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New IoT tech to help track machinery change

Product is a low-power, cost-effective alternative to existing condition monitoring equipment

Leo Meng and Ian Bain celebrate the launch of BlueVib, Censis' 50th project
Leo Meng and Ian Bain celebrate the launch of BlueVib, Censis' 50th project

Wireless tech start-up, Sensor-Works, has developed an Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled condition monitoring device which aims to cut the cost of machinery maintenance.


The technology, named BluVib, developed in conjunction with Censis, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, can detect equipment faults by recording and analysing a range of data – including vibration and temperature.


According to the company it could revolutionise asset management and be deployed in a variety of industries and sectors including petrochemicals, water management, renewables, and manufacturing.


Connected through Bluetooth to an app on potentially any type of handheld device, the product is a low-power, cost-effective alternative to existing condition monitoring equipment, the company said.


“BluVib presents a huge opportunity to our business,” said Ian Bain, managing director at Sensor-Works. “It has potentially universal application, both in sector and geographical terms, and is a very different proposition to what is already available on the market: it’s appreciably cheaper, low power, and can be used wirelessly with any kind of device – you’re not locked in to expensive associated proprietary technologies.”


In one of the first Industry 4.0 demonstrators in Scotland, BluVib will be used at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, to measure vibrational signatures on specific machines.


The data acquired will be analysed to predict issues, in real-time, relating to machine performance, providing an early indicator of conditions where machine instability can occur.


“The product, and its deployment at the AFRC, gives us a significant opportunity to showcase its potential and take advantage of the emerging market for intelligent systems in manufacturing technology,” added Bain.


“Initial interest has been very strong, particularly from the US market, with whom we’ve been in regular dialogue to develop the product. In Scotland, we see the renewables and petrochemicals sectors as our biggest opportunity – BluVib could be used to effectively and efficiency monitor wind turbines, for example.”


The development of BluVib from proof of concept to market-ready product is Censis’s 50th project since its inception in 2013. Its project portfolio, currently worth £12.5m in project activity, is expected to deliver an estimated £95m in gross value added (GVA) for the Scottish economy.


As well as working with Scotland’s 170 sensing and imaging companies, Censis works with end-user businesses from a range of sectors, including oil and gas, subsea, built environment, and life sciences.


The Innovation Centre also launched its IoT Centre in 2015, which Sensor-Works used to develop BluVib; and last year Censis announced the launch of a series of Internet of Things low-power wide area networks across Scotland.


“Technological innovation has seldom played a more important role in the growth of businesses of all sizes and our aim has been, and will continue to be, to keep Scottish companies at the forefront of an ever-changing landscape,” said Ian Reid, chief executive, Censis.


“Sensor-Works is a perfect example of that objective in action. It also demonstrates precisely what our IoT Centre was designed to do: help SMEs take their products to the next level more quickly and bring new technology from early-stage development to being ready for launch.”


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