Vero is a perpetually-powered, out-of-the-box equipment health monitoring system from wireless power pioneer Nikola Labs (Westerville, OH) that can closely monitor process critical equipment in an industrial IoT environment. “Think of how wireless internet revolutionized internet connectivity,” said Will Zell, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Nikola Labs. “Before, the interface was the Ethernet cord. Then Wi-Fi created mobility. The transition from wired to wireless power delivery is going to have a similar effect. After the revolution has taken its course 20 or 30 years from now, wireless power will be part of our everyday lives.” The proprietary Vero platform is entirely wireless and maintenance-free, powered by cells that convert radio frequency energy (RF) into usable direct current (DC) power. The wireless energy conversion technique that powers this system was developed and patented at The Ohio State University and is licensed exclusively to Nikola Labs.
Perpetually-powered wireless sensors save time for facility managers. Once Vero is installed, data capture and system maintenance are touch-free. “Battery-powered sensors have a life of one to three years,” noted Zell. “That’s ok if you have one device, but imagine if you have one thousand. You’d have to hire a full-time maintenance person who walks around doing nothing but replacing batteries. That’s a nightmare. The whole promise of this system is to make maintenance more efficient.” The system can be customized and retrofitted to any size or age of production equipment. Once the system is installed, plant technicians have immediate access to the sensors’ data, and that information is translated into real-world recommendations by a live analyst. “If I just give you vibration data and you don’t have any context, it’s like handing a patient an EKG report and expecting them to figure out what’s going on with their heart,” explained Zell. “Our analysts are going to be aware of problems and will proactively recommend action.”
The Vero platform allows a manufacturer to shift from a time-based maintenance schedule to a condition-based maintenance schedule, and the system data is more robust than previous maintenance diagnosis methods. “No one wants to be walking around taking vibration readings,” stated Zell. “Even if they do, those infrequent readings will never generate enough data for maintenance managers to implement a condition-based maintenance schedule.” Vero is subscription-based and includes a free trial period. Custom design of the system, professional installation and lifetime hardware and software upgrades are included.
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