be further aggregated by determining RMS of the peak values.

[0041] The operational parameters and measurements may be high resolution data, for example in a time scale of milliseconds, whereby the aggregation may be performed over a time period, for example hours, minutes or days, that is longer than the time scale of the high resolution input data to the aggregation. The aggregating may be performed by a controller or a pre-analyzer, in connection with obtaining the measurements and operational parameters in phases 202 and 204. The derivatives of measurement values may be generated by the sensors or by the controller or pre-analyzer.

[0042] FIGURE 3 illustrates an example of generating maintenance need information in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention. The maintenance need information 310 may comprise information indicating one or more of a maintenance need and time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device. The maintenance need information may be generated by an apparatus 302 or arrangement capable of processing input information comprising measurements from sensors 304, operational parameters of the device 306 and threshold levels 308. The input information may be processed by the apparatus, for example in accordance with phases 202, 204 and 206 in FIGURE, such that maintenance need information may be generated by the apparatus. In one example the apparatus 302 may be the controller in the arrangement of FIGURE 1.

[0043] The maintenance need information 310 may indicate a maintenance need of the device. The maintenance need information may comprise an alarm information and/or threshold level information. The threshold level information may comprise one or more threshold levels to be utilized in estimating one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device, for example in accordance with phase 208 in FIGURE 2. The alarm information may comprise information specifying alarms and/or alarm indicators. When an alarm is triggered, an alarm indicator may be set to indicate that measurements by a sensor installed for monitoring the device have met a threshold level.

[0044] FIGURE 4 illustrates a method for adapting operational parameters of the device for supporting condition-based maintenance. The method may be performed in connection with at least part of the method of FIGURE 2.

[0045] Phase 402 comprises estimating one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device. The estimating may be performed in accordance with phase 208 described in FIGURE 2.

[0046] Phase 404 comprises determining whether at least one estimated time instant in phase 402 meets at least one criterion. The criterion may comprise a generic criterion applicable to a plurality of devices and/or operating environments, or the criterion may be a dedicated criterion to a specific device and/or operating environment. In one example the criterion may comprise a time period. The time period may be a fixed value, for example a time period of two weeks, whereby the time period may serve as a generic criterion. On the other hand the time period may be dependent on maintenance need information, whereby the time period may be used as a dedicated criterion. In one example, a time period serving as dedicated criterion may be defined for a time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device. The device may have a current maintenance need, for example indicated or defined by a current alarm or alarm status and the estimated time instant may indicate a new maintenance need indicated or defined by an estimated alarm or alarm status after the estimated time instant. The time period to be used as criterion may be dependent on the type of the current alarm or alarm status and/or the type of the estimated alarm or alarm status..

[0047] It should be appreciated that a time period used as a generic or dedicated criterion may be determined adaptively. Alternatively or additionally, one or more time periods may be used as a generic or dedicated criterion. A time period to be used as criterion may be determined adaptively on the basis of the estimated time instant associated with the change of the maintenance need of the device. In one example, the estimated time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need may be adapted on the basis of the estimated time instant associated with the change of the maintenance need of the device occurring in a restricted time period, outside of the restricted time period of the device and/or the time period to be used as criterion may be adapted on the basis of the operating environment of the device. The time period used as criterion may be longer if the estimated time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need occurs inside a restricted time period than if the time instant occurs outside the restricted time period. Examples of the restricted time periods comprise: a time period, where maintenance of the device may be difficult; a time period, where scheduling of maintenance is not possible. In one example, a time period, where maintenance of the device may be difficult may be a weekend. In one example, a time period, where scheduling of maintenance is not possible may be a time period, where the device is not available for maintenance. In one example, the operating environment of the device may be a location, where the device may be unavailable for maintenance. In one example, the location of the device may be on a ship at sea. Accordingly, also location of the device may be caused to adapt the time period to be used as criterion.

[0048] When the time instant is determined to meet the at least one criterion, the method may proceed to phase 406 that comprises adapting the operational parameters of the device. In one example one or more of the operational parameters may be decreased or increased. In this way the operation of the device may be adapted, whereby the estimated time instant associated with the change of the maintenance need may be caused to be delayed to a suitable time, for example to an unrestricted time period.

[0049] When the time instant is not determined to meet the at least one criterion, the method may proceed to phase 402 to perform further estimates of time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device.

[0050] FIGURE 5 illustrates a relationship between threshold levels and operational parameters of the device in accordance of at least some embodiments of the present invention. The threshold levels 502, 504, 506 may be adapted on the basis of the operational parameters of the device and the relationship. The adaptation may follow the relationship illustrated in FIGURE 5. The adaptation may be performed for example line phase 206 in FIGURE 2. Adapting the threshold levels provides that monitoring of the device may be adapted according to the operational parameters.

[0051] Adapting the threshold levels may be performed as part of the method in FIGURE 2. In accordance with phase 208 in FIGURE 2, the estimated time instant may be a time instant, when the measurement values 508 are estimated to exceed any of the threshold levels 502, 504, 506. After adapting the operational parameters of the device, for example in accordance with phase 406 in FIGURE 4, the threshold levels may be adapted, for example according to the relationship between the operational parameters and the threshold levels illustrated in FIGURE 5. The threshold levels may be applied in phase 208 for estimating a time instant using the adapted threshold levels.

[0052] The threshold levels 502, 504, 506 may comprise threshold levels for measurement values from sensors installed for monitoring the device. A threshold level may indicate a maintenance need of the device, when measurement values meet the threshold level. In FIGURE 5, the thresholds and measurement values are illustrated as a function of one operational parameter of the device. However, it should be appreciated that the threshold levels and measurement values may be determined as a function of more than one operational parameters of the device. In an example, the threshold levels may be determined on the basis of a linear model utilizing a plurality of operational parameters described in formula (1).

[0053] It should be appreciated that operational parameters of the device may be changed either by the user, by wear of the device, or by changes caused by the environment of the device and the change of the operational parameters may cause adaptation of the threshold levels, for example according to the relationship illustrated in FIGURE 5. After the threshold levels are changed, a new estimate for the time instant may be made, in accordance with phase 208 in FIGURE 2.

[0054] FIGURE 6 illustrates a user interface displaying threshold levels and measurements obtained from a sensor installed for monitoring a device in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention. The user interface may be caused to be displayed on a user interface component 120. The measurements may be displayed on a time axis increasing from left to right in the user interface. The measurements 612, 614 may include one or more intervals that may be separated by time periods 616, where measurement values indicate a zero value or noise. The time intervals may indicate time periods during which the device has been operated and the sensor has generated measurement values. The time periods between the measurements may be caused by the device not being driven, whereby the sensor has not generated measurement values or the measurement values are very small, e.g. noise. The threshold levels may comprise one or more levels, for example a failure 606, alarm 608 and warning 610. The user interface may comprise one or more user selectable elements 602, 604 capable of causing to set the threshold levels. The threshold levels may comprise default threshold levels or the threshold levels may be set on the basis of the measurements. In an example the threshold levels may be set on the basis of measurements during a specific time period of the measurements or on the basis of measurements in a detected measurement interval 612, 614. The specific time period may be a user-define time period or a default time period. The detection of the measurement interval may be performed on the basis of monitoring absolute values of the measurements, for example.

[0055] In an example illustrated by the measurements on the user interface of FIGURE 6, the first measurements 612 may indicate the user that the device is operated at exceptional load or power, whereby the user can defer from setting threshold levels on the basis of the measurements using the corresponding user-selectable element 604. The measurement interval 614 following the first measurements may indicate the user that the device is operated at an acceptable load or power, whereby the user may set the threshold levels by selecting a user interface element 602 corresponding to the default threshold levels, or selecting the user interface element 604 causing to set the threshold levels on the basis of the measurements. In one example, the threshold levels may be determined on the basis of a linear model defined in formula (2).

[0056] FIGURE 7 illustrates a user interface displaying estimated time instants and alarm information in accordance with at least some embodiments of the present invention. The user interface may be caused to be displayed on a user interface component 120. The alarm information 708, 710 may comprise triggered alarm information 708, real-time alarm information 710 and/or a user-selectable element 712 capable of causing acknowledgement of alarms. The estimated time instants 702 may comprise one or more estimated time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device. The user interface may further comprise a user selectable element 704 capable of causing sending the alarm information to recipients in Short Message Service (SMS) messages. The sending of the SMSs may be enabled and/or disabled by the user selecting the user-selectable element 704. The user interface may further comprise a user selectable element 706 allowing the user to edit a list of recipients for the alarm information sent in SMSs. Selecting the element 706 may cause the user being displayed the list of the recipients and phone numbers of the recipients. The list may be editable by the user for deleting and/or adding recipients and phone numbers of the recipients. It should be appreciated that the list may comprise information necessary for delivering SMS to recipients and therefore, at least one of the name and phone number of the recipient may be omitted depending on implementation. Moreover, depending on implementation also other information may serve the purpose of delivering SMS to recipients.

[0057] In an example, the user interface may comprise an indicator for the change of the maintenance need. The indicator may be set, when the estimated time in phase 208 is less than a threshold time and the indicator may be re-set, on the basis of the previous estimated time instant adapted in phase 210. Setting the indicator may comprise updating an estimated time instant 702 displayed in the user interface, when a new estimated time instant is generated and the generated time instant is less than a threshold time from current time. The indicator may be set to have a specific color. The color may be adapted based on how close in time the estimated time instant is. Additionally, thresholds may be defined to determine when each color should be used for the indicator. When the previous estimated time instant is adapted 210, the displayed estimated time instant may be updated, e.g. re-set. In this connection, the color of the displayed estimated time instant may be set anew.

[0058] FIGURE 8 illustrates generating a relationship between threshold levels and operational parameters of the device in accordance of at least some embodiments of the present invention. Preferably, the relationship is generated at least prior to estimating the time instants in phase 208 in FIGURE 2. The relationship may be a threshold level determined in phase 206 in FIGURE 2. The generated relationship may be, for example as described in FIGURE 5. One or more sensors may be installed to a device for monitoring the device in accordance with FIGURE 1. In this way measurements may be obtained from the sensors, for example in accordance with phase 202 of FIGURE 2. Also information indicating the operational parameters may be obtained for example in accordance with phase 204 of FIGURE 2. Generating the relationship may comprise phase 802 of operating the device by one, two, three, or more sets, 1,2, ...m, of operational parameters 804, 806, 808. In this way measurements may be obtained using each set of operational parameters. The measurements may be referred to as reference measurements. The reference measurements may be used to determine one or more threshold levels, reference threshold levels, based on the measurements performed during operating the device using corresponding sets of operational parameters. In this way, the determined threshold levels may have a relationship with specific operational parameters used during the reference measurement. In one example the measurements may be displayed on a user interface and one or more threshold levels may be set on the basis of the measurements via a user interface for example as described in connection with FIGURE 6.

[0059] Phase 816 may comprise adapting the determined reference threshold levels 810, 812, 814 to values of operational parameters which are outside the operational parameters used in the reference measurements. In this way the number of reference measurements may be kept reasonable even if a number of operational parameters and thereby also possible combinations of values of the operational parameters would be high. Values of operational parameters outside the operational parameters used in the reference measurements may comprise one or more ranges of operational parameter values between operational parameter values used in the reference measurements. In an example, the adapting may comprise applying the computational model ƒi to the operational parameters. Once the threshold levels are adapted, the relationship between the threshold levels and the operational parameters has been generated for the operational parameters used in the reference measurements and also for the operational parameters that were not used in the reference measurements, i.e. the operational parameters that were not used in the reference measurements. During operation of the device, the generated relationship between the threshold levels and operational parameters of the device may be utilized for determining one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device, for example in phase 206. In this way changes in the operational parameters of the device may adapt the threshold levels for estimating one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device, for example in phase 208.

[0060] FIGURE 9 illustrates measurements 902, 904 obtained from a device operated by sets of operational parameters. One or more sensors may be installed to a device for monitoring the device in accordance with FIGURE 1. In this way measurements may be obtained from the sensors, for example in accordance with phase 202 of FIGURE 2. The measurements may be reference measurements. In an example the sets of the operational parameters may comprise two, three or more sets of operational parameters. A set of operational parameters may comprise one or more operational parameters. Examples of the operational parameter comprise a power (P) of the device and a rotational speed, for example rotations per minute (RPM), of the device. A value of one of the operational parameters in one of the sets may be different than a value of the operational parameter in another one of the sets. In one example, one set of the operational parameters may comprise P having value P1 and RPM having value 500. Another set of the operational parameters may comprise P having value P2 and RPM having value 500. The device may be operated using the set of operational parameters, where P is P1 and RPM is 500 and the device may be operated using another set of operational parameters, where P is P2 and RPM is 500. It should be appreciated that the RPM may be a range, for example an RPM between 100 to 1000. Similarly, also P may be a range, for example from 10kW to 20kW. Measurements 902, 904 obtained by operating the device using different operational parameters may be used to determine threshold levels 903, 905, for example the reference threshold levels 810, 812, 814 in FIGURE 8. The measurements may be displayed on a user interface and one or more threshold levels may be set on the basis of the measurements via a user interface for example as described in connection with FIGURE 6.

[0061] It is to be understood that the embodiments of the invention disclosed are not limited to the particular structures, process steps, or materials disclosed herein, but are extended to equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those ordinarily skilled in the relevant arts. It should also be understood that terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0062] Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, appearances of the phrases "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

[0063] As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary. In addition, various embodiments and example of the present invention may be referred to herein along with alternatives for the various components thereof. It is understood that such embodiments, examples, and alternatives are not to be construed as de facto equivalents of one another, but are to be considered as separate and autonomous representations of the present invention.

[0064] Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided, such as examples of lengths, widths, shapes, etc., to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that the invention can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the invention.

[0065] In an embodiment there is provided an arrangement for condition-based maintenance of a device, comprising: means for a) obtaining 202 measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device, by a network interface capable of communications with the at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor; means for b) obtaining 204, by a network interface capable of communications with the device or processing unit connected to the device, information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device; means for c) determining 206, by a controller operatively connected to the network interfaces, one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device; means for - d) estimating 208, by the controller, one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and means for repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted 210 on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.

[0066] It should be appreciated that various embodiments described herein may be implemented by means that are caused to perform one or more functions described in the embodiments. Suitable means may comprise means known to the skilled person, for example a computer, a processor, a memory device, a computer program and/or a virtual machine that may be combined in various ways to cause one or more functions described in the embodiments. For example, a computer program may be stored on a memory device accessible to computer, a processor and/or a virtual machine for execution of the code.

[0067] While the forgoing examples are illustrative of the principles of the present invention in one or more particular applications, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications in form, usage and details of implementation can be made without the exercise of inventive faculty, and without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the claims set forth below.

[0068] The verbs "to comprise" and "to include" are used in this document as open limitations that neither exclude nor require the existence of also un-recited features. The features recited in depending claims are mutually freely combinable unless otherwise explicitly stated. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the use of "a" or "an", i.e. a singular form, throughout this document does not exclude a plurality.

REFERENCE SIGNS LIST



[0069] 
102
Controller in FIGURE 1
106, 108
Network interface in FIGURE 1
112
Industrial automation system in FIGURE 1
114, 116
Devices in FIGURE 1
115a, 115b
117a, 117b
Sensors installed for monitoring devices in FIGURE 1
120
User interface component in FIGURE 1
202 to 210
Phases of the method of FIGURE 2
302
Apparatus in FIGURE 3
304
Measurements in FIGURE 3
306
Operational parameters in FIGURE 3
308
Threshold levels in FIGURE 3
310
Maintenance need information in FIGURE 3
402 to 406
Phases of the method of FIGURE 4
502, 504, 506
Threshold levels in FIGURE 5
508
Measurement values in FIGURE 5
602 to 614
Items of the user interface in FIGURE 6
702 to 712
Items of the user interface in FIGURE 7
802, 816, 818
Phases in FIGURE 8
804 to 806
Sets of operational parameters in FIGURE 8
810-814
Reference threshold levels
902, 904
Measurements in FIGURE 9
903, 905
Threshold levels in FIGURE 9



Claims

1. A method for condition-based maintenance of a device, comprising:

- a) obtaining (202) measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device, by a network interface capable of communications with the at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor;

- b) obtaining (204), by a network interface capable of communications with the device or processing unit connected to the device, information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device;

- c) determining (206), by a controller operatively connected to the network interfaces, one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device;

- d) estimating (208), by the controller, one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted (210) on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.


 
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein a threshold level is determined by a linear model based on computational models of two or more operational parameters of the device.
 
3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein at least one of operational parameters and measurements from sensor installed for monitoring are aggregated.
 
4. A method according to claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein at least one of the threshold levels is adapted on the basis of the operational parameters of the device.
 
5. A method according to claim 1, 2, 3 or 4, wherein prior to estimating (208) the time instants, the method comprises: operating the device using one or more sets of operational parameters to obtain (802) reference measurements corresponding to the sets, determining (816) one or more threshold levels on the basis of the reference measurements; and adapting (818) the determined reference threshold levels (810, 812, 814) to values of operational parameters which are outside the operational parameters used in the reference measurements.
 
6. A method according to claim 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, comprising: adapting (406) the operational parameters of the device, when at least one estimated time instant is determined (404) to meet at least one criterion.
 
7. A method according to claim 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, wherein the time period to be used as criterion may be adapted on the basis of the estimated time instant associated with the change of the maintenance need of the device occurring in a restricted time period, outside of the restricted time period of the device and/or the time period to be used as criterion may be adapted on the basis of the operating environment of the device.
 
8. A method according to any of claims 1 to 7, comprising scheduling a maintenance operation, before at least one estimated time instant.
 
9. A method according to any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need is determined by fitting the obtained measurements to threshold levels over time for finding a time instant, at which the measurements are estimated to meet one or more of the threshold levels.
 
10. A method according to any of claims 1 to 9, comprising setting an indicator (702) for the change of the maintenance need, when the estimated time is less than a threshold value and re-setting the indicator, on the basis of the adapted (210) previous estimated time instant.
 
11. An arrangement for condition-based maintenance of a device, comprising a network interface capable of communications with at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor, wherein the at least one sensor is installed for monitoring the device, and a network interface capable of communications with the device or processing unit connected to the device, and a controller operatively connected to the network interfaces to cause:

- a) obtaining (202) measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device;

- b) obtaining (204) information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device;

- c) determining (206) one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device;

- d) estimating (208) one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted (210) on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.


 
12. An arrangement according to claim 11, comprising a pre-analyzer unit local to the device and a post-analyzer unit, wherein the pre-analyzer unit capable of performing dedicated analytics specific to the device and/or operating environment of the device and the post-analyzer unit is capable of performing generic analytics.
 
13. An arrangement according to claim 11 or 12, wherein the arrangement is a cloud computing system comprising a user interface component capable of causing displaying information comprising at least one of user-selectable element, a threshold level for measurement values, a measurement value, an indicator, an estimated time instant, alarm information and operational parameters.
 
14. An arrangement according to any of claims 11 to 13, comprising means for performing a method according to any of claims 2 to 10.
 
15. An arrangement according to any of claims 11 to 14, wherein the at least one sensor is a displacement sensor, an acceleration sensor or velocity sensor, and the device is capable of mechanical material processing, wherein the device comprises one or more parts that are actively movable by operating power of the device, when the device is operated, whereby the at least sensor is installed to the device for monitoring movement of the actively movable parts, during operation of the device.
 


Amended claims in accordance with Rule 137(2) EPC.


1. A method for condition-based maintenance of a device of an industrial automation system, characterized in that the method comprises:

- a) obtaining (202) measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device inside the industrial automation system, by a first network interface outside of the industrial automation system and capable of communications with the at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor;

- b) obtaining (204), by a second network interface outside of the industrial automation system and capable of communications with the device inside of the industrial automation system or processing unit connected to the device, information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device;

- c) determining (206), by a controller operatively connected to the first and second network interfaces, by a linear model based on computational models of two or more operational parameters of the device, one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device, wherein at least one of the threshold levels is adapted on the basis of the operational parameters of the device;

- d) estimating (208), by the controller, one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted (210) on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.


 
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein at least one of operational parameters and measurements from sensor installed for monitoring are aggregated.
 
3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein prior to estimating (208) the time instants, the method comprises: operating the device using one or more sets of operational parameters to obtain (802) reference measurements corresponding to the sets, and said one or more threshold levels are determined (816) on the basis of the reference measurements; and adapting (818) the determined reference threshold levels (810, 812, 814) to values of operational parameters which are outside the operational parameters used in the reference measurements.
 
4. A method according to claim 1, 2 or 3, comprising: adapting (406) the operational parameters of the device, when at least one estimated time instant is determined (404) to meet at least one criterion.
 
5. A method according to claim 4, wherein the criterion comprises a time period adapted on the basis of the estimated time instant associated with the change of the maintenance need of the device occurring in a restricted time period, outside of the restricted time period of the device and/or the criterion comprises a time period adapted on the basis of operating environment of the device.
 
6. A method according to any of claims 1 to 5, comprising scheduling a maintenance operation, before at least one estimated time instant.
 
7. A method according to any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the time instant associated with a change of the maintenance need is determined by fitting, based on regression analysis, the obtained measurements to threshold levels over time for finding a time instant, at which the measurements are estimated to meet one or more of the threshold levels.
 
8. A method according to any of claims 1 to 7, comprising setting an indicator (702) for the change of the maintenance need, when the estimated time is less than a threshold value and re-setting the indicator, on the basis of the adapted (210) previous estimated time instant.
 
9. An arrangement for condition-based maintenance of a device of an industrial automation system, characterized in that the arrangement comprises a first network interface outside of the industrial automation system and capable of communications with at least one sensor or processing unit connected to the at least sensor, wherein the at least one sensor is installed for monitoring the device inside of the industrial automation system, and a second network interface outside of an industrial automation system and capable of communications with the device inside of the industrial automation system or processing unit connected to the device, and a controller operatively connected to the first and second network interfaces to cause:

- a) obtaining (202), by the first network interface, measurements from at least one sensor installed for monitoring the device;

- b) obtaining (204), by the second network interface, information indicating one or more operational parameters of the device;

- c) determining (206), by the controller, by a linear model based on computational models of two or more operational parameters of the device, one or more threshold levels for measurement values indicating a maintenance need of the device, wherein at least one of the threshold levels is adapted on the basis of the operational parameters of the device;

- d) estimating (208), by the controller, one or more time instants associated with a change of the maintenance need of the device on the basis of the obtained measurements and at least one of the threshold levels; and repeating a), b) c) and d) over one or more time periods such that at least one of the previous estimated time instants is adapted (210) on the basis of the obtained measurements in a subsequent time period.


 
10. An arrangement according to claim 9, comprising a pre-analyzer unit local such that the amount of measurements and the operational parameters may be reduced close to the device to the device and a post-analyzer unit, wherein the pre-analyzer unit capable of performing dedicated analytics specific to the device and/or operating environment of the device and the post-analyzer unit is capable of performing generic analytics.
 
11. An arrangement according to claim 9 or 10, wherein the arrangement is a cloud computing system comprising a user interface component capable of causing displaying information comprising at least one of user-selectable element, a threshold level for the measurement values, a measurement value, an indicator, at least one of the estimated time instants, alarm information and the operational parameters.
 
12. An arrangement according to any of claims 9 to 11, comprising means for performing a method according to any of claims 2 to 8.
 
13. An arrangement according to any of claims 9 to 12, wherein the at least one sensor is a displacement sensor, an acceleration sensor or velocity sensor, and the device is capable of mechanical material processing, wherein the device comprises one or more parts that are actively movable by operating power of the device, when the device is operated, whereby the at least sensor is installed to the device for monitoring movement of the actively movable parts, during operation of the device.
 




Drawing