Bently Nevada's first major condition monitoring platform in 20 years

Published on: 
Turbomachinery Magazine, November/December 2019,

Bently Nevada, part of Baker Hughes, pioneered the condition monitoring field in the 1960s. Its 3500 series hardware can be found in facilities around the world. BHGE chose TPS 2019 to unveil its next-generation platform, the Orbit 60 Series. It collects and processes data, equipping operators with analytics to determine the health of machines. It is designed with cybersecurity in mind.

“Current approaches to condition monitoring can sometimes be inaccessible,” said Terry Knight, President of Bently Nevada. “Orbit 60 is a digitally integrated and cybersecure system.”

One challenge Bently Nevada had was how to ensure machinery protection while still being able to share condition monitoring information widely. This required complete separation between the protection and the monitoring architectures. Accordingly, the new system has a built-in data diode — a method that enables secure one-way data transfer from the device to Bently Nevada’s machinery management software System 1 for monitoring and diagnostics.

“Even if hackers got into the condition monitoring system, they couldn’t get a signal down to the protection system,” said Knight. “They have no way to communicate to the protection side of the Orbit 60 due to the data diode.”


As well as cybersecurity, the platform complies to high standards of safety. It will be SIL 2 and 3 certified, and API 670 compliant. Extensive customer input was gathered to make improvements to Orbit 60 and provide it with the latest technology. As well as security upgrades, users wanted greater flexibility and for the system to measure a broader range of equipment.

Users can provide more sensors than before to add condition monitoring functionality. They will also be able to write their own rules and customize the software to their own needs. “We went around the world and discussed the 3500 platform with more than fifty customers to find out what they liked about it, what they wanted it to do differently, and what problems they faced,” Knight said.

It now offers 80 data channels compared to an industry average of 50. The company claims that it has 100 times more signal processing power and a smaller physical footprint than the industry standard. It can be placed inside an instrument cabinet or distributed throughout the plant. Operators can connect it to a wide range of assets. “Orbit 60 Series offers powerful analytics with enhanced flexibility and scalability, along with a built-in cybersecurity features, reducing overall investment cost, and giving operators full visibility of a plant,” said Knight.

Those with 3500 series devices and other Bently Nevada systems will find the Orbit 60 complementary. With over 85,000 of the 3500 racks installed worldwide supported by inputs from six million sensors, this platform will continue to be available and will be supported for many years to come, said Knight. “Orbit 60 can be deployed at the edge of the network to perform analytics specific to a particular piece of equipment, or that data can be transmitted centrally for overall fleet analytics,” he said. The initial release of Orbit 60 will enable it to connect to the System One software platform. Future releases will allow it to integrate with other software and systems. ■