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Demystifying TRACTIAN Technology: Most Common Questions

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TRACTIAN is revolutionizing the way industries and facilities manage their maintenance.

Our goal is simple: to empower the frontline workers of industries – the backbone of our economy – with the ideal combination of hardware and software they need to become the best in the business. It’s artificial intelligence used at the disposal of maintenance.

Our solutions were designed specifically for each stage of maintenance, and when combined, they allow full control and predictability over machines remotely and in real time.

We provide valuable information about machine performance, operating conditions, and maintenance needs with 3 main products:

  • Online Condition Monitoring
  • Maintenance Management Software
  • Energy Management

Seeing all this in action may seem complicated, as our products are unlike anything else on the market. That’s why, in this article, we’ve gathered all the key questions and answers you need to know about TRACTIAN technology.

1. What are TRACTIAN’s main areas of expertise?

The main focus of our solutions is to reduce maintenance costs through products developed to solve real problems.

With the ONLINE CONDITION MONITORING sensor, TRACTIAN customers can monitor machine performance in real time, detecting faults and avoiding unexpected failures that can lead to unplanned downtime. This enables a predictive maintenance approach, rather than a reactive one, allowing preventive actions before serious problems happen.

TRACTIAN also offers ENERGY MANAGEMENT solutions, enabling clients to monitor and optimize their energy consumption. This results in cost savings, reduced waste, and a more sustainable approach to energy use.

Asset management can be simplified using a MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE (CMMS). That’s why we created TracOS™, a complete maintenance management solution that brings mobility, automation, and control into a single system. With advanced asset and work order management, besides SAP integration capabilities. TracOS™ makes it easier to optimize productivity, reduce costs, make data-driven decisions, and improve operational performance.

Learn more about condition based monitoring here

Condition monitoring, energy management, asset management solutions
TRACTIAN solutions for condition monitoring, energy management and asset management.

2. What is Smart Trac, the TRACTIAN vibration sensor, and how does it work?

Smart Trac is the IoT vibration and temperature sensor that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) for automatic fault detection and prescription.

It collects temperature and vibration data in all three axes (x, y, and z) over time to set normal levels for each machine, and automatically sends that data to our online monitoring platform.

As soon as it detects anything out of the ordinary in the asset’s operation, the sensor alerts maintenance teams to take action while the failure is still in its early stages.

Smart Trac works in temperatures from -40° F to 230° F, and can detect failures such as unbalance, misalignment, cavitation, mechanical looseness, lubrication failures, and wear, among many others.

TRACTIAN’s fault detection technology is even patented by the USPTO, the world’s largest patenting institution, making Smart Trac the most advanced in the prescriptive maintenance market.

3. Do the sensors only monitor electric motors?

We’ll answer this question in two parts. Smart Trac, our vibration and temperature sensor, monitors over 100 fixed asset categories. These include electric motors, compressors, gearboxes, pumps, bearings, HVACs, generators, turbines, and so many others.

Assets that can be monitored by TRACTIAN

Essentially, Smart Trac monitors any and all rotating assets that work with some kind of critical behavior or that have a statistically defined vibration profile.

Energy Trac, on the other hand, collects three-phase voltage and current data from machines. It can monitor any type of asset, as long as there’s power flowing.

4. Does Smart Trac only have an IP69K rating? Is it designed to monitor assets in classified areas?

The Smart Trac sensor has an IP69K protection rating against steam and high-pressure water jets, and is resistant to dust, high temperatures, and chemical environments.

For asset monitoring in classified areas, we created the Smart Trac Ex sensor. It’s Ex-rated for atmospheres with combustible gas or dust, and can continuously monitor harder-to-access machines.

It’s the ideal sensor for industries in the petrochemical, food, pharmaceutical, textile, brewing, pulp and paper, or power plant sectors, for example.

5. How are the sensors installed?

5.1 Is using a magnet the only way to install the Smart Trac?

No, the sensor base has a magnet that aids the installation process, but there are 3 types of fixing:

  • Glue magnetic base on the asset using Loctite 330 adhesive (glue + activator);
  • Screw the sensor directly onto the asset (M8x1.0x5.0 screw thread);
  • Screw on the nut previously welded to the asset (M8x1.0 screw thread).

5.2 Is the Energy Trac sensor invasive?

The Energy Trac is installed in electrical panels and must be connected to the equipment’s voltage supply, which is mandatory to protect the circuit breaker. It’s compatible with DIN rails and has fixing magnets so that it can be positioned on metallic surfaces such as the electrical panel itself.

The sensor calculates electric current by means of current transformers (CTs). Because of the split claw design, you don’t have to open the circuit to install the sensor – it’s only necessary to identify if the orientation of the claws is adequate for the current flow.

In the case of electrical voltage, the sensor collects data via 4 wires connected in parallel to the power supply. The maximum voltage supported is 480V between phases or 277V between phase and neutral.

Sensor for energy management
TRACTIAN current and voltage energy sensor

The current clamp must be used in the same phase as the voltage. The communication of the sensor is via an external antenna, which should be installed in a high location, preferably outside of metal switchboards.

6. Connectivity: Is my data secure?

Our products monitor vibration, temperature, current, power, and voltage of machines – it’s the only data collected and sent by the sensors.

This data is sent via mobile network (3G, 4G or LTE) to our cloud, which performs its processing and analysis. Using a mobile network instead of an industrial WiFi is important – it ensures greater data protection, since systems that go through a WiFi network end up exposing the company.

All data is sent in encrypted form, using AES encryption standards, which allows only TRACTIAN sensors and our servers to interpret the transmitted data.

100% of the data is stored in the cloud on the AWS (Amazon Web Service) system, which is completely compliant with all industry standards for data protection.

In the case of the Smart Trac, the receiver has the role of receiving the data from the sensors (via WiFi frequency, 2.4 GHz) and then sending it back to the cloud via mobile communication. Each receiver can handle data from 10 to 15 sensors within a radius of 30 meters.

Regarding infrastructure, the only thing needed is an electrical source (110/220V socket) for the receiver.

7. What’s the wireless protocol used in the communication between sensors and receivers?

The communication protocol used between sensor and receiver is a proprietary one, approved by the FCC, which is based on the IEE802.11, in 2.4GHz. Because it’s a proprietary protocol and communication based on MAC addressing, it’s impossible to have any kind of interference with any other local network.

8. How does data collection by TRACTIAN sensors work?

Smart Trac uses an internal accelerometer to measure machine vibration levels.

The vibration signal is transmitted to a controller inside the sensor, which processes the data and transmits it via a wireless connection to TRACTIAN’s cloud-based analysis platform.

The acquisition frequency collected by the Smart Trac is 32 kHz, while the Energy Trac is 8 kHz. The interval between collections can be set according to the user’s preferences, but we use 5 to 10 minutes as default.

9. How does automatic failure detection work? How precise is the Artificial Intelligence behind it?

Sensors attached to the machines identify vibration, temperature, current, voltage, and consumption data. They then send this data to processing, which is performed by the TRACTIAN monitoring platform.

This processing involves a machine learning model trained to examine the data and identify patterns associated with a specific failure.

TRACTIAN AI compares the analyzed asset with millions of similar assets around the world, allowing a detailed analysis of performance variations over time.

This means that we can analyze and understand the performance of an asset under different operating conditions, and automatically predict failures based on both the history of that machine and similar assets.

Learn more about TRACTIAN AI in this blogpost

The precision rate stays around 80% to 95%. As alerts are checked and the algorithm receives feedback, it continues to learn and there’s an increase in assertiveness.

10. Does the sensor eliminate vibration analysts? What information do I get in the report?

Our sensor does not replace vibration analysts! It empowers maintenance teams, meaning it allows them to work without being dependent or limited. It’s artificial intelligence (AI) being used at the disposal of maintenance.

If analysts don’t exist in a specific company, the sensor can be used to meet the team’s needs. In any other cases, the sensor becomes a primordial tool for work and quality improvement.

The report has two scopes:

1 – Generalist Report: indicates that the change was found but does not specify the fault. For example: an increase in temperature, or an increase in RMS speed.

2 – Specific Report: indicates the most likely failure: unbalance, misalignment, looseness, gear wear (depending on the type of asset).

The information you get in the report:

1 – Global values (temperature, RMS speed, RMS acceleration, trend)
2 – Peak spectrum (speed, acceleration)
3 – Envelope spectrum (speed, acceleration)
4 – Breakout values and percentages and variation indicators

11. What’s the purpose of TracOS™ maintenance management software (CMMS)? Is there a data storage limit?

TracOS™ is an advanced maintenance management solution that brings together mobility, automation, and control in a single system.

The system enables efficient asset management, with features such as an asset tree, QR Codes, and quick access to critical real-time information. It also offers smart maintenance plans based on calendar or asset condition, to maximize equipment life and minimize failures.

With integration to SAP, TracOS™ provides a 100% integrated and unified system, making maintenance management easier. With our integration, you’ll significantly change the way SAP transactions are performed; you won’t need to memorize transaction codes or manually update them on your computer. Now, field workers can perform all these actions directly on their cell phones.

Technicians on the factory floor have immediate access to SAP transactions. From now on, you can open, edit, and close Maintenance Orders directly on your mobile device.

TracOS™ does not have a data storage limit. It offers unlimited space for machine and maintenance information and history.

12. How can TracOS™ integrate with other ERPs and software on the market, such as SAP?

The integration between TracOS™ and SAP is done through an open API and a unique connector developed by TRACTIAN. Our team of experts maintains constant contact with your IT department to ensure a coordinated and transparent process from the beginning.

We take the time to understand the specifics of your routine to identify key requirements and work closely with you to integrate TracOS™ with your entire operation.

Using a rigorous methodology, we collaboratively develop a detailed blueprint of your process and how it’ll be structured in the system. This joint approach allows us to align the software perfectly with your operational needs, ensuring that every aspect is integrated and optimized.

If you would like to understand more about TRACTIAN solutions, contact us and schedule a demo.

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About the author:

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Igor Marinelli

Founder and Co-CEO of TRACTIAN. Columnist of Maintenance Magazine. He is one of the youngest people to enter the maintenance area and his company is consider the fastest growing industrial startup in Latin America.

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