High cost pressure, tight schedules, strict statutory provisions and requirements on documentation are all combining to make machinery maintenance and repair a challenge. With its digital services for total productive management (TPM), Klüber Lubrication is helping customers meet that challenge. The latest example is a project with LEITNER, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ropeway systems.
Klüber Lubrication and LEITNER – both innovative, quality-focused pioneers in their fields – have enjoyed a working relationship based on trust for many years. When the opportunity arose to embark on a digital project involving the monitoring of the oil condition on gears for the Renon cable car in Bolzano, the company jumped at the chance. The aim was to gain greater transparency on the oil condition while realising cost and energy savings for the customer.
The challenge concerned “special urban transport systems such as the 3S gondola lift (editor’s note: a tricable gondola lift with two suspension ropes and one hauling rope) from Bolzano to Soprabolzano, in operation all year round for up to 18 hours per day and subject to extreme temperature fluctuations and weather conditions. Given that running time in one year is equivalent to that of a winter sports facility over five years, it is absolutely vital to avoid breakdowns,” explains Christian Scartezzini, COO of Peoplemover Service (a LEITNER AG subsidiary) and the man responsible for the digital project at LEITNER. Maintenance times need to be reduced to a few hours, and only night maintenance is generally possible, making predictive maintenance an important topic especially with regard to these systems. “Through our digital solutions, we are helping customers to minimise standstill, improve reliability and plan ahead,” says Dennis Klamer, Head of Digital Services at Klüber Lubrication, summing up the advantages of digital predictive maintenance. In the process, sensors are used to measure and analyse the condition of the oil. IoT gateways forward this data for central evaluation to a secure cloud, enabling oil changes to be performed as required. There is no need for monitoring or refills at defined intervals.
Working with the customer, Klüber Lubrication develops an individual solution that will be used to keep track of specific applications. According to customer requirements, Klüber Lubrication will undertake the installation on-site or provide remote assistance. In the case of LEITNER, support could only be rendered online owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. To determine the ideal sensor position, circuit diagrams and installation plans were exchanged and analysed in partnership. The LEITNER team, with the support of Klüber Lubrication, drafted and produced the sensor adapters, connecting pieces between the gears and the sensor, needed for operation; the test phase could then begin.
“The sensor data was successfully transferred and stored in our IoT environment. Experts from the relevant departments then performed final checking of measured values using the EfficiencyManager, our visualisation tool, and the sensor data was found to correlate with the prevalent operating conditions. This told us that the installed IoT solution was working,” says Klamer, summarising the outcome. The EfficiencyManager records completed maintenance measures and processes so that these may be tracked by all involved employees, in line with the legal provisions on documentation and audits.
Within a time frame of a few weeks, an individualised solution was developed and put into operation.
“All of the agreed deadlines were met, which makes Klüber Lubrication a highly reliable and professional partner from our point of view – despite the background of the pandemic, everything worked smoothly. We can already say that the close cooperation and thus the pooling of the know-how of Klüber Lubrication and LEITNER will enable us to carry out maintenance work in a more targeted and efficient way in the future. The plant operator can expect cost savings and an increase in reliability of the plant, but sustainability will also be improved", says Scartezzini, clearly delighted at the partnership with Klüber Lubrication and the initial results of the project.
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Urban ropeway systems are in operation almost around the clock. Efficient lubricant management is therefore essential to ensure the smooth transport of passengers.
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