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AMC Jets has over 20 years of experience servicing companies using high-pressure water- jet cutting technologies worldwide. A potential and widespread issue in its field of operations is a reduction in hydraulic system pressure, which often leads to performance decay of the water pressure intensifier. AMC Jets went to WEBTEC, a hydraulic measurement and control company, to find a portable monitoring and data capture solution. While the engineers at WEBTEC had never investigated pressure sensing of this magnitude before (72,500 psi), they could see no reason why it couldn’t be incorporated into their data-logging equipment.
Simply put, prevention is better than cure. The concept of predictive maintenance means testing a system that is working in order to predict when it may start to fail, thus enabling maintenance and repair before any catastrophic failure. It allows planned sourcing of expensive parts before they are needed and before a significant reduction in downtime occurs, since parts are usually only available on standby as they are required. It also means that panic jobs are minimized, and so the quality of any maintenance and repair is never compromised. It can save time and money, and the associated lack of unplanned downtime is of huge value.
Hydraulic pressure measurement alone is insufficient; the behavior of the hydraulic system generating the pressure is also important in determining the likelihood of failure. Therefore, the engineers at AMC Jets wanted to measure flows, pressures, and temperatures on the power supply hydraulic system and simultaneously measure the intensified water system pressure. They also recognize that contamination is the source of 80% of hydraulic failures, so they also needed to constantly access the condition of the hydraulic oil.
Since they were already using a MP Filtri in-line condition monitor, AMC engineers specified this unit as a core requirement, as well as a very high water pressure sensor, which they sourced and supplied themselves. This was an ideal opportunity for WEBTEC to engineer a solution for the client that would ultimately be useful for other clients in other areas of operations. AMC Jets wanted a portable data logger that would be easy to install and use, and discussed several alternatives of flow and pressure sensors, combined with a WEBTEC hydraulic data logger, the HPM6000 series.
Within their quotation, WEBTEC clients are provided with embedded hyperlinks to technical datasheets, providing all the information they need to discuss how best to customize their kit precisely, rather than having extraneous and unused cables and sensors. The final engineered solution for the AMC Jets system consisted of a portable data logger, four flow meters with on-board temperature, four pressure transducers, a particle counter, and all relevant connectors and cables.
An important part of the brief for this client was portability. Due to the size and bulk of the system, it is not practical for it to be contained within one carry case, and therefore it was split into two separate cases, the idea being to have a wet and dry case as necessary. They included wheels for easier portability and commuting. Since delivery, the client has decided to add a third to contain all of the flow meters permanently mounted on a single panel, ready to connect on site. The case was also configured with space for a 7-gpm stainless steel, positive-displacement flow meter for monitoring the water hydraulics at a later date.
The system itself took around six weeks to implement following some upfront feasibility engineering. The client also required the inclusion of an on-site training session as part of the project and used the projected test regime as an integral part of that training. The data collected was examined to ensure it met with AMC Jets’ objectives, enabling collaborative test process adjustments along the way.
Initial feedback from the client has been positive. AMC Jets believes the data analysis service will be a chargeable service for its own customers, partially refundable on acceptance of service recommendations.
The HPM6000 hand-held portable data logger unit comes with HPMcomm™ software, which enables test data to be downloaded and saved, archived to a computer. This benchmark or reference can be repeated months or years later and analyzed by overlaying the old and new data, comparing performance of the same serial number machine over time and gradually identifying its performance decay. A customer’s failing components can be pointed out visually and graphically.
The principle behind this system is applicable to different types of hydraulic equipment in the industry, not just water-jet cutting machines. Maintenance only when needed and servicing only components that need to be serviced is as important as reducing unplanned downtime for maintenance. The business advantages can be huge.
For more information, visit www.webtec.com/us.