Researchers develop a low-consumption system for monitoring industrial equipment
This research, led by the UOC, enables advance warning of potential machine faults

The I3Mote project – run by the Wireless Networks (WiNe) research group, part of the UOC's Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) – aims to anticipate breakdowns in industrial machinery thus helping to avoid unexpected production downtime. Professor Pere Tuset explained "We want to provide customizable systems, data processing and communications that can monitor the status of industrial machinery, perform diagnoses and predict when a problem could occur."
 
The research line this belongs to is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which is essentially about capitalizing on the potential of sensors, embedded systems and wireless communications beyond personal, domestic and community uses. In this same field, from 3 to 5 October Barcelona is hosting the IoT Solutions World Congress, a get-together for researchers, businesses and all those working in this sector.
 
Tuset described how the I3Mote system seeks to provide a step up in predictive maintenance, the goal of which is "to diagnose the condition of the machine while it is running". Giving as an example the case of electric motors, a component widely used across the vast majority of industries, Tuset said "We can make diagnoses using operational parameters such as temperature, vibrations and noise. This makes it possible to plan production stoppages better and economically has a positive impact on the running of the plant."


Open standards, low cost and low consumption

The comparative advantage the I3Mote platform holds over other similar systems is found in its open standards development, its low cost and its minimal energy consumption. For example, to monitor electric motors the system can run purely on energy taken from the vibrations of the active motor. Tuset highlighted "This lets it work without needing a power source nearby or having to change the batteries every so often, meaning its implementation and maintenance in real working environments are that much easier."


Collaboration between the UOC's IN3 and Texas Instruments
 
This project, which began in 2016, came about thanks to a collaboration between the IN3's WiNe research group and Texas Instruments, a company at the forefront of the semiconductor industry, based in Dallas, Texas (USA).
 
The system's first prototype was successfully delivered in 2016. Now work is focusing on developing and testing a second version, which is to have improved capabilities in terms of the processing and sending of data as well as lower energy consumption.
 

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Pere Tuset

Professor in the UOC's Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications.

Expert in: Researcher for the Wireless Network (WiNe) group.

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