Vibration sensors help keep frozen chips moving.

Many producers of the UK's favourite food, the chip, are using vibration sensors to monitor the vibration levels of their vibratory feeders and conveyors.

These feeders perform the important task of conveying the food product around the manufacturing plant, starting as raw potatoes at one end and finishing as chips at the other.

Maintenance engineers have the responsibility of looking after the vibratory feeders to make sure they are operating as they should. By monitoring the vibration levels, they are aware of any changes and can react to these to ensure that corrective procedures or repairs are carried out at the most convenient time. This avoids having a vibratory feeder go down, resulting in lost production and heavy cost losses.

Forward thinking Maintenance Departments know the benefits of monitoring vibration levels and usually start their proactive programme with a simple hand-held vibration measuring instrument. At first they take a vibration reading from points on each feeder and use these as reference levels. They can then see any changes over time and react accordingly.

From these early beginnings with the one instrument, it then becomes clear that to safely monitor all of the vibratory feeders on a continuous basis would need a change to having individual vibration sensors at each monitoring point. This multi-point method means that continuous readings from all sensors are taken, giving more control of any faults that occur.

Many vibration sensors allow use in tough conditions including sealing up to IP68 for submersion, high and low temperatures and a 4-20mA output for direct PLC interface.

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March 2006

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