Low-voltage motors just got a big Internet of Things (IoT) assist with the introduction of smart sensor technology that significantly cuts downtime and extends motor lifespan. This advance in industrial IoT technology could be widely implemented by plant operators using a variety of motors.

Switzerland-based ABB announced its new sensor tech for low-voltage motors that can lengthen equipment lifetime by up to 30% while reducing downtime by a whopping 70%. The efficiencies from the IoT sensors displace the current standard regime of preventative maintenance and monitoring, which is both costly and time-consuming.

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“This innovative solution makes condition monitoring the new standard for low-voltage motors,” says President of the ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division Pekka Tiitinen.

“Optimized maintenance schedules help reduce maintenance costs greatly. Unscheduled outages are reduced considerably or even eliminated completely,” he adds. “Increased availability significantly boosts our customers’ productivity.”

ABB sensors’ ROI period could be a year, just in energy savings

ABB’s smart sensors attach directly to the motors and wirelessly send operating data such as power consumption, temperature, vibration and potential overload. The data are then analyzed on a customized platform by the plant operator, who makes decisions that will reduce the wear and tear on the low-voltage motors and reduce energy consumption by up to 10%. ABB says the smart monitoring technology can pay for itself in a year through energy savings alone.

The sensor technology is not exclusive to new motors manufactured by ABB, and can be quickly retrofitted on other low-voltage motors that are already operating.

ABB has also taken measures to protect motors affixed with the IoT technology from unauthorized access by ensuring designing the sensors so they are not electrically connected to the motors.  Data transmitted wirelessly are also encrypted to a secure server using proprietary algorithms for analysis