Manufacturing equipment and systems today are incredibly sophisticated, as well as incredibly complex. Keeping them running at maximum efficiency is a difficult task that requires constant monitoring of subtle activity on key components.
Manufacturers at every level, whether they’re making printed boards, electronic systems or cardboard boxes, need to make sure that equipment runs nonstop until it’s time for scheduled maintenance. Equipment and component makers move in many directions to monitor equipment to determine when it might be heading toward failure.
Ball bearings are usually considered a minor segment of the infrastructure, but they are a critical component in most manufacturing equipment. SKF, the Swedish manufacturer that’s one of the largest bearing suppliers, discussed a novel new technology at a press meeting earlier this week.
SKF is putting the final touches on a bearing that includes a wireless link that regularly sends information on the bearing’s vibration and temperature. Those parameters tell whether spindles and other moving parts are performing at normal levels. When bearings are getting hot or vibrating too much, it’s probably time to schedule maintenance.
Board fabricators and electronic manufacturing services suppliers know that components that seem to be simple infrastructure components have to perform precisely or complex systems will fail. When companies come up with innovative technologies that give these basic components new capabilities, everyone benefits.