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How to Monitor Motors in a Hazardous Area?

Mike Jeffries | September 13, 2021

A single plant trip or failure can lead to significant production losses, especially in industries operating in hazardous areas. Monitoring is essential to minimize any risk of unprecedented shutdowns, and most installations use smart wireless sensors.

However, taking such steps for motors operating in hazardous environments has been challenging due to the lack of cost-efficient and easy-to-implement solutions. These areas have flammable gases or vapor which needs special precautions to prevent explosions. Luckily, ABB has invented smart sensors that can help monitor motors in such environments.

This article explains how to monitor motors in a hazardous area and how smart sensors have made this easier.

Challenges in Hazardous Areas

A huge gap has existed in getting information regarding the health and performance of motors operating equipment in hazardous environments.


Accessing rotating machinery within hazardous areas is difficult, thus making it costly and time-consuming to monitor their condition and performance.


Maintenance teams had to collect data, analyze it and give status reports manually. But depending on the frequency of data collection, it is difficult to spot early changes in equipment health trends.


Redundancy improves the availability and reliability of crucial components, and the maintenance team may replace a failed motor without knowing the exact reason. Other redundant motors could stop working for the same reason.

Aging Plants

Old plants may have no or limited condition monitoring capability. Besides, their communication protocols are different, and bringing them together to offer a seamless overview of how the plant is working can be difficult.

How Smart Sensors Solve the Challenges

ABB has developed a new generation of smart sensors designed for rotating equipment in hazardous atmospheres. It enables operators in oil, gas, and chemical industries to benefit from cost-effective condition monitoring.

Smart sensors for hazardous environments track key equipment parameters such as pumps and motors and give comprehensive insights into their health and performance. That includes collecting information on energy and power consumption which enables the identification of energy-saving opportunities. Besides, they can also indicate the specific maintenance operations like when bearing requires regreasing.  

Using Sensors to Monitor Motors in a Hazardous Area


Smart sensors pick up data on temperature, vibration, and other critical parameters, including speed, power, and depending on the monitored equipment. Due to the transmission of high data volumes on a regular and frequent basis, it is possible to get actionable and real-time information on the performance and condition of assets. They send the gathered data to the cloud, where advanced algorithms analyze it. Therefore, it reduces the safety risks associated with data collection in a hazardous environment.

Enhanced Capabilities

The ABB new generation of hazard duty sensors incorporates a more robust microprocessor than previous designs. Besides, it has more internal storage and working memory and a battery that can last three times longer than many competing designs. 

The smart sensor can communicate with tablets, smartphones, plant gateways, and PCs using wirelessHART and low energy Bluetooth. Besides, a new antenna design ensures reliable communication long-distance in line of sight. It also has a greater sensitivity to minor changes in the condition of the equipment, including early warning alerts of bearing damage.

Condition-Based Maintenance

Smart sensors collect data that can help predict potential failure. Therefore, one can have a condition-based maintenance viewpoint rather than one based on periodic time intervals. It is also possible to adjust maintenance based on the environment, general component aging, and the application's level of use.


Smart sensors collect data that can help predict the potential failure of your motors. As a result, you can prevent unexpected downtime and reduce maintenance costs since predictive maintenance is less disruptive and cheaper than reactive maintenance.

Additionally, they allow monitoring equipment from a distance, even those installed in dangerous or difficult to access locations. Therefore, employees have increased safety since they won't need to enter hazardous environments frequently.

At Mader Electric, we have certified and experienced technicians to assist with all issues regarding motors. Contact us today for more inquiries regarding how to monitor motors. A member of our team will be glad to answer any questions and guide you.

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Topics: motors sarasota, motor and control expert sarasota, industrial motor

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