AEMT - Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades

26 July 2022
Condition monitoring solution expands to offer extended monitoring capabilities
THE MEERKAT SYSTEM FROM Fletcher Moorland has expanded into new applications as it continues to open up new monitoring opportunities for its customers.
Initially developed for a brickworks that wanted to monitor vibration in its industrial motors, Meerkat has vibration and condition monitoring at its heart and will always continue to. However, it was developed as a platform to which any sensor can be attached. Now the integration of a growing number of sensors is enabling a wide range of new applications. 

In addition to providing trend data and triggering alarms when set parameters are exceeded, Meerkat can also integrate with SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems to support the control of assets based on identified conditions. This could, for example, be slowing or stopping a motor if its temperature exceeds a pre-defined level. 

The system is also capable of working at scale. In one particularly interesting and topical application, a Meerkat installation is monitoring some 800sensors. Working with a large mobile telephony provider, the system is being used to monitor desk occupancy and people traffic at a key office site. As the company’s staff return to its offices after COVID, the company is looking to understand how its sites are occupied and how people move through them. This is part of a wider project to review the company’s ongoing capacity needs. 

The only real limitation with large scale projects such as the one above is the ability to transfer the large amounts of data collected by the sensors into the cloud for analysis and interpretation and the associated storage requirements. To counter this, edge computing capabilities have been introduced, where the data can be processed close to where it is collected with less needing to be transferred, and stored, away from the site. 

Commenting on the extension of Meerkat’s range of applications, Matt Fletcher, Managing Director of Fletcher Moorland, said: “We have evolved far beyond what we imagined when Meerkat first came onto the market in2017. Condition monitoring of rotating equipment will remain a key application for the system, but the scope beyond that is virtually endless. We’ve monitored numerous machines’ energy usage, tank fill levels, process pH levels, humidity in a kiln and battery temperature in a distribution sorter system. Essentially, if a sensor can measure something, Meerkat can monitor it, and you can manage it.” 
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