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Transforming Pharmaceutical Maintenance Management with Kappa Wireless Sensors

In the evolving landscape of pharmaceutical manufacturing, our client manages an extensive array of equipment distributed across diverse areas of their facility. Seeking to boost machine uptime and performance, our client partnered with Sensoteq to implement a wireless condition monitoring strategy using Kappa sensors. The integration of remote condition monitoring enabled a shift from reactive to proactive maintenance, resulting in increased operational resilience, efficiency, and resource savings.

Machinery and Operations

The client’s equipment encompasses a spectrum of vital components, including pumps, motors, fans, HVAC units, chillers, and compressors. These assets are essential for pharmaceutical product development, as well as facilities management, as companies aim for efficient and streamlined production. They sought a solution that could optimise machine uptime and performance.

Following a successful meeting at an industry tradeshow, the client opted to partner with Sensoteq to implement a wireless condition monitoring strategy. In accordance with the client's specifications, our engineer conducted a comprehensive site assessment, devising a strategic plan for installation that prioritises critical elements.


Sensoteq executed a comprehensive installation initiative, deploying a total of 281 Kappa sensors strategically positioned across five distinct production areas. Kappa sensors transmit vibration and temperature data from almost any machine with a rotating element, such as motors or bearings, to the Analytix HMI. Through the user-friendly platform, the client gains seamless access to their machine data, enabling insights into equipment behaviour to facilitate informed, intelligent maintenance decisions. The Kappa system operates continuously, providing real-time monitoring of the client's critical assets.

Alarm thresholds enhance proactive maintenance strategies by triggering immediate notifications through text and email alerts in the event of critical asset conditions. This advanced warning system not only acts as a preventative measure against potential failures but also empowers the maintenance team to integrate these alerts into their work order process. As a result, automatic work orders are generated, streamlining and optimising the maintenance workflow for heightened efficiency and reliability.

The Problem

A few months post-installation, one of the machine's alarm thresholds were breached, signalling a pivotal moment for the client's asset management. Leveraging the invaluable data gathered through the Kappa system and Analytix, a multitude of early-stage concerns within the machinery were revealed, included impending bearing failures, pump cavitation, misalignments, and lubrication irregularities.

The acceleration data in the graph above portrays elevated vibration levels across both the motor and pump components. Specifically, the vibration amplitude reached 56.1 mm/s at the pump's operational speed (2,298 RPM) in the vertical direction. Notably, the horizontal and axial directions exhibited comparatively lower vibration levels, hinting at potential resonance and frame flexibility concerns.

The data not only served as an early warning system for the identified issues but also provided a foundation for the client to implement targeted corrective measures. The visualisation of vibration patterns became an invaluable tool for the maintenance team, allowing for precise diagnostics and the development of a proactive maintenance strategy to address these emerging challenges promptly. This proactive approach not only safeguards against potential disruptions but also contributes to the overall longevity and efficiency of the monitored machinery.

The Solution

Upon identification of the failures, the client was empowered to craft a comprehensive plan for the repair and restoration of the affected machinery. The temporary pause in data collection displayed in the graph below demonstrates when the machine was offline for repair, and subsequent reintegration of the machine following the necessary maintenance.

A noteworthy aspect of the post-repair data is the evident normalisation of vibration levels. The graph illustrates a distinct return to a state of equilibrium, with the machine's vibration levels reverting to a normal range, showcasing the effectiveness of the undertaken corrective actions. Further testament to the success of the repair efforts is the machine's adherence to the established upper and lower alarm thresholds.

This outcome not only signifies the rectification of the identified issues but also underscores the efficacy of the client's proactive approach in mitigating potential risks and ensuring the sustained reliability of the monitored machinery.

The Result

Crucially, the integration of our wireless sensors has catalysed a significant paradigm shift in the client's maintenance strategy. Transitioning from a reactive stance to a proactive approach, the customer now leverages real-time data and predictive analytics to anticipate potential issues before they escalate. This strategic shift not only bolsters operational resilience but also plays a pivotal role in achieving substantial reductions in unplanned downtime, a critical factor in optimising efficiency and saving valuable resources.

Recognising the immense value of our technology, the client proactively expanded the array of machines monitored. This expansion was coupled with a strategic decision to upgrade all existing sensors to the latest Kappa X sensors which expand upon the original Kappa capabilities to incorporate a 10 kHz FMax for more precise and comprehensive monitoring, and a replaceable battery. The heightened frequency capabilities of the Kappa X sensors provide an even more granular level of data, enabling the detection of subtle changes and abnormalities in machine behaviour with unprecedented accuracy.

Sensoteq has aided a new era of efficiency and reliability in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Contact us to discuss your requirement.


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