The correct operation of assets in many industries are dependant on the clamp force exerted by bolted fasteners present on the asset. One example is the fasteners on the safety critical stretcher bar found on railway switches, another being the bolts that provide the compressive force needed to expand the stem seals in valves, via the gland plate and followers, and another being the bolts associated with flanges.
Smart Component Technologies have developed a Smart Washer technology designed specifically to measure the clamp force of the bolted fasteners as found on the safety critical stretcher bar and are actively seeking to migrate the technology to other markets.
In use the Smart Washer and associated infrastructure is designed to operate in two distinct modes: condition monitoring and performance monitoring.
The Smart Washer is a device that enables the clamp force associated with a bolted joint, fixing or fastening to be measured; the data being transmitted to a collection point for processing, storage or onward transmission. This is achieved by means of novel clamp force sensors, near-field and far-field communications devices and low power embedded electronics.
Smart Washer features
- Embedded (sealed) clamp force measurement system.
- 2-axis inclination measurement.
- Temperature measurement.
- Unique ID, clock-timer and memory battery condition functions.
- Configurable multi-channel wireless transmission of data to Smart Access Points.
- On-board LED indicators.
- Reconfigurable through Bluetooth from Smart Reader.
- 10-year typical battery life.
- All Smart Washer to Smart Reader interactions are monitored via the Smart Access Point; anti-tamper and compliance.
- Tested for ingress protection (IP68), impact resistance (IK07), salt spray, shock, EMC, electrical safety.
- RED and RoHS approvals.
Smart Access Point
In a condition monitoring mode, clamp force samples are taken periodically in units ranging from minutes to days, and relayed to the user. The system is able to monitor itself and thus provide asynchronous event notification in response to “events”, such as change a percentage in clamp force.
To deliver this mode of operation the Smart Washer transmits the sampled clamp force measurement as a packet of information to a Smart Access Point that in turn relays the data to the user via standard network and cloud services.
Smart Access Point features
- Collects wireless transmissions from the deployed Smart Washers.
- Processes, stores or relays data to internet/cloud services, databases etc.
- Embedded GSM/3G connectivity.
- DIN-rail mountable, or supplied in IP66-rated pole-mounted enclosure.
- Power supply 9-25VDC, <10W.
- Temperature range -20 to 50°C.
- Up to 300m range.
- Tested for EMC immunity and emissions, electrical safety.
In a performance monitoring mode of operation, samples are taken more frequently (e.g. 10 samples per second) with the sampling being initiated manually and on a washer-by-washer basis. The purpose of this mode allows the user to see the applied clamp force change in near-real-time i.e. when tightening or loosening the fastener.
The Smart Reader is responsible for displaying the data being collected from the washer when used in the performance monitoring mode of operation. In addition, The Smart Reader is the device that allows the washer to be configured appropriately.
Smart Reader features
- Allows a Smart Washer to be reconfigured via Bluetooth.
- Rugged, hand held tablet device.
- Monitor and configure devices from a safe distance.
- 8-10 hour battery life.
- Ingress protection (IP76), resistant to 6-foot drop, daylight-readable display.