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Insight FDS

(Force Detection Sensor)

Contact us at 970-232-9344 for a quote.

We'll evaluate your situation and put together a personalized plan to achieve your goals.

What is the Insight FDS?

The Insight FDS is a low cost, non-intrusive sensor for fluid film bearings that indirectly measures bearing forces to provide time waveform and spectral data comparable to proximity probes without the need for equipment downtime or machine work to install.

Why do we need the Insight FDS?

For the last 40 to 50 years, the industry standard to monitor fluid film bearing wear has been the proximity probe. However, the installation of proximity probes is complex enough that many machines with fluid film bearings have nothing monitoring them at all. This problem has now been solved!

Voyager Instruments developed the Insight Force Detection Sensor (FDS) and created a simple way to get great data that is a better option than using proximity probes.

The beauty of the Insight FDS is its cost efficient and uncomplicated installation. It attaches to the outside of the bearing casing so there is no need to disassemble equipment or endure extensive downtime to drill through bearings to install proximity probes. With less downtime and easier installation, you will be able to see what’s happening with your machinery at a fraction of the cost of traditional proximity probes. It’s so easy now to get great data, you’ll want to put the Insight FDS on all of your machinery.

Benefits of Insight FDS:

  • Installs in minutes with no tools or downtime required.
  • Footprint is so small, it fits easily inside reciprocating engines and compressors directly on the main bearings.
  • Connects to any data acquisition system, whether permanent or portable.
  • As reliable and maintenance free as an accelerometer.
  • Data comparable to Proximity Probe, in some ways superior.
  • Similar to the probe in its ability to detect unbalance, misalignment, worn bearings, gear & motor faults, oil whirl, and shaft whip.
  • It is superior in its ability to capture rubs and a loss of oil feed.
Insight FDS close up

Heath Condition Monitoring for Your Fluid Film Bearings

The Insight FDS is for Rotating and Reciprocating Equipment Using Fluid Film Bearings.

Equipment Type:

  • Turbines – All Sizes
  • Large Motors, Fans, & Gearboxes
  • Boiler Feed Pumps
  • Compressors - Reciprocating & Centrifugal
  • Large Bore Engines

Potential Uses:

  • Embedded in Bearings
  • Directly Measures Load
  • Facilitates Analysis Algorithms
  • Predicting Bearing Life
  • Balance Fluid Film Bearings
  • Load Balancing for Cylinder head

Insight FDS Installation

Permanent installation is recommended since the bottom portion of the sensor must strain with the surface to which it is mounted. The Insight FDS sensor has a titanium bottom plate whose thickness was selected specifically to transmit the best strain from machine to sensor. The surface preparation is minimal. Simply removing loose paint, oils and solvents is all that is required. Having the surface very close to flat is desirable, but perfectly flat is not required since the measurement is dynamic strain, and any inherent static strain from a surface that is not perfectly flat does not influence the dynamic strain values. The only issue that could arise is if the static strain caused by a variable surface flatness exceeds the range of the sensor.

The sensor is adhered to the bearing with an adhesive specifically selected to provide the longest installation life possible. Using a syringe to meter the proper quantity of adhesive as well as utilizing an installation tool will also produce the fastest cure time and ensure the longest installed life. Voyager Instruments, a subsidiary of Pioneer Engineering, supplies a syringe with the adhesive and a proprietary installation tool.

The sensors are unidirectional and have an arrow marked on them to indicate the proper installation direction. Simply point that arrow at the centerline of the bearing and in a location as close to the shaft as possible, and high quality data will be available.

Figure 1 and Figure 2 depict recommended mounting locations for all styles of journal bearings. Figures 3-6 show an actual installation made by an end-user.


  • Adhesively Mounted
  • IEPE Powered (Can be powered by a Portable Data Collector)
  • Class I Div II Rating – Intrinsically Safe
  • Time Domain, FFT

Download Data Sheet

Figure 1 - Recommended monitoring locations for all bearings except load between pad bearings.

Figure 2 - Recommended monitoring locations for load between pad bearings.

Protect your journal bearings from a sudden loss of lubrication (e.g. failed oil supply pump or plugged ports on a crankshaft). Our Insight FDS sensor is far superior than either a proximity probe or an accelerometer and the alert will be much quicker than just using temperature.

In this video we will demonstrate the ability of the Insight FDS Sensor to detect the loss of lubrication of journal bearings whether on an engine, compressor or any turbo machinery.

Insight FDS Machinery Installation

Contact us at (970) 232-9344 to discuss your product needs.