High speed driven toolheads get predictive maintenance and continuous usage-based warranty monitoring for first time using cellular IoT


Driven toolheads are used widely in various manufacturing industries and by dentists, but spotting problems in these high value items before they fail or became warranty claims has not been possible before now

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that German IoT design house, InnBlue, has partnered with Italian static and driven toolholder manufacturer, M.T., to develop the world’s first predictive maintenance and continuous usage-based warranty monitoring solution for high speed driven toolheads by using Nordic’s nRF9160 multi-mode LTE-M/NB-IoT System-in-Package (SiP).

In operation a small, retrofittable battery-powered 7.5 x 4 x 3 cm metal box, developed by InnBlue, with an external antenna attached to the top is attached to an M.T. driven toolholder. Internal sensors collect data on toolhead spin speed, temperature, vibration, collisions, and GPS location. All data is processed using edge computing on the Nordic nRF9160 SiP’s 64MHz Arm® Cortex™-M33 processor supported by 1MB of Flash and 256KB of RAM memory, and key changes then sent to the cloud.
It keeps driven toolheads operating optimally with far fewer unexpected failures which can be extremely costly to end users
Oleh Lozynskyy, InnBlue
“If any abnormalities are detected these will notified to the end user via a customer facing cloud dashboard and email,” comments Oleh Lozynskyy, Founder, InnBlue. “These include, for example, alarming if the toolhead reaches anomalous temperature values, or if we sense abnormal vibrations that would typically indicate something is going wrong with a critical internal component. We also use the accelerometer to detect G vector collisions that will almost certainly have damaged the toolhead and potentially anything it is used on, even if the tool doesn’t look broken.”
By using cellular IoT, InnBlue says the user of the toolholder does not have to do anything as no gateway is required. Encrypted data is simply sent periodically to summarize how a toolhead has been used, and automatically in the event of a misbehavior or alarm.
“All of this serves to spot problems early when they can be fixed more cost effectively instead of developing into far more expensive failures,” continues Lozynskyy. “And if a warranty claim does need to be made it can quickly be determined if it was caused by the toolhead being used out of recommended usage guidelines or a genuine warranty or parts failure. But above all else, it keeps driven toolheads operating optimally with far fewer unexpected failures which can be extremely costly to end users.”
“With this solution M.T. is able to respond in the coming years promptly to evolutions in the manufacturing sector including a greater emphasis on services,” says M.T. President and CEO, Gianluca Marchetti. “This means manufacturing customers get a package comprising product plus services plus added value. The added value is a reduction of costs, fewer breakages, and increased tool quality.”
“Being able to continuously monitor and predictively maintain high value assets is a win-win for both the supplier of those assets and the end user,” adds Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor Director of Sales & Marketing. “But it will also give suppliers of those assets greater insights into how their products are being used in the field which can overtime be used to further improve their products and offer targeted services based on actual field data.”