BOMA NY Members Wowed by One World Trade Center

Electronic Drives and Controls BOMA OWTCLast month, the Building Owners Management Association (BOMA) of New York hosted their first off-site Brunch N’ Learn at One World Trade Center, highlighting the latest technology in vertical transportation from ThyssenKrupp Elevator. Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) has been a BOMA, NY member for 11 years.  EDC’s Deborah Deluca, Vice President, serves as a volunteer on the professional development committee of BOMA NY. She coined the idea for Brunch N’ Learns, otherwise known as Lunch N’ Learns, back in the summer of 2016 in an effort to increase interest in the organization’s membership program. Since then, Deb has been deeply involved in the planning and production of these monthly events for BOMA members.

Deb reflects on the success of this month’s Brunch N’ Learn, mentioning that “One World Trade Center (OWTC) was a special location for BOMA members to visit as it has both the fastest elevators and is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.” At 104 floors tall and 2.6 million square feet, the building has 71 elevators that reach speeds of up to 23 MPH- 2,000 feet per minute. “Twenty BOMA NY members including property managers and commercial real estate representatives joined us to learn more about this very impressive building and what’s new in vertical transportation.”

EDC BOMA NY ThyssenKruppJoe Cossentino, Director of Vertical Transportation for Syska Henessy Group Inc., opened the event, giving BOMA members a glimpse into the history of the World Trade Center site since its humble beginnings, hosting a 22-story railroad terminal in the 1900s. Today, OWTC stands tall on the site as a symbol of hope and perseverance for New York after the tragedies of 9/11.

Joe mentions that this presentation was particularly special for him as he was a project manager of mechanical engineering, overseeing the design of 30 elevators and 50 escalators, during the rebuilding of OWTC from 2004-2013. He says, “It was a privilege to be part of the design engineering and rebuilding of the World Trade Center Site in New York City. From the day that I witnessed the tragedy on 9/11 from midtown Manhattan, to the day that I stood on the 104th Floor of One World Trade Center as they poured the final concrete slab, our sense of respect and reverence for the families and first responders, along with our sense of accomplishment and renewal by the entire design team, was part of our shared experience.”

EDC OWTC BOMA NY ThyssenKruppJeffery Smith, Director of New Installation Sales in New York for ThyssenKrupp Elevators, then took the stage to deliver an innovative presentation on the future of elevators and building technology. Kenny Peng, an Account Manager for ThyssenKrupp discusses the presentation mentioning, “Attendees were given an inside look at how our new elevator systems are going to revolutionize tall building construction not just in New York, but around the world. One example of this is our groundbreaking rope-free elevator system called MULTI. MULTI elevators allow passengers to travel horizontally and diagonally in addition to classic vertical transportation. The elevators operate in a manner that compares to that of a subway, where multiple elevators run independently but within the same hoistway. This was of high interest to attendees as it is a completely new concept for elevator technology and the first building to incorporate this kind of elevator system is currently being built in Germany.”

EDC BOMA NY Brunch N Learn ThyssenKruppAfter boggling minds with elevators that go multiple directions and at lightning speeds, attendees toured one of the elevator machine rooms, where 6 of the building’s 71 elevators are located. Deb notes, “This part of the event was a great opportunity for attendees to have firsthand interaction with ThyssenKrupp Elevator technology.” The floor was then opened for networking and questions for the speakers.

The BOMA NY/ThyssenKrupp Brunch N’ Learn was a great success. “BOMA members left the Brunch N’ Learn with a deeper breadth of knowledge on up-and-coming technological advances in vertical transportation with a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most impressive buildings in the world,” said Deb.

Are you a BOMA member? Stay connected with BOMA NY’s event calendar to catch your next opportunity to attend one of BOMA’s monthly Lunch N’ Learns!

 

Top 4 Reasons to Implement a Control System Preventative Maintenance Program

What is Preventative Maintenance?

Preventative Maintenance (PM) is a program designed to maintain optimal function of your control systems (Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), PLCs, etc.) in real time while also preventing deterioration and failure in the future. With regularly scheduled maintenance, PM allows users to realize the greatest return on their investment.

How does Preventative Maintenance work?

Preventative Maintenance procedures are carried out on a prescribed basis, customized to the specific needs of each control system. During PM, controls undergo various physical, visual, and electrical inspections in addition to regular maintenance procedures including predefined part replacement and fine-tuning. Any irregularities are identified and remedied before they have the opportunity to magnify and cause more serious and potentially costly damage. Each procedure concludes with full documentation of the controls system’s condition at the time, creating a history file that helps predict future maintenance needs.

Why implement a PM Program?

While there are many important reasons to implement a Preventative Maintenance (PM) program for the control systems in your facility, there are four that stand out from the rest:

EDC Electronic Drives and Controls Preventative Maintenance Heat Sink Clog
Clogged heat sinks can lead to degradation of VFD performance.

 

     1. Prolongs Life of Investment

Did you know that a drive without Preventative Maintenance could have a life expectancy as low as 3-4 years before problems climb beyond economical repair? The same drive could have a life expectancy of 12-15 years or more if well maintained. Without PM, it’s difficult to tell if your drive is operating under ideal conditions or not. Non-ideal conditions put stress on crucial components such as IGBTs, capacitors and other sensitive electronics that can significantly reduce their life-expectancy. With PM, operations users realize low peak-demand rates, drive reliability and an improvement in the return on investment of their drive.

 

     2. Minimize Downtime

Electronic Drives and Controls Infra-Red Connection Problem Preventative Maintenance
Faulty connections made visible with infra-red technology can cause future problems if not promptly fixed.

Control system failure can cause major downtime in operations, costing businesses thousands of dollars. Preventative Maintenance is meant to reduce the chances of control system failure and the severity of failures if they do happen. Industries at the highest risk for losing a great volume of assets due to downtime include pharmaceutical, medical, wire and cable, and more. For example, a pharmaceutical company that relies on their drives to keep their facility and laboratories sterile could lose hundreds of batches of product and have an experiment that has lasted years be completely compromised by an unsterile facility if their drives were to fail.

 

     3. Maximize Energy Savings

To paraphrase and old pirate yarn, “Dead drives save no energy.” Preventative Maintenance programs ensure that control system’s energy consumption matches energy requirements. Mechanical systems controlled by drives and/or PLCs that unnecessarily operate at high energy consumption, endure stress that can reduce their life expectancy. With PM, systems run efficiently, reducing energy related costs and the facility’s overall carbon footprint.

 

Control Systems Messy Wiring Preventative Maintenance
Messy wiring can cause difficulties during trouble shooting and even lead to control failure if not remedied.

     4. Maintain a Knowledge Base of Equipment

After each Preventative Maintenance procedure, the information collected including inspection, updates, comments, suggestions and more is logged into a system that contains the operating history of each drive or PLC with PM. At first, this may sound like a small piece of a large puzzle when it comes to the upkeep of control systems. However, having a knowledge base of a control system’s history can be highly predictive for future maintenance needs and problems. In the long run, this helps decrease damage related costs and increase operational reliability.

 

Why EDC?

Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) has over 50 years of experience in commercial and industrial variable speed drive maintenance, repair and retrofits- servicing over a quarter million drives to date. Over those 50 years of service, we have built a proprietary Preventative Maintenance program with customized checkpoints to assure consistent and thorough inspection of all our client’s equipment.

Commonly, organizations whose focus is on the sale and support of single brands of VFDs or other controls are at a technical disadvantage when faced with providing effective, cost-efficient maintenance and service on competitor’s equipment. Our highly trained and nationally recognized service engineers have experience with a wide variety of equipment, as we are a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands, and have alliances with world class hardware and software providers. This allows our engineers to accurately identify areas of concern before they turn into more costly, complicated issues- regardless of the control system’s brand, age, model, etc.

In half a century of service, EDC has also remained brand-neutral in an effort to operate in our clients’ best interests. Remaining brand-neutral has allowed us to give product recommendations to our clients without the influence of a third party. This also allows us to be as transparent as possible with our clients, documenting and sharing all information collected during PM visits and making suggestions for proper care between visits.

Our field service engineering team is available 24/7/365, providing immediate response to any drive and PLC repair, service installation, maintenance, start-up need and more. For more information regarding Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. please contact us at 973-428-0500.

 

Traverse Spool Winder Mechanical and Control System Upgrade Results in 40% Productivity Gain

Traverse Winder Electronic Drives and ControlsUnder the roof of Diehl Metal Applications, The Miller Company markets strips made of innovative copper alloys for Diehl Metal as its partner in the US market. The Miller Company serves the electronics industry and other demanding markets that require the highest quality copper-based alloy strip available. The company was experiencing downtime with its multi-strip traverse spool winding line related to its 20-year-old, obsolete General Electric control system. In addition to downtime, the line had never run at its max speed due to the loss of tension during the wind and unwind process. The inconsistent tension through the slitting section compromised the integrity of the splice causing quality control concerns.

In the steel industry, if your metal converting process is compromised, losing a roll of steel due to poor quality is an expensive consequence. With the mounting downtime and quality concerns, the company decided a major overhaul to the traverse winding line was needed. Deihl Metal’s Plant Maintenance Manager, Scott Wasel was tasked with successful completion of this project on a very aggressive timeline. Production needed to be back up and running before depleting the company’s built-up inventory. This required the entire custom mechanical and controls system retrofit be completed in just 3 weeks, which required seamless planning and execution.

Having hired Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) for smaller controls related projects, Scott trusted EDC’s expertise to meet the company’s goals for the project. “EDC exceeded our expectations by having the line back up and running in just two weeks. We are all over the place with technology – Siemens, Rockwell and General Electric. EDC’s team has been great to work with because they really understand and can troubleshoot a wide variety of systems,” said Scott. “They are very professional onsite and always provide great documentation post-project. In addition to that, EDC’s team has always worked with us to complete projects within very tight time frames.”

“Results have been excellent,” Scott continued. “With the increase in running speed, we have nearly doubled the output. We always had the capability of running at a higher speed, but we could never achieve that speed because we could not control the tension enough – that was always the problem. We have realized a 40% increase in productivity since project completion.”

In a recent interview, Chuck Dillard, vice president of EDC, shared some of the ins and outs of the project and gave us some insight on the success.

How did this project for the Miller Company come about?

Obsolete GE PLC and Drives

Chuck: “Several years ago, The Miller Company was referred to us through one of our customers that builds machinery. We soon started doing retrofits on what they had for traverse winding controls. Over the years, we have retrofitted six Ruesch Sidewinders into their production line. Last year, after they were experiencing persistent problems with tension control, they decided it was time to update the entire line.”

How exactly did EDC update The Miller Company’s traverse winding line?

Chuck: “For traversing, we converted the hydraulic cylinder technology into electric linear actuators using servo motors with ball screw drive technology to achieve high thrust forces while maintaining the ability to produce repeatable, programmable motion. We also replaced all the variable speed drives in their cabinets and their PLC using Siemens S-120 vector, S-120 servo and S7-1500 for the PLC. For the operator interface, we used a Siemens Comfort Panel touchscreen human machine interface (HMI). We created a custom mechanical design, so they could very easily pull out the hydraulic cylinders and put in this electric actuator. The new electrically powered system was able to provide 1000s of pounds of thrust with the linear actuator and then we interfaced it with the traverse winder controllers that we had upgraded a while back.”

Going from hydraulic cylinders to electric actuators, how does that impact the overall picture, and why did you want to do that?

Drive Lineup- 6RA80 DC, S120 Servo and S7-1500 PLC

Chuck: “Hydraulics are not nearly as efficient as an electric motorized system. Electric linear actuator systems use power as it is needed for traversing, in comparison to needing to have a big hydraulic power unit running at all times. Hydraulics are also very messy; their oil leakage causes the surrounding floors to be very slippery which is a big safety hazard. They are constant maintenance, from regular cleaning to more in-depth maintenance requirements. The electric servo gives the ability for more flexible, precise, and reliable control to follow the exact command for the traverse position requirements.”

How has operation of the equipment changed?

Chuck: “The Miller Company has benefited greatly from an operational standpoint as a result of this upgrade. In the past, they had tension issues and had to slowly increase the speed. It made it hard for the management to give directions to run the line at a higher speed because the operators would run into issues and lose control of the line, leading to bad product that costs a lot in waste and scrap. During a run, they start with several master rolls. They run a master roll, then they have to splice a new one in. They can have 8 welds per traverse-wound reel.  It’s important to maintain really good tension during the time they are stopping to make the weld and starting after the weld for the traverse wind to keep its integrity. Now, the tension issues have been resolved and they can just hit a start button and the line ramps right up to 600 fpm maintaining tension on all of the dancers.”

What were the results of the retrofit?

Chuck: “The Miller Company’s average running speed prior to this project was 350 feet per minute – and even then, they were nervous to run the system at full speed with the risk of failure.  Now they are regularly running at 600 feet per minute and are capable of running up to 850 fpm on a 1” strip which is a pretty impressive response on a traverse winding setup. With the increase in the overall speed of their line and the ability to now hold tension during acceleration and deceleration, they are realizing a 40% increase in productivity with much better quality.”

Uncoiler and Slitter DC Drives with Double Motor Modules for Servo Driven Actuator

What contributed to the success of the overall project?

Chuck: “Winding and unwinding applications are certainly in our wheelhouse. We specialize in tension control and have engineered, built and retrofitted controls for hundreds of pay-offs, take-ups, rewinds and unwinds. Proper planning, project management and execution from start to finish is critical. We handled the entire project. Therefore, we had control over coordinating all the moving parts to achieve success in the tight time frame required. After the design phase, we completed as much of the programming and build as we could at our facility. On site, we had everything lined up and ready to go. We provided electrical contracting to run cables and wires and conduits. We did the mechanical retrofit on hydraulic cylinders.  We replaced all of the panels within the enclosures.  We performed start-up and hooked up all the wiring.  In two weeks, the line was up and running with a significant improvement in productivity.”

Conclusion

The Miller Company’s traverse winder line upgrade has proven to be a great investment. Scott shared his experience working with EDC over the years saying, “EDC does what they say they’re going to do. They were able to perform this project in a very tight time frame for us. Time is critical for us – EDC worked odd and extended hours to make this happen. We do not have redundancy in equipment, so the retrofit had to be quick. EDC originally estimated the project would take seven weeks, but they were able to revise their schedule to do it in less than the three weeks we gave them to complete the project.”

Electronic Drives and Controls thanks The Miller Company for their continued business. If you are looking for help upgrading your traverse winder line or other control systems, please contact us here!

Film Coating Line Downtime Resolved with EDC’s Successful Drives & Controls Upgrade using Rockwell Automation Products

Manufacturers across the country are faced with the challenges of costly downtime related toEDC coating lineaging equipment with obsolete drives and control systems. At some point, trying to patch and repair outdated systems becomes unrealistic. The good news is that investing in new advanced drive and control system technology can breathe new life into your equipment and provide a significant return on investment (ROI). The ROI can come in multiple forms including savings on downtime, improved system efficiencies, remote system capabilities, energy savings, increased safety, or a combination of those benefits. Our project at ORAFOL demonstrates how success can be achieved by investing in a major retrofit.

ORAFOL Americas Inc. is a global manufacturer of graphic films, reflective solutions, and adhesive tape products for a variety of industries. The company’s Avon, CT plant manufactures the leading brand of DOT-C2 compliant conspicuity tapes for the heavy-duty truck and trailer market.

ORAFOL was experiencing significant downtime on an existing film coating line due to aging equipment and legacy control systems. The company decided it was time for a major overhaul including replacing some equipment with new and retrofitting obsolete controls on the entire line. The coating process is very intricate, requiring expert engineering knowledge of complex winders, tension controls and web transport systems.

EDC provided a robust turnkey solution using Rockwell Automation technology and was responsible for all aspects of the project, both mechanical and electrical including design, procurement, removal, installation, along with the startup and tuning. In addition, EDC managed vendors, suppliers, other engineers, and machine shops; a lot had to come together at the same time to make a project of this magnitude flow smoothly.

ORAFOL now has a reliable, modern, state-of-the-art coating line with many benefits. To read a detailed case study on the project, click here or download the PDF.

When interviewed after its completion, ORAFOL’s Director of Engineering, Gary Gauer, expressed his delight with the project, “The EDC team delivered exactly what was promised and worked with our engineers to customize the system to the satisfaction and ease of the machine operators. EDC demonstrates a very strong commitment to their technical expertise, understanding the latest products that are available and having a technical acumen with those products. They are proficient as well as being responsive and personable.”

When the Problem Isn’t the Motor, It Doesn’t Mean It’s the Drive

Scott SullivanBlog post by Scott Sullivan, electrical engineer at Electronic Drives and Controls who specializes in on-site field service of AC drives.EDC motors drives

Recently, I was called in to troubleshoot a customer’s air handler drive. This particular unit was blowing fuses on its input from the main line. The customer’s in-house electrician correctly determined that something was drawing too much current. He then decided that the problem had to be with the drive or the motor. For testing purposes he bypassed the drive, which he believed left only the motor. When he attempted to start the motor, the fuses blew again. Since he believed the motor and drive were the only possible culprits and the drive was bypassed, he figured the motor had failed and so he installed a new motor. This time when he tried to start the new motor with the old drive, the fuses still blew. His determination was that both the motor and the drive had failed. At this point I was called in to troubleshoot.

After being given a brief summary of the problem, I started to examine the drive. After a thorough examination I didn’t find anything wrong with the drive that would explain the issue. To test my hypothesis, I disconnected the motor from the drive and tried to start. If the drive had been the problem, the fuses would have blown at this point. The fuses remained fine, so the problem was not between the main line and the drive. This left only the output wiring and the motor. Since the motor was brand new, it was unlikely to be the problem. Therefore, the output wiring was the only issue remaining. With the aid of the customer’s electrician, I ran new wire from the drive to the motor and tried to start. The motor and air handler started up without an issue. After examining the wiring I found that some of the insulation had worn off and part of the live wire was touching the metal conduit. This caused a short to ground and caused excessive current to be produced, thereby blowing the fuses. If the fuses had not blown, the drive would have most likely failed, possibly burnt up the new motor, and maybe even caused a fire.

The lesson to be learned here is that there are many causes for fuses failing. Just because you eliminate one cause doesn’t automatically mean it has to be something else. This customer spent money on a new motor when they probably didn’t need it. When you determine a problem has occurred and you don’t know how to fix it, the best solution is to ask for outside help. It may actually end up saving you money.