Direct-write fabrication of wear profiling IoT sensor for 3D printed industrial equipment

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 36th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2019, 2019, pp. 862 - 869
Issue Date:
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© 2019 International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction I.A.A.R.C. All rights reserved. Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is an emerging technology, not only as a prototyping technology, but also to manufacture complete products. Gravity Separation Spirals (GSS) are used in the mining industry to separate slurry into different density components. Currently, spirals are manufactured using moulded polyurethane on fibreglass substructure, or injection moulding. These methods incur significant tooling cost and lead times making them difficult to customise, and they are labour-intensive and can expose workers to hazardous materials. Thus, a 3D printer is under development that can print spirals directly, enabling mass customisation. Furthermore, sensors can be embedded into spirals to measure the operational conditions for predictive maintenance, and to collect data that can improve future manufacturing processes. The localisation of abrasive wear in the GSS is an essential factor in optimising parameters such as suitable material, print thickness, and infill density and thus extend the lifetime and performance of future manufactured spirals. This paper presents the details of a wear sensor, which can be 3D printed directly into the spiral using conductive material. Experimental results show that the sensor can both measure the amount of wear and identify the location of the wear in both the horizontal and vertical axes. Additionally, it is shown that the accuracy can be adjusted according to the requirements by changing the number and spacing of wear lines.
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