Torque strain gauge on rotating shaft.

Wireless Strain Measurements on Rotating Machinery: Challenges, Innovations, and Integrated Solutions

The advent of wireless strain measurements in rotating machinery has been a game-changer in the engineering and maintenance sectors, facilitating unprecedented insights into the operational health and performance of such systems. However, this technology comes with its own set of unique challenges, from environmental resilience to data management complexities. Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM) is at the forefront of addressing these challenges, incorporating advanced wireless strain measurement solutions into its iTestSystem software. This blog explores the multifaceted challenges of wireless strain measurements, discusses ITM’s integration of commercial wireless strain devices, and underscores ITM’s unmatched expertise in providing comprehensive solutions for structural and vibration analysis.

Challenges of Wireless Strain Measurements

Power Requirements: Wireless sensors on rotating machinery must operate independently of a constant power supply, making battery life and energy harvesting pivotal concerns. Ensuring consistent operation over long periods presents a significant engineering challenge.

Durability and Environmental Resilience: The operational conditions for rotating machinery often involve extreme temperatures, moisture, vibrations, and corrosive substances, demanding that wireless strain sensors be robust and reliable under such harsh conditions.

High Sample Rates: Capturing strain at high sample rates is critical for accurate monitoring and analysis of rapidly changing stress conditions in rotating machinery. Wireless systems must efficiently manage and transmit large volumes of data in real-time, posing significant technical challenges in terms of bandwidth and processing capabilities.

Price: While the benefits of wireless strain measurements are considerable, cost can be a prohibitive factor for many organizations. Developing affordable yet reliable wireless strain measurement systems remains a key challenge in broader adoption.

Centripetal Forces and Balancing: The addition of wireless sensors can impact the balance of rotating machinery, while also having to withstand significant centripetal forces. Ensuring sensors are both minimally invasive and durable under these conditions is a complex engineering feat.

Integrated Commercial Wireless Strain Devices

In response to these challenges, ITM has integrated several commercial wireless strain devices into the iTestSystem software, enhancing its capability to provide accurate and reliable measurements. Notable examples include:

SGLink: The SGLink wireless strain gauge sensor node offers a compact and rugged solution for measuring strain in challenging environments. Its ability to provide high-accuracy data under varying conditions makes it a versatile tool for a wide range of applications.

HX711: The HX711 is a precision 24-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) designed for weigh scales and industrial control applications to interface directly with a bridge sensor. Its high resolution and low cost make it an attractive option for integrating strain measurements into rotating machinery without significantly impacting the overall system price.

By incorporating devices like the SGLink and HX711, ITM enhances iTestSystem’s ability to capture precise strain measurements under diverse operational conditions. These integrations enable users to leverage the strengths of each device, such as the SGLink’s durability and the HX711’s precision and affordability, offering a robust solution for wireless strain monitoring.

Read our titled: Wireless Strain Measurements with iTestSystem, LabVIEW, and Arduino for more details about wireless strain measurements with HX711.

ITM’s Expertise in Wireless Measurement Solutions

ITM’s approach to wireless strain measurements in rotating machinery is built on a foundation of extensive experience and deep technical knowledge. This expertise is manifested in several key areas:

  • Strain Gauge Installation: ITM professionals excel in the precise installation of strain gauges, ensuring optimal sensor placement for accurate data capture.
  • Sensor Electronics Integration: The integration of advanced sensor electronics, such as the SGLink and HX711, into iTestSystem demonstrates ITM’s capability to develop and customize solutions that address specific measurement challenges.
  • iTestSystem Software: iTestSystem stands as a testament to ITM’s innovation in test and measurement technology. The software’s seamless integration with wireless strain devices enables efficient data collection, analysis, and storage, facilitating a comprehensive approach to machinery monitoring.

In conclusion, while wireless strain measurements on rotating machinery present a complex array of challenges—from power requirements and durability to high sample rates and cost considerations—solutions are at hand. Through the integration of advanced commercial devices like the SGLink and HX711 into its iTestSystem software, ITM offers a potent combination of technology and expertise. This unique positioning enables ITM to address the intricate demands of wireless strain measurement, ensuring reliability, accuracy, and operational efficiency in critical machinery monitoring and analysis.