Tarmac embraces Schaeffler OPTIME solution

Tarmac embraces Schaeffler OPTIME solution
04 April 2024

Schaeffler’s OPTIME wireless condition monitoring solution is helping prevent unplanned downtime of machines and auxiliary equipment at the Tarmac Tunstead limestone plant near Buxton, Derbyshire, UK. The site benefits from the early detection of equipment failures, as the OPTIME app keeps the maintenance team informed on the condition of the machines at all times, without them having to take manual readings. Tarmac Tunstead is home to one of the largest limestone quarries in Europe. 

Prior to installing OPTIME, the plant has relied on route-based condition monitoring services provided by Schaeffler UK. Every two months, a Schaeffler field service engineer would visit the site to take vibration measurements on a variety of critical plant and equipment to identify any deterioration of rolling bearings and other general mechanical components such as gears and fan blades. 

Although this approach worked well, it relied too much on time-based maintenance and was more ‘reactive’ than ‘proactive’. The maintenance team also wanted to embrace the latest condition monitoring technology and to take more ownership of the data rather than rely on data analysis reports from Schaeffler every two months. They preferred a condition monitoring solution that could provide measurement data on a continuous basis, which would help prevent unplanned failure of auxiliary units such as pumps, fans and motors, which otherwise could quickly shut down an entire production line and incur high costs.

OPTIME is an easily scalable wireless condition monitoring solution consisting of wireless sensors, a gateway (routers with SIM cards) and digital services based on proprietary Schaeffler algorithms. The plant has rolled out OPTIME to its hydration plant and to the nearby Hindlow quarry. A total of 150 OPTIME sensors have now been installed, which monitor a wide variety of machines and rotating equipment, including electric motors, pumps, fans, blowers, gearboxes, compressors, feed conveyors and general bearing assemblies – in both indoor and outdoor areas. The plant is open to the elements, so the OPTIME sensors must withstand these harsh, dusty environments.

This data is then sent to the Schaeffler Cloud, which is where Schaeffler algorithms are applied. The data analyses are automatically sent to the Tunstead maintenance team via the OPTIME mobile phone app. If any issues are detected, alarms are sent, allowing maintenance to check those issues on their daily walk-around. 

Published under Cement News