Automated machinery and manual designs alike must exhibit minimal vibration and should gently and precisely slow and moving masses on (or engaged with) the design. Our 2020 Design World Trends survey of industry experts indicates an uptick in new applications for shocks, damping, gas springs, and kinematic holding that were previously done manually or run without any shock and vibration protection at all. These designs see the most performance improvements when vibrations are isolated or damped.
In other instances, incorporation of sensing capabilities has (just as with couplings) leveraged the strategic placement of shock absorbers to gain IoT (Industry 4.0) functionalities. Just consider the input of Brad Griffin, product line manager at ITT Enidine, for more on this.
Describe how the trend for ever-higher throughput is prompting more use of shock and vibration mitigation.
The industrial automation and manufacturing industries’ continued focus on ever-higher throughput and efficiency is impacting the way manufacturers consider machine longevity, machine-operation safety, and production quality. Though some level of shock and vibration is unavoidable in moving systems, mitigating these factors is essential for maximizing overall performance. Our shock absorbers and vibration isolators help reduce machine vulnerabilities while improving performance, helping production lines achieve their desired throughput. The shock absorbers’ tamperproof design also ensures stable and repeatable performance cycle after cycle … and maximizes energy absorption from varying masses and forces.
What are good options for machine designs that need to be rugged?
Wire-rope isolators help protect against damaging vibration and noise within machinery. Ours are constructed of stainless-steel cable and have RoHS-compliant aluminum retaining bars … so are corrosion resistant and completely unaffected by oil, chemicals, abrasives, and ozone or temperature extremes. In one recent application, a leading manufacturer of operator cabs turned to us to get better isolation from harmful vibration for its units. Enidine’s wire-rope isolators were installed and used in a compression-mounting configuration, which significantly reduced vibration.
What kinds of new IoT functionalities do you see in vibration mitigation and damping?
Automation combined with the emergence of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is leading to smart factories — fully run via the internet. These automated factories and warehouses boast higher productivity because they allow for unattended operation and real-time communication. The problem is that machinery left unattended is vulnerable to excessive shock and vibration.
So to help end users monitor unattended machinery and products in various factory settings, Enidine developed Sentinel Series technology. This is a first-generation IoT-enabled device that uses microelectronics integrated with Enidine’s heavy-duty shock absorbers to provide continuous monitoring and wireless alerts for impact activity on remote or unattended applications.
Wireless communications support IoT functionality in any OEM design without the burden of high cost or system modifications. Sentinel is suitable for many industrial applications — including automated warehousing and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRSs) as well as stacker crane operations where continuous monitoring is critical to equipment uptime and safety.
Have you seen increased use of your components in applications not previously automated or damped at all?
Before the rise of automation in factories and warehouses, machine maintenance and health monitoring were manual processes. Now, monitoring solutions are key to protecting machine health. Our Sentinel series of shock absorbers uses patent-pending onboard monitoring for remote monitoring. Continuous shock absorber and impact monitoring yields data that is communicated across facilities to a PLC or other similar system. Designed with affordability and longevity in mind, OEMs and manufacturers can incorporate this IoT technology into existing designs without modification of existing equipment. Sentinel is the first of its kind in the industry, and the first generation in a line of solutions we’re planning.