SST’s Loki Vibration Sensor on a Hot Oil Pump

Thermal oil pumps or hot oil pumps are designed for the movement of heat-transfer oils under high-temperature conditions. The pumps are primarily used to feed an oil burner or furnace such as at sawmills to dry wood. Most sawmill energy plants consist of 3 primary pumps with a diesel back up.

The challenge is that when a bearing fails on a pump, it causes damage to other components like seals, resulting in hot oil which is near flash point being sprayed into the environment. There have been several fires as the direct result of bearing failures. However, understanding when a bearing may fail or when they require maintenance has been a difficult task without the right data.

Working directly with sawmills, SST has developed a version of its wireless vibration sensor to monitor vibration and temperature with maintenance in mind. The sensor helps pinpoint when bearings are starting to wear and at what point, failure may occur. In addition, the ability to connect temperature with vibration will provide additional insights.

Over time, the data will provide an accurate view of the life of the bearing from initial installation to service interval with an early indication of problems. The system is connected to the mill’s PLC/HMI so that warnings, alarms, and shutdowns can be programmed into the control system.

Installation is simple. The sensor is installed in minutes using a custom adapter with a thermocouple that screws into the existing pressure valve on the pump.

When the sensor is activated, it self-calibrates, regardless of the position on the pump. Using any Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled Android device, the interval of reporting and alarm thresholds can be changed by simply tapping the sensor with the device like paying for groceries.

The Loki sensor measures all 3 axis and has built-in intelligence to calculate the change in vibration (amplitude and frequency). The process is called Fast Fournier Transforms (FFT).

SST’s web-based software application called ECM Cloud provides operators with a graphic display of the g-force and shift-in-frequency to help pinpoint the magnitude and source of vibration.

Loki Vibration Sensor Features:

  • Onboard 3 – axis accelerometer up to 16 g range.
  • Vibration data processed directly on the sensor.
  • Comparison data and reporting at user selected intervals from 6 minutes to 12 hours.
  • Event triggered monitoring and reporting in real time.
  • Wireless range of up to 500 m / 1640 ft.