Manufacturing environments are complex and highly automated, often operated on a twenty four hour, seven day a week schedule. Such facilities require the highest level of reliability possible to ensure constant operation, enabling any required maintenance and supporting activity to be carried out in a scheduled and non-disruptive manner.  

The power and control infrastructure behind the complex capital equipment that comprises an efficient and intensive manufacturing environment, is an essential foundation to enable constant and reliable operation.  The greater the level of automation and production throughput, the greater the challenge is to monitor for actual and potential issues within that supporting infrastructure that can interrupt production.  Protection relay systems that can monitor for power issues such as out of specification or interruption of supply and physical issues such as ground faults, are well established tools to assist in maintaining production and have been widely deployed.

However, the detection and location of the all to frequent faults and issues with the physical cabling systems remain a problem.  Damaged or severed cables can be detected by some systems due to loss or change of delivered power, though locating and fixing those faults in such complex environments remains an intractable issue.  In addition, intermittent cable faults in this challenging environment of temperature change, vibration and other environmental factors, are notoriously difficult to detect and locate.

To ‘look into’ cabling infrastructure while it is in operation, requires the monitoring system to be able to sense faults while power and/or communications are present, without interfering with the operation of the system being monitored.   This has been achieved using a combined solution comprised of a technique called Spread Spectrum and Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) technology.

Spread Spectrum has been better known within the wireless world, being used for control signalling within cellular networks. Using Spread Spectrum, wireless networks are controlled without the signalling interfering with the operation or quality of services.  When applied to wired infrastructure in combination with TDR technology, the same benefits are delivered, enabling systems to operate without interference while being monitored for intermittent and hard faults; the type of faults that interrupt production on a regular basis.  The combination of Spread Spectrum and TDR technology has been termed SSTDR.

The sustained and intermittent faults that develop can be seen and located. Application of SSTDR monitoring to industrial production systems has shown that previously undetected and difficult to locate infrastructure faults can be found quickly and effectively.  All cabling systems can suffer from various fault types; the severity and frequency depending on the installed environment, their use and the physical characteristics of the materials employed.

Robotics automation cable fault finding
  • Our products have the best accuracy, stability and repeatability. They are stable enough to utilize aircraft frame ground as a return path in many cases (same methodology as multimeter resistance checks); less than 4% avg fault location accuracy error. Wire-to-wire (two adjacent wires) accuracy; less than 1% avg fault location accuracy error
  • We have the only handheld tools capable of monitoring wires for intermittent faults
  • Best user interface (extremely easy to use, very little training required by technician); Minimal test setup
  • Only handheld tools capable of accurately testing ALL wires, regardless of type, bundle size, or application
  • Our products are rugged and have a portable design. They have the same form/fit as existing multimeters used on flightline

Embedded Solutions

LiveWire’s sensor ‘engines’ in the form of fully engineered, credit-card sized printed circuit boards and multi-board stacks, as well as SSTDR chip-sets with corresponding reference designs for very high-volume applications.

LiveWire can work with most communications and control options.  Update and reporting interfaces that can be used include serial, USB, JTAG, Ethernet and others. Board-level solutions can support several other communications protocols including, SPI, I2C and CAN.

Handheld Solutions

Fully housed sensor modules for permanent installation. Handheld products using LiveWire’s Spread Spectrum brand of TDR for maintenance, field testing and electrical contractor markets.

The Mantis™ LW-MM200 is the first live cable tester module that monitors energized cable run faults and electrical circuits around-the-clock.

Fault Trapper monitors live circuits for intermittent conditions to record time and distance to Opens, Shorts and Arc Faults.

Dual mode TDR for testing and monitoring energized and unenergized systems.

Power Prowler

3-In-1 DMM/TDR Cable Fault Finder

FaultChaser Handheld

Fault Finding/Cable Length Measurement TDR