Rolling bearings are used in almost all industrial machines and systems. However, due to their positioning directly in the flow of forces, they are often susceptible to damage and failure. Therefore, it is of great interest for plant operators to monitor the condition of the rolling bearings as well as the bearing forces acting there in order to be able to detect overload events.
According to the current state of the art, external force sensors can be used for this purpose. The biggest disadvantage of this technology is that the sensor technology must either be taken into account in the design process of the plant, which is difficult due to the usually prevailing shortage of installation space, or installed in retrofitting, which is also associated with high expenditure for design changes due to the installation space requirements of the sensors.
Ideally, therefore, a technology is needed for load monitoring that has the same functionality as conventional force sensors, but at the same time does not require any additional installation space.
HCP Sense sensor bearing meets precisely these requirements. Since we use the electrical properties of the rolling bearing itself, no external sensor technology is required. Only one electrical contact on the rotating and on the stationary part of the system is sufficient.
What seems simple is as new as it is effective and therefore patented by HCP Sense.
Each individual contact between a rolling element and the inner or outer ring can be regarded as a plate capacitor consisting of two metallic surfaces (inner or outer ring and rolling element) and the lubricant between them, which acts as a dielectric. Depending on the load, a different lubricant film thickness and a different capacitor surface area are formed due to the Hertzian pressure. These variable variables can be recorded with our measurement technology in the form of different electrical impedances and allow direct conclusions to be drawn about the process forces.
Thus, HCP Sense’s sensor bearing offers the unique possibility to monitor process forces during operation, whereby no additional installation space for sensor elements is required.
The data obtained can be conveniently embedded into existing condition monitoring and predictive maintenance systems, preventing damage from overload events and determining remaining service life based on actual load.
In addition, force measurement can improve layout and design, and validate simulation models.