Skip to the main content

FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about condition monitoring and SAM4. The list is split into general questions, specific questions about installation, and questions about data security. If you feel this list is missing something, please let us know.

General Questions

How much does SAM4 cost?
Pricing depends on a number of factors. To receive a free no-obligation quote, please contact info@semioticlabs.com.

How much does installation cost?
How much installation will cost depends on how you want to install SAM4. Installation can be performed by your own service team, an external party or a Semiotic Labs installation partner.

Semiotic Labs’ partners will give a quote based on, among other things, travel time, results of the site survey, number of assets, number of switch boxes, and installation time. Installation generally takes between 30 and 60 minutes per asset.

Can I see a demo of your solution?
Sure! Depending on your location, we can provide either a live demonstration of SAM4, or a demo over a video call. To request a demo, please email info@semioticlabs.com.

What’s the benefit of SAM4 for an asset with a low failure rate?
SAM4 can not only identify when an asset will fail, but in most cases it can also identify the cause of the impending failure. This means that your maintenance team can fix the problem faster when an asset starts to degrade. Additionally, assets with a low rate of failure will still occasionally break, causing unplanned downtime (which can be very costly). By detecting developing faults, SAM4 can enable you to plan maintenance when it suits you.

What type of machine is SAM4 suitable for?
SAM4 is available for low-voltage (up to 690 V) AC motors and rotating assets such as pumps, compressors, conveyors, blowers and fans.

Are there any restrictions on motor brands or suppliers?
No. SAM4 can monitor any low-voltage AC motor, whatever the make or model.

Does SAM4 work with frequency inverters and soft starters?
SAM4 will work with frequency inverters, soft starters and almost any other hardware that is placed in front of the motor. SAM4 only requires the ability to measure current and voltage on a line that leads directly to the motor.

How is SAM4 different from traditional condition monitoring?
SAM4 uses electrical waveform analysis, or motor current signature analysis (MCSA), to identify developing faults. This is significantly easier to install than traditional vibration-based condition monitoring, achieves better fault detection accuracy, and generally detects faults earlier. SAM4 can also identify the specific cause for most developing faults.

What information does SAM4 require about the assets it’s monitoring?
SAM4 needs to know a number of things about each asset it’s monitoring, such as motor brand, location, power, amps, full load speed and bearing type (drive end or non-drive end). This information is generally listed on the motor nameplate. See our asset intake form for the full list of information required.

Does SAM4 work for assets operating at varying work points (load and/or speed)?
Yes. We can handle motors operating at varying work points.

Can your system be integrated with our CMMS/EAM/MES?
Yes, using our API—please check with our team for more information.

What if SAM4 is installed on an engine that’s already damaged?
Because the effects of motor damage increase over time, SAM4 can be installed on an already damaged motor. The system will be able to identify the gradual aggravation of the damage and alert you to the developing fault (subject to the initial machine learning period).

What if we change out a motor during maintenance? Will SAM4 need to “relearn” the new motor?
Yes, absolutely. Every motor has a unique current and voltage signature. We’ll notice right away that the motor has been exchanged, but the best approach is for you to let our support team know about any planned service interventions. We can then start up a new learning period for the new motor.

Can I export my dashboard data?
All data that you see in SAM4 can easily be exported in CSV format.

How are we alerted to a developing fault?
You’ll receive a report by email, including a description of the problem and suggested actions. If the situation is urgent, we’ll also contact you by phone. Initial warnings are also displayed on your SAM4 dashboard.

Installation-related questions

How does MCSA installation differ from that of vibration-based condition monitoring?
MCSA is installed inside the motor control cabinet. Vibration-based condition monitoring requires sensors to be installed directly on the asset. This can be problematic if the sensor is located in a hazardous area, ATEX zone or hard-to-reach place, or if it operates under harsh conditions (dirty environment, extreme temperatures, high humidity).

Can SAM4 detect power grid pollution? (network pollution)
That depends on where SAM4 is installed and how you’re connected to the grid.
If SAM4 is installed after a frequency inverter, it cannot monitor electric network pollution, but it can monitor the frequency inverter. If SAM4 monitors assets directly online, it can also see grid pollution.
Either way, pollution in the power grid has no effect on SAM4’s failure detection accuracy.

How do you deal with poorly insulated cables? Do they have an impact?
SAM4’s voltage sensors can be applied to uninsulated wires, so insulation is not a factor. Our current sensors are insulated. See our current sensor data sheets for more information.

Is SAM4 resistant to heat and humidity?
Please see the table below.

sam4 specs

Are the SAM4 components grounded?
The switch, gateway and power supply feature an opening which can be used for grounding.

The latest version of the DAQ is automatically grounded via shielded Ethernet cables, provided that the switch and gateway are both grounded via the grounding screws already present.

Can old production processes also be monitored using SAM4?
Yes, signals from any AC motor can be analyzed, old or new.

What voltage do you measure?
SAM4 can currently measure up to 690V (line to line). We are currently working on a mid- to high-voltage solution.

What type of motor can you monitor?
SAM4 can monitor both three-phase asynchronous and synchronous electric motors.

What kind of support will we get during the installation process?
An overview of the installation process can be found at https://www.semioticlabs.com/docs.

We provide support before, during and after installation.

Will SAM4 fit inside my MCC?
SAM4’s hardware dimensions are as follows:

Component Dimensions
(H*W*D) in mm
DAQ 107 * 22.5 * 120 1
Switch 143 * 48.6 * 104 1
Gateway 125 1 * 51 * 125 1
Magnetic foot antenna ∅ 30 * 91.4
Power supply adapter 90 * 40 * 100
Fused terminal DIN-rail block 96.3 * 22.5 2 * 59
Voltage sensor, small ∅ 23 * 56
Voltage sensor, large 101 * 16 * 37

1 a UTP cable adds 35 mm to this size.
2 width per set of 3 blocks.

Can SAM4 be installed inside a withdrawable module?
That depends on the specific situation; please contact our team for more details.

 

Hardware and software troubleshooting

How often will my SAM4 unit need to be serviced or replaced?
SAM4’s hardware components require no maintenance and have a life expectancy of at least 20 years.

What about software updates?
SAM4’s software automatically updates via upgrade patches—no need to worry about them.

What if the power or the network isn’t properly connected?
We will instantly notice any connection problems (such as installing the current sensors in the wrong direction, which is common—we always perform a check during installation to make sure they’re properly installed). If the signal we’re receiving is weak, aberrant or absent, we’ll get in touch with you and provide remote support to help you solve it. Because SAM4 installs in the motor control cabinet, we generally have very few problems with faulty connections, so we don’t recommend regular field inspections.

Connectivity and data security

How does SAM4 connect to the platform?
SAM4 can connect over 4G, Wi-Fi, a LAN or a local server.

How much data is transferred per hour?
That depends on the asset being monitored, but generally 5 MB of data is transferred per asset per hour.

How does the gateway communicate with the Semiotic Labs platform, and what domains does it communicate with?
The gateway can communicate with our platform via Ethernet, Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity depending on the client’s installation. The gateway communicates with the Semiotic Labs platform via a small number of external domains. Gateway communication of sensor data and gateway status data consists solely of outgoing traffic. In the event of a gateway update, the update is downloaded on a pull-to-install basis initiated by the gateway itself. When the gateway is connected to a company network over Wi-fi or Ethernet, Semiotic Labs will not remotely access the gateway or initiate incoming traffic in any form.

To use Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity, the client may need to whitelist the domains listed in this page, depending on company policy.

Is the gateway communication secure? What about information regarding my company network and data?
All communication between the gateway and the outside world is secured via the standard TLS protocol. The gateway only sends sensor data and gateway status data. There is no transfer of personal data. There is no transfer of company data except for sensor data obtained by SAM4.

What kind of data/communication will be coming into my company network? How will gateway updates work?
All communications are triggered by the gateway. Updates to the gateway are triggered periodically by the gateway itself.

I want to set up a static IP for the Semiotic Labs gateway. Can I use any IP address?
If possible, avoid using the IP range 192.168.1.[0-255].

Are there any speed requirements for the Semiotic Labs gateway internet connection?
Internet usage depends heavily on the number of assets being monitored. A simple rule would be to have at least a 5 Mbps internet connection. Minimum requirements are 0.1 Mbps upload per motor and 0.5 Mbps download per gateway.

Do all of the SAM4 components require access to my company network?
The gateway is the only component that requires internet access. One way to provide the gateway with internet access is over the company network. The gateway does not need to communicate with other devices within the local company network. All other SAM4 components operate independently and should not be part of the local company network.

What will happen if the Wi-Fi password changes?
The new Wi-Fi password needs to be set on the gateway. This requires physical access to the gateway via a laptop and Ethernet cable. See the SAM4 installation manual for more details on how to set the Wi-Fi password.

What components should I see in my network?
If the gateway is connected to the local network, then your sysadmin should only see the gateway reporting to the network.

How does the gateway communicate with the data loggers?
The gateway communicates with the data loggers through an Ethernet connection via a switch. The gateway has a separate Ethernet interface for this connection. The gateway and data logger network is independent of any other network.

Is it possible or necessary to connect the gateway to the internet using a VPN?
The gateway does not need or use a VPN connection.

Resources

39 See all resources

Using SAM4 to help drive sustainable industry

SAM4 is a predictive maintenance system that helps maximize asset uptime by detecting developing faults up to five months ahead. But there’s another plus: that same data provides concrete insights that enable energy and carbon reductions.

  • White papers
Read article

How SAM4 detects developing asset faults in the steel industry

In this report, we explain exactly how SAM4 detects common faults in hot strip mills using actual results from anonymized SAM4 data, to help steel engineers evaluate SAM4’s value for their own operations.

  • Technical documents
  • White papers
Read article