Sensor Detects a Bearing Issue and Prevents a Catastrophic Failure

Client Problem / Background

Our Client has had past failures with their Conveyor pulley’s that have historically failed unexpectedly.

The Client installed LTE/LoRa wireless monitoring sensors on a mining conveyor across their bearing pulleys. Installation of the sensors took less than five (5) mins each. The Predictive Maintenance system was collecting and displaying data on the dashboard within 30 mins.


  • The client’s condition monitoring team received an automated email alert from a sensor installed on an NDE bearing of a particular pulley reporting a significant increase in vibration.

  • The analytics reported the issue was ‘Unbalance’ related.

  • The dashboard analytics also showed a correlating rapid increase in temperature from the sensor’s surface temperature capabilities corroborating a notable issue was forming.

  • Vibration data collected manually by the Client with a CSI handheld, after receiving the system's alert, confirmed a sudden increase in unbalance vibration of the particular pulley.

  • Validation of the issue was also checked with slow-motion and heat sensing videos which revealed some significant material build up on the inside of the belt pulley.

  • The equipment had been offline for a general shutdown and the sudden increase and change in conveyor operation was detected immediately by the Miniotec sensor mounted on the bearing as the equipment was restarted.

Causal analysis undertaken after the alert was issued established the sudden increase in ‘unbalance’ vibration was likely due to hosing activities that washed material into a heap at the bottom of the pulley rim while the equipment was shutdown, effectively adding a significant weight off-centre.


  • Quickest deployment possible of any comparable sensor on the market – true “plug and play” (<5 mins).

  • No gateways or associated infrastructure (i.e. installing cables, power) required for this challenging outdoor environment.

  • Anomaly detection, Fault characterization, Automatic Notifications and Real-time monitoring

  • No connection into the Client’s IT network.

Business Case

  • Currently technicians / engineers inspect these pulleys manually on a 32-day PMI rotation. If it was not for the autonomous ‘24/7-365’ nature of the data collected and analysed, the ‘unbalance’ issue may not have been detected before the issue escalated as the regular monthly inspection was not due for approximately another 27 days.

If the issue was not detected by the IIoT sensor and action taken, the potential operational loss (production and repair) that could have resulted by a failure to the Bearing offered a Return on Investment of 20X (Client figures).

  • The ROI has already been recovered. The issue was detected within 30 days of sensor installation.

  • The wireless IIOT sensors prevented a catastrophic failure and performed as designed and intended, saving the Client a considerable amount of time and money from equipment replacement and loss of production revenue.

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