Do you need wired or wireless vibration monitoring?

February 13, 2020

Over the past year, Neal Systems has been researching, testing, integrating and deploying combination vibration monitoring systems using both wired and wireless technology. There are benefits and drawbacks of both wired and wireless, but when paired together the accuracy and reliability of your system becomes unmatched.

Wireless vs Wired

The Benefits of Wired Vibration Monitoring

Reliability: The 4-20mA current loop has set the standard for industrial signal reliability. The Neal Systems enhanced solutions are unrivalled in reliability due to its consistent signal accuracy over the typical life span of a loop-powered field instrument.  

Continuous Data: The wired solutions provided by Neal Systems record vibration data continuously, ensuring that any sudden changes in the overall vibration levels are captured and recorded. This allows for the most accurate understanding of your equipment function.

The Drawbacks of Wired Vibration Monitoring

Installed Cost: The installation of a new wired sensors on standard wired vibration monitoring usually requires new conduit and expanded I/O on the PLC.    

Convenience:  Wired data has to be viewed locally, either at the indicator on the instrument or from the control room using SCADA software.  

Diagnostic Power: Wired solutions usually use 4-20mA outputs, which simplify the data down to overall levels and loose the frequency information. 

The Benefits of Wireless Vibration Monitoring

Installed Cost:  Wireless solutions are particularly cost effective.

Convenience: With Neal Systems cloud-based wireless solutions, any device with an internet connection and log-in credentials can access trends and alarms.

Diagnostic Power:  Wireless solutions offer more advanced data processing and diagnostic capabilities. This is due to the computational “heavy lifting” that is done by remote servers.

The Drawbacks of Wireless Vibration Monitoring

Reliability: Even the most robust wireless systems are subject to downtime. Whether it’s a neighboring plant blasting electromagnetic noise on your frequency, a box truck conveniently parked next to your base station, or a new construction in the path of your signal.

Non-Continuous Data: Modern data speeds are fast, but not fast enough to continuously transmit the high frequency data sampling rates needed for most vibration applications.  To deal with this challenge, most wireless vibration solutions record and transmit small windows of vibration data in regular intervals.  The recording window is usually less than 1 sec and the interval between recording windows on the Neal Systems choice solution is 5 minutes.

How do these two vibration monitoring solutions fit together?

In our experience, the best monitoring systems use a combination of both wireless and wired components.  The drawback of costs of a wired solution can be minimized with loop-powered Neal Systems enhanced solutions: the Metrix ST5484E and the Metrix MX2034. These options reduce installation and I/O requirements, which in turn lowers costs. These specific styles of sensors also have a long history of providing reliable and accurate alarms for increasing or decreasing vibration.  

The wired solutions, Metrix ST5484E and the Metrix MX2034, when paired with the wireless Samsara HM11 and IG21, allow for in-depth diagnostics on regular intervals or in the event of an alarm. Also, by pairing a wireless option with the wired solution you are able to quickly and remotely able to access information on your system.

Choosing to go with the combination wired and wireless solution, will increase efficiency and reliability, which lowers cost and allows for preventative maintenance to occur before equipment malfunctions result in system failure.

Check out this graphic for a quick glance of each solution! 

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