Wireless Vibration Sensor


The field of Machinery Health is concerned with detecting changes in a machine’s temperature and vibration and using that information to predict problems well in advance of actual failure.  Knowing that a critical piece of equipment is approaching failure is much preferable to having it fail unexpectedly.

Emerson Industrial Automation’s Machinery Health Management division developed a prototype for a wireless vibration sensor that brings industrial machine health monitoring to the cloud. The standalone compact sensor attaches to industrial equipment—a setup known as parasitic sensing—and transmits vibration data to sophisticated algorithms that alert plant personnel to impending trouble.

Emerson asked Porticos to perform an independent engineering design review.


One challenge associated with parasitic sensing is ensuring the sensor is not prone to vibration in the range of frequencies being monitored. Otherwise, the sensor will misreport the machine’s behavior.

Porticos generated and executed a computer simulation of the device that leveraged high-fidelity harmonic analysis. We predicted that vibrations at specific frequencies would be magnified by the housing, skewing the sensor’s data. We then explored a range of modifications to improve the unit’s design.

Though many factors were contributing to the problem, the solution was straightforward: redesign the sensor. A couple of weeks after we’d shared our findings with the Advanced Design Center, they re-engaged us to propose, detail, and simulate the redesign.


Our modifications included changes to the geometry and architecture to minimize vibration amplitude and generally stiffen the system. Ten weeks later, we wrapped the project with empirical data validating the effectiveness of those improvements. Emerson’s Machinery Health Management product line now includes the AMS Wireless Vibration Monitor.

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