Realize the highest machine availability with Smart Motor Sensors

Sep 8, 2021

GO BEYOND. Discovery #10 

Packaging technology has the highest demands on dynamics and availability. Every avoided unscheduled downtime allows the customer to significantly save on operating costs and improves return on investment. Therefore, a desire for the highest machine availability is obvious. Condition Monitoring and predictive maintenance is a way to fulfill this desire. It means getting to the bottom of the root causes of failure, and analyzing them accurately – an ambitious project in cooperation between the packaging specialist Tetra Pak and the sensor specialist SICK.


Condition Monitoring for maximum machine availability

At the heart of every highly productive plant is a drive system that controls the highly dynamic and precise processes. For example, in the primary packaging process (form, fill, seal and cut) for beverage cartons, four servomotors operate with extremely short cycle times, at steep acceleration rates and high motor power. Due to high tensioned timing belts, the ball bearings of the drive motors are heavily loaded. Condition Monitoring of these components and functions enables predictive maintenance solutions that increases machine reliability (reducing unscheduled stops) and creates opportunities to optimize production planning.

Servo motor with integrated sensors
Servo motor with integrated sensors

The only maintenance-intensive component of a servomotor is the ball bearing. Analysis shows that a significant portion of servo motor failures occur due to damaged ball bearings. In order to detect this incipient failure at an early stage, the shocks on the motor housing can be measured with externally attached and separately wired piezo sensors. Unfortunately, these external sensors can be damaged by mistake, and take time to install.

”We are able to predict ball bearing failures and, via our service department recommend courses of action to the customer or carry them out ourselves, depending on which service concept the customer has chosen”, says Davide Borghi, Manager of Data Processing & Analytics for Equipment, Tetra Pak.


sHub® and EDS/EDM35 make a powerful team

Together with SICK a more sustainable and integrated solution was developed. Among other things, vibration measuring sensors (MEMs) have been installed inside the servo motor: The sHub® solution of sensors in combination with EDS/EDM35 feedback via HIPERFACE DSL® from SICK is used. Externally, this smart servo drive is therefore indistinguishable from a standard component. The combination of the sHub® with the EDS/EDM35 motor feedback system enables the measured values of vibration of the MEMs and the speed and position of the motor feedback system to be combined. It is thus possible to assign each shock to a high-resolution mechanical position. Additional cabling is not necessary since all data from the servo motor is transmitted via HIPERFACE DSL®. A decisive advantage for downstream data diagnostics is the data acquisition of vibration, speed and position synchronous in the drive with the controller cycle. “This is a decisive advantage over externally mounted CM boxes”, says Clemens Bitsch, Business Development, SICK AG.

Vertical form fill and seal machine
Vertical form fill and seal machine
Motor feedback systems rotary HIPERFACE DSL®
Exceptional performance for servo drives: motor feedback systems with HIPERFACE DSL®
Sensor hub for intelligent servo motors that “say” when maintenance is required


The easy-to-install sHub® with integrated acceleration sensor in combination with a displacement sensor enables the implementation of the solution within the servomotor housing, without additional space requirements. In addition, the sensors and electronics are protected against moisture. Data is transferred over HIPERFACE DSL® to the Servo Drive, which prepares and processes the process data according to the customer requirements via fieldbus and passes it on to the higher-level controller for analysis.


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