Thursday, 27 June 2019

Finally, a real collaboration between industrial IoT and enterprise Wi-Fi

"HPE announces the integration of ABB Ability™ Smart Sensor technology with Aruba access points from end of 2019."

Included in HPE's news release on Tuesday, June 18 2019 was an announcement of a new Intelligent Edge partnership with ABB: the 130-year old Swiss industrial equipment manufacturer.

ABB Motor Sensor
Motor Sensor. Photo from ABB catalogue
Integrations like this, in addition to the recently released SES-Imagotag Electronic Shelf Labels integration, are helping to differentiate Aruba products as IoT-friendly in a competitive market.

SES-imagotag electronic shelf label. Image from SES-imagtotag.com


The ABB integration is part of a suite of so-called "turnkey edge-to-cloud" solutions for Industy 4.0, which also includes cool toys like an IP55-rated enclosure announced in 2018 called the "Secure Edge Data Center", that can be installed nearer to the factory floor for handling all those time-sensitive operational workloads.

Back to the sensors: ABB has an existing sensor platform called ABB Ability Smart Sensors.
(The sensor capabilities are detailed at the end of this post.)


In the ABB Ability platform without Aruba APs, the sensors communicate over Bluetooth either to a phone within 1-10 meters, or to a ABB-supplied Bluetooth gateway within 50 meters (best case). From there, the information is sent to a cloud service which plots historical data onto graphs, shows lovely red icons when a sensor is alerting, etc.

While the details of the Aruba integration have not yet been announced, it is fair to assume that the BLE radios that have been included in the 300-series and 500-series Aruba APs will be put to use to replace the "gateway every 50 meters" functionality.

If it works anything like the aforementioned SES-Imagotag ESL integration, we can expect to be able to deploy it with a few simple lines of configuration that will allow the AP to bridge the BLE sensors to ABB's cloud servers.
While SES-Imagotag requires a USB dongle, I am hopeful that the ABB solution will be native, as it uses standard BLE.

European organisations can purchase directly from ABB online and the store page reveals subscription pricing of €99.00/device/year with their native gateways. There probably won't be any cost from the Aruba side though.


ABB Bearing Sensor
Bearing Sensor. Photo from ABB catalogue

The sensor portfolio includes:

Condition monitoring for pumps to get readings for:

  • Health parameters
    • Overall condition
    • Overall vibration (velocity rms)
    • Bearing condition
    • Misalignment
    • Unbalance
    • Looseness
    • Blade problems
    • Cavitation (under development)
    • Flow turbulence (under development)
    • Skin temperature (degrees)
  • Operating parameters
    • Radial vibration (velocity rms)
    • Tangential vibration (velocity rms)
    • Axial vibration (velocity rms)
    • Speed (rpm)
    • Operating hours
    • Number of starts


Mounted bearing sensors to get readings for:

  • Temperature
  • Vibration
  • with a traffic-light health dashboard visible in smartphone app

Low voltage motor sensors to get readings for

  • Health parameters
    • Overall condition
    • Overall vibration (velocity rms)
    • Bearing condition
    • Misalignment
    • Skin temperature (degrees)
  • Operating parameters
    • Radial vibration (velocity rms)
    • Tangential vibration (velocity rms)
    • Axial vibration (velocity rms)
    • Speed (rpm)
    • Operating hours
    • Number of starts
    • Supply frequency (Hz)
    • Output power (hp/kW)
    • Regreasing count-down

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