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 Preventive Maintenance Program

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive 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 Preventive Maintenance work?

Preventive 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 Preventive Maintenance (PM) program for the control systems in your facility, there are four that stand out from the rest:

EDC Electronic Drives and Controls Preventive 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 Preventive 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 Preventive 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. Preventive 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.” Preventive 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 Preventive 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 Preventive 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 Preventive 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 Controls

Updated December 18, 2023: Below is an example of a project we completed five years ago. We were thrilled to hear from Maintenance Manager at Miller Company, Scott Wasel, that our solution is still running at peak efficiency and becomes more valuable by the day.

“I’m happy to report that our collaboration with EDC continues to be successful years after the project has been completed,” says Scott Wasel, Maintenance Manager for Miller Company. “The upgrade to our traverse winding line has not only resolved long-standing tension issues but has also catapulted our productivity to new heights, resulting in a 40% increase. EDC’s expertise, professionalism, and commitment to meeting tight timelines have been invaluable to our success.”

A customer who is a premier manufacturer in the metals industry came to us hoping to increase productivity and decrease downtime.  The company markets strips made of innovative copper alloys, serving the electronics industry and other demanding markets that require the highest quality copper-based alloy strip available. This customer 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. The company’s plant maintenance manager 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, the customer 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 the plant maintenance manager. “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,” he 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 insight on the success.

How did this project come about?

Obsolete GE PLC and Drives

Chuck: “Several years ago, the customer was referred to us through one of our other 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 customer’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 thousands 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 customer 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 feet per minute maintaining tension on all of the dancers.”

What were the results of the retrofit?

Chuck: “The customer’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 fpm 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, 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 connected all the wiring.  In two weeks, the line was up and running with a significant improvement in productivity.”


The customer’s traverse winder line upgrade has proven to be a great investment. The plant manager 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.”

If you are looking for help upgrading your traverse winder line or other control systems, please
Contact Us 

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 to aging 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.


Behind the Scenes of EDC Emergency Services with Service Manager, Gregg Martin and Service Coordinator, Sal Zannino

Service Manager, Gregg Martin

Ever have a damaged VFD, PLC, or HVAC affect your business’ operations? Ever experience costly downtime due to equipment failure? Ever have this happen on Christmas Eve during the night shift in the middle of a snowstorm? We know this feeling. We understand the detrimental impact any of these situations could cause to the operations of your facility. That’s why we have a dedicated team of field service engineers ready to respond to your emergency service call at the drop of a hat!

Electronic Drives and Controls’ Service Manager, Gregg Martin and Service Coordinator, Sal Zannino are the men behind the scenes dispatching and one of fifteen qualified service engineers from EDC’s headquarters in Parsippany, NJ to across the Tri-State area and beyond. Gregg and Sal have been working in the service department of EDC for the past 13 years and have seen it all when it comes to emergency service calls. These service experts have the experience and knowledge necessary to get the right engineers out with the proper equipment as quickly and efficiently as possible in response to emergency service calls.

In a recent interview, Gregg shared details of the service department’s capabilities saying, “At any given time, 365/24/7, we have a team of 3 highly-trained service engineers on call, ready to respond to any emergency that comes our way. We generally operate in a 3-4 hour driving radius, serving locations in New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), Pennsylvania (PA), Connecticut (CT), and Delaware (DE). Our engineers, on average, have about 10+ years’ experience in emergency service response, working with over 40 different drive and control brands. They will go above and beyond to make sure that emergency calls from both existing customers and first time callers are responded to in a timely fashion with quality work.”

Sal adds to Gregg’s comment by mentioning, “The service department also has an incredibly strong ability as a team to figure out the make, model and more of parts when a caller has no idea what they are looking at. This includes those 20-year-old, obsolete parts that may not have been touched for years.” Sal specifically points to EDC’s Senior Parts Specialist, Matt Pepe, as an expert in this area. Matt has been working in the service department of EDC for over 20 years. During that time, he has gained the knowledge and expertise it takes to figure out exactly what even the most unique parts are and then source a custom solution to take their place when necessary.

Service Coordinator, Sal Zannino

Finally, Gregg and Sal shared a list of information that they need to collect on any call that comes through to the service department. In the case of an emergency, having this information ready ahead of time will be of great benefit to the caller:

Product Information:

    • Manufacturer
    • Model number
    • Drawings
    • Owner’s manual
    • Cabling

Sal comments on the list saying, “Of course, if a caller does not have this information prepared we are still ready to help however we can! However, if they do have this information ready it will help us diagnose their problem and needs as quickly as possible.”

Senior Parts Specialist, Matt Pepe

Emergency service calls reach the desks of Gregg and Sal in EDC’s service department every day. The entire EDC team is committed to reducing the impact equipment problems have on customers by solving them as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality of work. EDC is also committed to operating in our client’s best interest by providing turn-key VFD replacements using our customer’s favored brand when repairs are not cost or time efficient. If you have an emergency with a control system (variable frequency drive (VFD), PLC, etc.) or other equipment in your facility, please contact us at 973.428.0500

Electronic Drives and Controls service vehicle fleet

A NYC Building with No A/C in the Middle of a Summertime Heat Wave!

On June 13th 2018 EDC received a worried call from Jack Resnick + Sons’ Chief Engineer Scott Stefanski, with a problem on the company’s property, One Seaport Plaza in New York City. Scott had discovered that the drive powering the building’s lobby air conditioning had gotten wet and was destroyed. As the heat in the lobby steadily increased, Scott realized this problem was going to cause more than just discomfort to the building’s patrons. The lobby also featured artwork worth millions of dollars that, if exposed to high levels of heat, would be destroyed. Knowing new drives usually require more lead time than he could get away with in anticipation of another 90-degree hot and humid day, Scott was scrambling to find a quick solution.

EDC’s Sales Representative Eric Dillard was the one to receive Scott’s late-afternoon emergency call. Immediately, Eric reached out to EDC’s Service Manager Gregg Martin, to see what he could do to help. Lucky for Scott, he reached EDC before the local vendors closed for the day.  After Gregg had made a series of unsuccessful calls, he was finally able to find Scott the appropriate replacement for the lobby’s broken drive.

Bright and early the next day, EDC sent out Scott’s new drive with Service Engineer, Marius Bagdonas. Marius was able to reach One Seaport, NYC early that afternoon and had the drive installed within 24 hours of Scott’s initial call.

Scott expressed his appreciation saying, “EDC did not have the drive we needed on hand but went out of their way to source it for us. The following afternoon they had the new drive installed and our lobby air conditioning was back up and running. EDC is a new vendor for us; I was really impressed and happy with how quickly they were able to respond and help us out of a critical situation. It’s refreshing to work with a company you can count on, and really cares about their customers. I have already been recommending EDC to my counterpart Chief Engineers at our other buildings!”

Emergency service calls like Scott’s come to the desks of EDC’s service department every day. EDC is committed to reducing the impact these types of problems have on customers by solving them as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of work. If you have an emergency with a control system (variable frequency drive (VFD), PLC, etc.) or other equipment in your facility, please contact us at 973.428.0500 .



Spare Equipment Needs Maintenance Too

Failure to maintain spare equipment can cost you money and downtime, as well as being a safety issue.

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

Nobody likes downtime. In industry, you lose money every minute that product isn’t going through a machine. In HVAC applications, downtime usually leads to complaints from sweaty people in the summer or freezing people in the winter. In extreme cases, having one machine down can cause other machines to run improperly, resulting in damage and more downtime. For simple applications, a bypass circuit can be implemented to prevent downtime but this comes at the cost of only being able to run at 100% speed. This forgoes the energy savings usually associated with drives and is incompatible with processes that require variable speed. When downtime isn’t an option and a drive is required, the most common solution is to have a spare AC drive on site for a quick installation. However, failure to maintain this spare equipment can lead to downtime anyway- and added costs.

Similar to how you can’t put a battery that’s been sitting in your garage for years right into your car, AC drives can’t just be wired in if they’ve been sitting on a shelf for years. AC drives contain capacitors, which have a very small amount of insulating oxide separating the conductive material. This material degrades over time but is chemically replenished within the capacitor as long as voltage is applied. If no voltage is applied, for example if the drive is in storage, the material still degrades. If you were to try to apply full line voltage to a degraded capacitor, it will most likely fail in a horrendous fashion due to this material shorting out.

So what do you do if you have a drive that has been sitting around for a while? Using the previous example of a car battery, you would hook the battery up to a trickle charger and let it sit for a day. AC drives require a very similar procedure where you hook up a lower voltage circuit to provide a small current to the capacitors. This allows them to chemically rebuild the insulating oxide layer without the danger of shorting the capacitors. For safety, a series resistor or a fuse is commonly used in case too much current is generated. This process is known as “reaging” or “reforming” the capacitors. Consult your user’s manual for the drive for specifics on how this is done. Typical times are 1 hour of charging per year of inactivity and should be performed every 1-2 years of inactivity. My recommendation is to write on the drive, in big black letters, the last date the drive was in service. That way you know if a charging is required and how long to charge if it is needed. If you are unsure of how long it has been since a drive was in use, call a service center. Most drive service companies will either let you send them the drive for capacitor testing or reform the caps on site at your location.

I’m reminded of a service call I had not too long ago. A customer’s drive had failed and it was going to be a couple weeks until I could get spare parts to repair it. The customer had a spare drive from a similar unit that was decommissioned and he asked if I could just install that drive in the meantime. The drive was compatible, but I could see from the manufacturer’s label that the drive was close to a decade old. I asked the customer when it was last in service and he said, rather vaguely, “not too long ago.” I explained the risks and he asked me to install it anyway. I installed the drive and shortly after powering it on there was a loud bang. One of the drive’s internal capacitors had exploded and damaged most of the drive’s other internal components. The drive was beyond economical repair, so the customer had to wait a few days until I could get another drive to install. It was at this point I learned the customer’s definition of “not too long ago” was about 6 years, whereas the manufacturer’s maximum idle time for the drive was 2 years.

Had the customer in my example been aware of this or kept some record of the last time the drive was in use, I would never have installed it. Capacitors exploding is dangerous to both equipment and nearby personnel. Always keep your spare equipment maintained and have the maintenance performed by qualified personnel. This customer ended up having to buy a new drive to replace the spare, money that he would not have had to spend if the drive was kept in working order or the capacitors were reformed.


EDC Welcomes Tom Frangieh and Anthony Fasolo

Our team is growing!  We would like to introduce a couple of new faces you will be seeing on the Systems Team at Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC).

“We are very excited to have Tom Frangieh and Anthony Fasolo join the EDC team, both bring unique talents and skillsets which will help our team meet the ever expanding needs of our industrial automation customers,” said Chuck Dillard, vice president of engineering at EDC.

Tom Frangieh
Tom Frangieh

Tom Frangieh recently joined the Systems Team at EDC, and is currently working with Anton Bergmann in the assembly area.  Tom is working on projects involving wiring control drives, PLCs and line reactors, and as he says, “all that good stuff.”  “I’m really excited to be part of this team,” Tom said.  “I feel like I’m learning a lot.”

Before coming to EDC, Tom was the warehouse manager for a technology company in Clifton, NJ.  Tom attended Berkeley College in West Patterson, NJ where he received his bachelor’s degree in sports management.
Tom at work on an EDC Systems project!

Sports are a passion for Tom, who played goalie for his college soccer team for three years, and soccer, basketball and wrestling throughout high school.  “Soccer was my main sport; I had the most fun with that,” he said.

In addition to playing sports, Tom enjoys watching his favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys. Not rooting for the hometown team can be tricky. Tom tells us he tries not to watch football with Giants fan and longtime pal and coworker Eric Dillard due to their friendly team rivalry.  When asked how he became a Cowboys fan, Tom quips, “My family are all Cowboys fans.  I was born into it!”

Aside from watching football, Tom also stays busy on the weekends working with his family’s Sparta, NJ-based business Fat Stevo’s Cheesesteaks.  Although the restaurant has only been open for a couple of years, it has quickly gained a loyal customer following and garnered several awards.  Fat Stevo’s was chosen by as the #3 best cheesesteak in the state, and was recognized by Yelp as the #7 favorite place to eat around Jefferson.


Anthony Fasolo

Anthony Fasolo is currently the newest member of the EDC team.  Anthony is a project engineer and is working with Joe Maloney, Scott Pospishil, Zack Fischer, Joseph “Waldo” DeMartino and Antoinette Latella under the direction of engineering manager Shawn Leichliter.  Anthony comes to EDC from Rowan University, where he was pursuing his master’s degree and working at the Rowan University Virtual Reality Center.  Anthony had earlier graduated from Rowan with his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in mathematics.

Anthony at the Rowan University Virtual Reality Center
Anthony at the Rowan University Virtual Reality Center

While working at the Rowan University Virtual Reality Center as an undergraduate, Anthony was invited to enroll in graduate school, funded by the Center.  In his experience there, he worked with many higher-level computer programming languages such as C and C Sharp, and did a lot with visualization – virtual and augmented reality.  Anthony’s favorite project while at the Virtual Reality Center was an application he developed for the Microsoft HoloLens, an augmented reality headset.  The HoloLens allows programmers to overlay information on whatever the wearer is viewing in the real world.

“I had a customer come to me and ask for a demo application to show his idea for training surgeons,” said Anthony.  “He wanted to display an instructional video in a floating screen on an augmented reality device.  The surgeon-in-training wears the device and watches the instructional video while performing a surgery, and controls it by voice commands.  Instead of having to leave the operating room and go watch the instructional surgery video on a TV and then come back to the operating room and try to remember it, the surgeon would be able to watch the training video while concurrently performing the surgery.  It was a very cool project, and the customer was really pleased in the end.”

After the Virtual Reality Design Center’s student funding ran out, Anthony left the college just a couple of classes shy of achieving his master’s degree.  Now at EDC, Anthony has been spending time becoming familiar with the software systems the company uses to program drives and control systems.  He says, “I have the knowledge for it, it’s just looking at something new and trying to figure out how it works.  I’ve always had hands-on experience with wiring and electronics because I worked as an alarm technician in the past.”

Anthony demonstrating the Surgeon Trainer application
Anthony demonstrating the Surgeon Trainer application

In his spare time, Anthony enjoys building hobby electronics.  He also enjoys watching professional football and hockey, and his all-time favorite team is the New Jersey Devils.

Anthony, like Tom, is a longtime friend of Eric Dillard – they all attended high school together!  Anthony looks forward to better getting to know the rest of the EDC staff.  “It’s been really good these first few days.  Everyone has been very helpful working with me and teaching me,” he said.  “They are good guys over here; I like it a lot.”


Popularity Soars for Annual EDC Wall Calendar, 38th Edition Coming Soon

1981: EDC’s first wall calendar
Dane Radford, son of an EDC employee, was recently at the bus transfer station in Secaucus, NJ, and on the wall in the back of the ticket office was a 2018 EDC wall calendar. “I asked the ticket agent where the calendar came from, because EDC doesn’t work with New Jersey Transit at this location,” said Dane. “The agent said he asked a friend for his calendar because he liked it so much. He said it’s so convenient to see the whole year at a glance. We don’t know which of EDC’s customers was the original calendar recipient, but we are happy to have the calendar in such a visible location!”

In 1980, EDC’s vice president Bud Dillard decided the company should allocate some of the marketing budget for promotional items such as caps, t-shirts, pens, etc. He came up with the idea to print wall calendars to send out to the company’s most important clients as holiday gifts. Bud originally wanted a 12-page Norman Rockwell version with heartwarming illustrations. Unfortunately, the price was too high to print the number of copies he wanted, so he settled on a less expensive wall calendar printed with the company’s name and contact information. Bud and the EDC team distributed all 150 copies in the first printing for the calendar year 1981.

Call the wall calendar design decision either dumb luck or good fortune, but the calendar program is still extremely popular at EDC. Fast forward 38 years and the popularity has been so great that EDC has capped printing at 5,200 copies for 2019. “We could probably distribute about 20,000 calendars if we wanted to – they are very popular with our clients,” said Bud. “We have kept the calendar printing cost proportional to our revenue, so the program has grown along with the company.”

EDC employees tell plenty of anecdotes about the popularity of the calendars. “One gentleman visits us in the office each year and asks for a calendar using sign language. We are happy to oblige him,” said Bud.

Sending out 5,200 calendars is a large undertaking each year for EDC. “Every year, as the calendar mailing project is in full swing, I swear this is the last year, never again, and it’s not worth it,” said Bud. “Then, within a couple months, someone says to me, ‘Hey, I saw your calendar! Jeez, your calendars are everywhere!’ Then I think… Hmmm, maybe one more year. I am presently in the never again mode.”

EDC Repairs “Unfixable” Elevator VFD, Saving Customer 90%


Novartis elevator VFD repair

For facility managers, an elevator being down is always an annoying issue to deal with. But when that elevator is one of just two in a major pharmaceutical headquarters’ 6-story parking garage serving multiple office buildings, the inconvenience for facility occupants’ commute exasperates the annoyance exponentially. This is exactly the situation Ken Prokop, facility manager at Novartis Headquarters, had on his hands when the critical parking garage elevator was down due to a 12-year-old VFD that was not performing properly.

Ken needed the elevator back in service quickly. He started his search for a solution with the seemingly obvious choice of the elevator vendor handling maintenance on the elevators. Unfortunately, the elevator vendor was not able to repair the drive. They suggested two alternatives: replace the drive with a new one or borrow a drive from one of the four elevators in the office buildings.  The quote for replacing the obsolete drive with the new proprietary drive had a price tag of nearly $50,000!  Swapping out the drive for one from a less-frequently-used elevator didn’t solve the problem – it just moved the problem.  There had to be a better choice available.

Looking for another option, Ken decided to call Sal Zannino, EDC’s service coordinator, to see if EDC could help. Novartis has been an EDC customer for over 25 years servicing all of the HVAC and pump systems.  “I like dealing with a local company.  Unlike at a national company, at EDC you deal with the same people every time.  I know who I’m speaking with, and who is coming out.  You get better service and it feels like a close-knit professional relationship,” said Ken. “We had never used EDC for an elevator drive, so I was not sure if they would be able to help.”

When Ken made his phone call to Sal, an EDC technician happened to be in one of Novartis’ buildings performing routine preventive maintenance (PM) service on the HVAC drives. Sal asked the EDC engineer to take a look.  Based on the engineer’s evaluation, Sal felt confident that EDC could address the elevator drive problem.

EDC is unique compared to most other service organizations in that it has two sides, a Service Division and a Systems Division.

The Systems team designs and builds full-scale automation control systems.  The 11-man Field Service Engineering Team performs site-wide VFD Preventive Maintenance programs, 24/7 on-site emergency VFD repairs, and new drive installations.  A special niche that EDC is becoming increasingly known for is the capability for providing turn-key control solutions for existing projects where new VFDs and PLC logic must seamlessly be interfaced with existing and sometimes antiquated control and mechanical systems. Both Service and Systems bring their own areas of expertise, and experience that spans decades.  Using cross-departmental collaboration where needed, EDC is a company uniquely qualified to take on virtually any control project with successful results, regardless of the difficult challenges.

Over a two-day period, EDC diagnosed the VFD, acquired the needed parts, and completed the repair. Repairs included component level Printed Circuit Board (PCB) repair, and replacement of various drive components, including capacitors.  EDC worked with the elevator manufacturer to ensure the special-order parts were obtained and delivered quickly to get the customer back in operation ASAP.   Once the repair was completed, the drive was dynamically load tested at EDC’s facility to ensure the drive ran reliably under full load conditions especially given the critical elevator application.  The drive was successfully installed, returning the elevator to normal service.

Novartis was very pleased with the repair’s cost and EDC’s effort to expedite the timeline.  The total cost of the repair was 90% less than if Novartis had replaced the drive, and downtime had been kept to a minimum through the process.

“We have been working together for 20-plus years and have established a strong professional relationship. EDC has always come through for us for all of our drive work – for maintenance, malfunctions and VFD upgrades / VFD replacements – and restored our systems accordingly. EDC has consistently given us good, cost-effective options to get our operations back online again,” said Ken.

The cost to repair the drive was a small fraction of what it would cost to replace, and the building occupants are happy to have the critical elevator back in service.  If it happens again, Novartis now knows who to call.  Until then, EDC technicians will go back to work ensuring that the hundreds of drives at Novartis’ headquarters in East Hanover continue providing maximum energy savings and reliable operation for many more years to come.

An Annealing Upgrade Cuts Waste and Improves Quality for Wire Manufacturer

A high-end wire and cable manufacturer in Connecticut had several older Syncro wire drawing lines with continuous-resistance annealing.  Some of the lines had a fixed voltage process consisting of a contactor, transformer, and manually-set voltage taps while others had variable voltage supplies.  With fixed voltage, the annealing process cannot begin until the line is at running speed. The variable-voltage design lacked a control algorithm to properly control the voltage as a function of line speed to maintain a constant elongation of the wire.  EDC upgraded the existing drives with state-of-the-art Vector AC drives and EDC’s AlphaNeal™ Annealer Control with its field proven square root and annealer control algorithm.

EDC annealing upgradeIn the continuous-resistance annealing process, the secondary of the step-down transformer is connected to the wire through a rotating sheave. The voltage potential and the low resistance of the wire cause a high current to flow through the wire, heating it up. If the wire was not passing over the sheave at a high speed, it would melt. The root mean square (RMS) power level has to increase with speed. Too little power results in hard wire and too much can burn, discolor or melt the wire. EDC has mastered the control of the annealing process solving mathematical equations in real time to provide repeatability of a quality product.   EDC is able to provide a constant anneal from near zero speed to full speed and back to zero at varying line speeds resulting in a predictable, flexible, and more resilient product for secondary processes and final sale to the customer.

EDC Systems specializes in the wire and cable industry. We have retrofitted and built new applications for hundreds of annealing sections of copper and aluminum wire drawing lines ranging from 15kVA to 850kVA. Our team looks at the customer’s entire process – from the drawing machine, the annealer, to the spooler. In addition to utilizing our control solution with an algorithm to vary the voltage to the sheaves as a function of line speed in order to maintain a constant anneal, we oversize the power section.  The system is digital and thus can be recipe-driven and controlled from an HMI and PLC. The result is a controller that will give the customer the performance and reliability that EDC is known for in the industry.

Many wire manufacturing plants around the world have wire drawing machines dating back to the 1970s. Many machines are workhorses and have proven to be reliable with a long productive life. However, technology has come a long way and machine upgrades can incorporate design improvements that can substantially improve productivity, serviceability, and the economic life of older drawing lines. EDC has retrofitted drawing lines from industry leaders like Syncro, Niehoff, SAMP, and more. If you would like to evaluate a retrofit plan,

Contact Us 

Control System Upgrade Cuts Waste, Saves Chip Maker Money

In this blog post we are sharing how a manufacturer of premium potato chips resolved an unacceptable amount of food waste in the manufacturing process.

A premium potato chip manufacturing company had grown substantially since the company openeElectronic Drives and Controls potato chip control system upgraded nearly 3 decades ago. As the company grew its product line and volume, its founding passion for creating delicious, top-quality chips remained the highest priority. Top-quality demands high standards. With aging equipment in its plant, the company was struggling with a rising waste percentage resulting in lost revenue.

After evaluating the current equipment and manufacturing process, EDC recommended upgrading and consolidating the older fryer equipment’s control system to resolve the quality control problem.  Check out our case study (LINK) to find out how the customer was able to increase overall production by 50% and reduce waste percentages.  If you are interested in learning how a control system upgrade can help your facility please contact us, we are here to help!

Click here to read the entire case study.

Seeking Experts in Control Techniques, Emerson, or Nidec Drives/Motors?

EDC believes in investing in continuing professional development; keeping employees educated with the latest VFD and automation technology advances of the more than 40 brands we service and are factory trained and/or authorized on is a top priority. We appreciate the dedication and commitment our employees show in upholding our high standards.

Our EDC service engineers and Nidec Field Engineer and Trainer, Stan Klepadlo, displayed just that sort of dedication and commitment when braving a late-February snowstorm for training on Emerson, Control Techniques and Nidec VFDs. EDC provided the pizza as our employees and Stan stayed late into the evening for two consecutive nights of hands-on training during the raging snowstorm after a long day of work! The training included our entire team earning certification on Control Techniques HVAC Drive H300 Digital Bypass.3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Track 1 Lyman Tschanz & Dick Ciammaichella What's the role of a system integrator supporting a customer on their digital transformation journey? Many of our manufacturing customers are being challenged by their C-Level executives to transform their manufacturing operations using software tools, like those found at the IT levels, to leverage the data found in the factory in order to drive business improvements - making them more competitive in their markets. Their immediate challenge is where to start and how to find projects that show enough ROI to encourage additional investments. System integrators are in a perfect position to help. Learn how your experiences at your customers can position you as a valuable asset for them to start their journey toward business transformation using IIOT strategies and how you can help them get started tomorrow. Track 2 Don Ulrich Peer Groups "" (Workshop) Ever want to have an open and honest discussion with a peer at another SI to get some real insight into a critical issue or just bounce around an idea? Want to find out how the other guys really do it? Want to learn from others who have solved something that your company struggles with, while being willing to share some of your proud achievements? This session provides an environment for interested companies to learn more about what Peer Groups are, the benefits, and guidelines on how to join or create one. A panel of representatives from current Peer Groups will help answer your questions for you to determine if this is right for your company. This session will be followed up with opportunities for interested individuals to meet each other and determine if they are a good fit and want to form a Peer Group. 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Track 3 Tanya Donnelly How social selling helps grow your business Your employees are one of your best advocates for your company. Learn how Linkedin and Twitter can become one of your highest lead generating tools by changing profiles from resumes to building customer relationships.

“Having a long history of working with EDC, I have to say it is obvious that EDC has really high standards when it comes to hiring service engineers. The training on the drives quickly accelerated beyond the basics as EDC’s engineers began asking questions which prompted the training to elevate to a more advanced technical session,” commented Stan. “With EDC’s large, experienced team and prompt response time, it is good to know that our customers can count on a highly-reliable resource when needed.”

In 2017, Control Techniques and Emerson’s Industrial Automation division were acquired by Nidec Corporation from Emerson Electric Company. Control Techniques is now part of the Nidec Motor Corporation.  Together their portfolio of products includes AC, DC, and servo variable speed drives as well as power conversion technologies. For more than 40 years, these brands have been trusted in many commercial and industrial markets – HVAC, elevator, manufacturing automation, and industrial applications which demand energy efficiency, such as fans, pumps and compressors.


Technical review by Scott Sullivan, electrical engineer at EDC

Scott SullivanControl Techniques’ representative, Stan, started off the training session by highlighting the differences between the company’s now obsolete Affinity series drive and the new H300 series drive.

The first difference of note is that the H300 has an additional programmable form C-relay output. These outputs are used when drive-specific conditions occur and an external system, such as a building management system (BMS), needs to be notified. There are several instances where these could be used, the most common being a fault output. If the drive faults, a relay will open to alert the BMS and another will close to illuminate a fault indicator. Another possible use could be for a drive started condition. In HVAC, the drive start condition can be used to open a damper, which will in turn allow the drive to run once it is fully opened. A third possible use is for a drive running condition. This can be used in HVAC for a supply and return fan. The start command for the return fan is routed through the supply fan’s running relay. This prevents the return from running unless the supply is running and automatically stops the return when the supply stops. These 3 examples are some of the many uses of relays. The inclusion of an additional relay on the H300 drive allows for greater flexibility when incorporating it into a system.

The H300 drive also has slots for expansion ports to extend the drive’s functionality. If the customer has a specific need that the “out of the box” drive can’t provide, these expansion ports can be used to meet that need. An example of this might be if a specific type of serial communication is used (i.e. BACnet, Profibus, CANopen etc.), the drive can be made to support it even if it does not natively. The expansion ports can also be used to expand the drive’s I/O capabilities. While the base drive already has an impressive suite of digital and analog I/O, if the customer requires more of one or both of these, it can be accomplished by these expansion ports.

Another upgrade of the H300 series is the inclusion of a real time clock and programmable events that utilize it. This can be used to start and stop the drive or change its output frequency at specific times of the day or week, without the aid of a BMS. While external control of a drive is commonplace, there are times that these events could be useful. An example might be a building that is still under construction. A BMS would probably be implemented when the building is completed, but in the meantime these events could be used to control water pumps and cooling fans. Examples of programmable events could be starting a drive before employees arrive in the morning and shutting down at night after they leave, or perhaps reducing a drive to a minimum speed on Friday afternoons and returning it to full speed Monday morning. These events add flexibility when choosing how to install this type of drive.


Our customers rely on our field service engineers to be experts on the VFD drives keeping their building and manufacturing facilities running at peak efficiency and that is exactly what we deliver. EDC is brand neutral, therefore our service engineers are continuously updating training certifications on over 40 brands of drives and PLCs.


Additional Resources:

EDC Supports Local Charities Through Golf Tournament


Electronic Drives and Controls is a sponsor of the first annual golf tournament held by Electronic Drives and Controls golfAmerican Legion Post 86 in Newton, NJ.  The company is sponsoring hole competitions for most accurate drive, closest to the pin, and longest drive in the tournament.

On Friday, May 10, 2019, the tournament will be held at the Highpoint Country Club in Montague, NJ (rain or shine).  The event is open to the public, and golfers can register by calling the Legion Post at 973-383-2386 or by emailing Chuck Dillard.  Proceeds support several local events, including holiday parties for disadvantaged children.  Hole sponsorships are still available.


Date:                    Friday, May 10, 2019 Rain Postponement! June 7th, 2019

Location:             Highpoint Country Club, Montague, NJ

Registration:       Phone the Legion Post at 973-383-2386 or email Chuck Dillard

Options:              Ask about the catering package and evening banquet

Hole sponsorships still available

Things to Consider When Selecting a Systems Integrator

Choosing a System IntegratorAre you asking enough of the right questions when choosing a systems integrator to modify your critical systems? Simply asking whether someone is familiar with the hardware and software is not enough.

  • Do they know my application?
  • Is there a production schedule to assure on-time delivery?
  • Is the software robust?
  • Do they have complete control of the quality of the manufacture of my system?
  • Are they financially sound?
  • Is their documentation complete and are they forthcoming with all documentation?
  • Will they be able to support my future service needs?

Electronic Drives and Controls is built to meet all of these critical requirements. With over 50 years in business, our team has over 200 collective years of application experience.  Our systems are always fully tested prior to shipment.  Our in-house manufacturing passes multiple quality checkpoints during the engineering and manufacturing process.  We are CSIA certified, which is a rigorous, independent validation of an integrator’s business and project management skills.  We deliver complete documentation to the customer which is archived both on-site and offsite.  Our service team is nationally recognized.

This combination will assure timely delivery of a quality product that can be supported so you can confidently pursue and succeed in the execution of your business plan.

Call us to find out how you can assure success on your next integration project.

A Custom HVAC Vibration Safety Solution for a Large Commercial Property

EDC has worked with many high-profile buildings in NYC for decades and has the necessary security clearances to access sensitive facilities.  This is a case study of one client with whom we worked to create a custom solution to a potentially very dangerous problem.


A prominent commercial property in NYC was periodically experiencing severe vibration with the chiller fans in their HVAC system.  The vibration was sometimes so severe that the property management team was concerned that a large fan blade could come loose, creating an extreme safety hazard for employees, tenants, equipment as well as the facility.



Electronic Drives & Controls implemented a custom safety system on the commercial property’s rotating equipment.  This turnkey installation automated the shutdown of a series of fans if the vibration level exceeded a specified level, ultimately preventing issues by allowing management to address the problem before allowing the fan to restart.

EDC installed sensors in the fan handling units to detect the vibration velocity of the fans.  The solution consisted of a programmable logic controller (PLC), variable frequency drive (VFD), vibration measurement hardware, network gateways, and wireless spread spectrum radios. EDC subcontracted the appropriate trades and also worked in conjunction with the building management system (BMS) provider to interface the EDC system with the BMS via Modbus TCP/IP.  Due to the physical location of the equipment, the information was transmitted over a 2.4 Ghz FM spread spectrum secure link.

Knowing there would be occasions where the fan needed to maintain continued full operation when the VFD is shut down, EDC configured a bypass to disable the VFD and communicate directly to the motor to run at full speed. This would keep the HVAC system completely functional and operational during exceptions, such as when EDC is performing preventive maintenance (PM) tasks.  Additionally, the bypass circuits were also modified to shut down and stop the motor if the vibration sensor detects vibration outside the established velocity parameters.

At EDC, we pride ourselves in helping our customers keep their facilities running at peak efficiency and safety. We are a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands, and have alliances with world class hardware and software providers. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us, we are here to help!


EDC Service Spotlight: Eric Dillard

EDC Service Specialist Eric Dillard is a third generation Dillard working in the family business helping to keep his grandfather’s legacy alive and thriving 50 years after it all started! Eric loves his work with the family business as he noted, “There’s nothing better than seeing your Grandma at work!”

A day at work in the life of Eric Dillard is anything but typical; it’s a new adventure every day! Eric particularly loves the days going into NYC to visit current customers and drum up new business. While these days are long for Eric given the commute in and out of the city – he’s up at 4:30 am on his NYC days – the energy he feels from the city is worth the long hours. Eric has noted that there’s just something about the people that work in NYC; they are warm and inviting and he finds the camaraderie and support he receives when they find out he is part of a family-run, five-decade strong family business is very welcoming.

Eric started at EDC in 2012 when he was just 19 years old. When he was attending college at DeSales University, Eric worked at EDC during his winter and summer breaks. In his early years of college, he was doing miscellaneous work from data entry to organizing shelves in the shop. In his later years of college, Eric started building and wiring electrical panels in the shop for the systems side of the company where he learned how electrical parts work.

Eric is a huge NY Yankees fan, he is pictured here at a game with his mom Mary.

While at college, Eric was a pitcher for the DeSales Bulldogs and from there baseball allowed him to travel to California, Nevada, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and the Dominican Republic to pursue his passion and play baseball in different areas of the country.  Eric currently trains younger players at a local baseball facility with a focus on pitching instruction and continues to play in a men’s summer league.

After graduating from DeSales University with a degree in business and communications, Eric was offered a sales position on the service side of the company. Eric started off his new position with extensive training on how VFDs, electricity, and systems work. Then he learned the ropes by going to customer sites with EDC’s technicians, helping with installations of VFDs, troubleshooting on service calls, and doing preventive maintenance.

Eric and cousin Jessica, fellow Sales teammate

Eric’s current responsibilities consist of trying to grow relationships with existing customers and build new relationships with potential customers all over the Tri-State area. “I mainly find myself in skyscrapers in NYC focusing on educating customers and potential customers on the value of preventive maintenance and the energy savings opportunity installing variable frequency drives (VFDs) offers,” said EricEric also works with factories, pump houses, corporate buildings, sewage plants, prisons, etc. – basically, anywhere there is an electric motor. Eric works with customers and EDC engineers and technicians to scope out potential work. When a customer moves forward with a project, Eric will help manage the project and work to be done.

Eric is originally from Randolph, NJ and moved to the rural and scenic Township of Green, NJ in 2000 with his parents and sister when he was just in 2nd grade. He lived out in Truckee, California for 2 summers and has done other traveling, but he currently lives back with his parents Chuck and Mary Dillard in Green where he enjoys hanging out with his friends, family and his three dogs, Eli (white German shepherd), Heidi (St. Bernard), and Cali (beagle, pit bull, shepherd, etc. mix).

While not at work, Eric has a lot of activities he enjoys. As much as Eric enjoys the city, he also loves the wilderness and mountains. In fact, one of his favorite things to do is go hiking at the Delaware Water Gap with his dogs. He also loves traveling and just recently got back from a trip to Europe.

Eric is a huge sports fan, the NY Yankees and Giants are his favorite teams, and he has continued his passion for playing baseball by participating in local summer leagues. Eric also loves music and enjoys jamming with his friends and going to all types of concerts and music festivals.

Eric with Grandma Naomi – who co-founded the company with her husband

Eric summed up for us what he loves best about working in the family business:

“The best thing about EDC is the people I work with. EDC has a great group of people that are always willing to help each other and work together as a team to get the job done. I love working with my family. I get to see my Grandma, Aunt, Uncles, Dad, Cousins, and family friends almost every day. I know many people don’t get to see their families as much as they would like because of work so I think it is great seeing my family while I’m at work. On top of seeing my family at work, they are also always there for me if I have a question or need some help. It is great knowing that my family is always there for me and it makes coming to work every day worth it!”

Eli, Heidi, and Cali

A Drive Service Call We Planned for During The Reagan Administration

Old photograph custom variable speed driveEarlier this year, we received a service request that was both unusual and came about completely by design.

The call was coming from over 1,000 miles away from our New Jersey facility – in Florida.  The customer had a custom drive that we had built over 30 years ago – and it was still in service!  

Although this customer’s company had been sold nearly 20 years ago, the new owners were still easily able to find us and get in contact. (To illustrate just how long ago this was, we were all using beepers when this variable speed drive was first installed and the customer found us via this newfangled “Internet.”)

The variable speed drive (VSD) flew up to our Parsippany facility and through some troubleshooting, our engineer quickly realized that the problem was power related. (To again illustrate how long ago the installation was:  This same engineer was living in Soviet-controlled Lithuania, unaware of the concept of solid state variable speed drives entirely, when we originally built this one.) Although the fuse manufacturer had also changed names and moved locations, our engineer didn’t hit that obstacle. Instead, he walked across our warehouse and pulled down the exact fuses he needed off the shelf.

In less than two days, the drive was running well and headed back to the Sunshine State.  

So, although the geographic distance and time distance between service calls (three decades!) make this call somewhat unusual, our process was not.  The way we’ve always approached our work is just as successful now as it was then. In particular here, we leaned on:

  • Documentation: EDC still uses a version of the ID tag with the drawing information on it and has the exact drawing of this system in its files! 
  • Brand Agnostic: We regularly service over 40 brands, so our inventory is often sufficient.
  • Longevity: Our company has been around for over 50 years and plans to be here for the next 50.   So while we can’t guarantee how you’ll find us, we plan to be here when you look.

Reducing Energy Consumption Through VFDs

If reducing your energy bill wasn’t enough to have you improving efficiency… boy, has the New York City Council lit an environmentally-friendly fire under the building industry’s motivation!  As part of NYC’s recently passed Climate Mobilization Act, large commercial buildings will be required to cut emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, with expensive penalties if they fail to meet those goals. While the details may vary based on building use and other factors, the message is the same for all property owners: make a plan now to drastically reduce energy consumption.

Going far beyond the simple changes like switching to LED lighting or automating temperature control, buildings must start deep energy retrofits – and soon – to meet the new requirements. Deep energy retrofits address the energy consumption of an entire system.  

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) can drastically reduce energy consumption in a number of systems, including HVAC, elevators, water, and more.  That is where Electronic Drives and Controls’ expertise will come in very handy – whether or not your facility is located in NYC.


What are VFDs and how do VFDs reduce energy consumption for Fans and Pumps?

When motors installed in HVAC systems are run “across the line,” or at full speed regardless of the process demand, all or nearly all of the motor’s full load current is utilized and the motor consumes full electrical power.  A fan or pump motor controlled by a VFD is capable of being slowed down to meet the changing cooling and heating requirements – i.e. less liquid or air flow when full capacity is not needed. The energy savings may be greater than you think: for HVAC motors, the energy consumption is reduced by the cube of the speed! As an example, a fan run at just 90% of full speed will draw 27% less power.  For a building with motors adding up to a few hundred horsepower this could mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings annually!

Download detailed VFD project savings example


How can EDC make energy reduction with VFDs easier?

While adopting VFDs may feel abrupt and overwhelming to some, EDC has been providing services that will help address these requirements for over 50 years. We break it down into three simple steps: Audit. Execute. Optimize.

HVAC System Audits

Our expert engineers and technicians can audit your existing HVAC systems and equipment and make recommendations about where VFDs could be installed or upgraded to maximize energy savings.  Our on-site surveys are provided free of charge and culminate with project proposal.

VFD Project Execution

Upgrades and Retrofits

EDC works with over 40 brands of drives. Our engineers have designed and installed thousands of fan and pump VFDs and control systems. We can provide turnkey project installation services for one or one hundred VFDs. Let us assist with project payback justification to help management see the benefits of funding it.


To make it even easier to justify your project, your state or local power company likely provides rebates for installing new VFDs.  In NYC, Con-Ed recently increased their VFD rebate incentives from $.19 to $.25/KWh and up to 70% of project cost!* Electronic Drives is a Con-Ed certified Participating Contractor and can help you wade through the paperwork to ensure you maximize the available rebates, get the project approved, and get it done.

*Rebate incentives are subject to change.  More information can be found on Con-Edison’s Energy Incentives page.

Ongoing Equipment Optimization

Preventive Maintenance

A well-planned, well-implemented system is only effective if it is maintained. Regular service through preventive maintenance (PM) keeps your system optimized so you continue to receive the full payback from your investment in upgraded equipment. It also extends the life of existing equipment and reduces the risk of unplanned outages. Let EDC customize a PM plan to meet the needs of your new and existing VFDs.


Of course, when emergencies or odd-hour rescues are needed, our service team is available 24/7/365. We have a minimum of two service engineers on call every night and available to travel where needed. Supplemented with drive repair capabilities and a rental drive inventory, we’ll be sure to get you back in action in short order.

It’s all under control

Don’t let the new energy emission laws work you into a panic.  Our team and their decades of experience can help you plan, upgrade, and maintain motor, fan, and pump systems efficiently.

Pro-active clients who take advantage of rebates and install energy-saving VFDs on all possible HVAC and Pump applications, and who take steps to ensure their VFDs run at peak performance through qualified service and maintenance, will position themselves not only to reduce their energy bills but also avoid steep non-compliance penalties.


Controls upgrade boosts machine productivity 40%

In the metals industry, converting lines change the size and shape of metal alloys strips, including copper. As the product moves through machines, speed must be carefully controlled. Depending on the process, product velocity on one end of the roll of metal can vary considerably from the other end.

One recent machine retrofit of machine and motion controls increased productivity 40% since project completion, according to the plant maintenance manager, with an increase in quality and less scrap and a return on investment in six months.

Challenge: Repairs, speed

An aging metal converting line was experiencing an unacceptable amount of downtime. An existing 20-year-old control system was obsolete and procuring replacement parts was becoming very difficult. The customer needed better reliability, less scrap metal waste, and higher productivity from the traverse winding equipment. The line’s traverse winding and slitting application used six controllers that had been retrofitted with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in an earlier project. Before the upgrade, workers had no way to accurately control tension and motor speeds.

Tighter motion controls

The customer had a three-week time frame to complete the winding and slitting upgrade project.

Traverse Metal Winder EDC

A controls and automation upgrade to this traverse winder included eight Siemens S120 Vector drive systems to uncoil, slit, and recoil copper. Six Siemens S120 Servo drive systems were used for traversing. Courtesy: Electronic Drives & Controls Inc.

The system integrator worked closely with the customer to coordinate the project installation, so inventory could be built up, and they could shut down the line with confidence. To take advantage of the advances in motion control technology, the new PLCs and previously retrofit sidewinders’ PLCs were reprogrammed.

Hydraulic cylinders were converted to ball screw linear actuators capable of accommodating heavy loads. Changing from a hydraulic system to electric actuators with a servo drive and motor allowed tighter control over traverse position requirements, accuracy, and repeatability beyond that of the older hydraulics, without risk of oil leaks or related regular hydraulic maintenance. The hydraulic power unit was continually on and using energy; in the new design, servos use power only when needed for traversing, for less energy consumption.

A new operator interface, a Siemens Comfort Panel was part of a traverse winder machine upgrade, along with electric ball screw linear actuators to replace hydraulics (not shown). Courtesy: Electronic Drives & Controls Inc.

A new operator interface, a Siemens Comfort Panel was part of a traverse winder machine upgrade, along with electric ball screw linear actuators to replace hydraulics (not shown). Courtesy: Electronic Drives & Controls Inc.

To house the new equipment, a custom mechanical design was created to pull out the hydraulic cylinders and put in the electric actuators. The linear actuator performed as required, providing thousands of pounds of thrust when interfaced with the EDC-installed traverse winder PLCs while maintaining the ability to produce repeatable, programmable motion.

The outdated control system was upgraded to another vendor’s PLC. For the operator interface, a touchscreen human-machine interface was installed. Variable speed drives were replaced with new drives. Eight vector drives were used to uncoil, slit, and recoil; six servo drives were used for traversing; new contactors and circuit breakers were installed for all controls.

Installation included electrical contracting to run the cables and wires, retrofitting of the hydraulic cylinders, and replacement of all panels within the enclosures.

New control cabinets for a travers winder machine upgrade included a Siemens S7-1500 PLC, new contactors, and circuit breakers. Machines were running again in two weeks. Courtesy: Electronic Drives & Controls Inc.

New control cabinets for a travers winder machine upgrade included a Siemens S7-1500 PLC, new contactors, and circuit breakers. Machines were running again in two weeks. Courtesy: Electronic Drives & Controls Inc.

Better controls: More output

The customer said results have been excellent with nearly double the output since the upgrade. Previously, higher running speeds were impossible because the operators were unable to adequately control the tension enough. With the new control system optimized, tensions were constant, making for a higher quality edge, energy savings, and reduced wear.

The average running speed prior to the upgrade was 350 feet per minute (fpm). After the upgrade, the customer regularly runs at 600 fpm, and the machine is can run up to 850 fpm on a 1-in. strip, an impressive response for a traverse winder.

Machine upgrade: Before and after

Before the upgrade, the operator had to ramp up the machine speed slowly and watch the tension carefully. The machine ran at lower speeds to avoid having the operator lose control and produce scrap instead of good product.

After the upgrade, the operator pushes a button and the machine automatically ramps up speed to 600 fpm while maintaining proper tension on all the dancers. Good slit quality is produced with consistent tension through the slitting section. When the roll needs to be changed, the machine stops precisely within a couple of wraps of the end of the reel, so waste is further reduced.

The more robust control system gives added benefits such as monitoring and diagnostics for easier troubleshooting. After six months, the metal company realized return on its investment

The project was completed in less than three weeks so the customer did not risk running out of inventory; the line restarted in two weeks, despite controls from three major vendors. The project included a documentation update.

By Chuck Dillard

Article originally appeared on Control Engineering Magazine

Our Newly Designed Calendars

EDC Wall Calendar


The 40th edition of our calendar has a new look!  Featuring our fleet of at-the-ready service vehicles and with clearly marked weekends, this year’s calendar will be gracing your office walls with a bit more style as well as function.  You can read about this popular tradition when we gave the story behind the EDC wall calendars a couple of years ago.  If you’d like to be added to our list of calendar recipients (we have just a few left this year!), fill out your information below.


Project Profile: Single Loop Slitter with New Tension Stand

Click to view gallery of larger pictures.

Old Equipment:

  • GE 90-70 PLC with Genius Module Remote IO
  • GE DC Drives


New Equipment:

  • Siemens 1500 PLC
  • Siemens ET-200SP Remote IO
  • Siemens 15″+7″ Confortpanel
  • Siemens 6RA80 DC Drive (DCM)
  • Siemens S120 Drives system for tension stand


Reasons for Upgrade

  • Obsolete Hardware
  • Functionality Improvements
    • Upgrade Tension Stand to allow for plated material to be slit, added loop control with sensor to have automatic depth control.



  • EDC installed the new control upgrade while a section of the Machine was being modified by K&S Machinery.
  • EDC helped remove and rewire the removed section.
  • Did a partial startup on the sections that were remaining to reduce customer downtime once the tension stand section was finished.
  • While adding new controls for the modified tension stand section, EDC upgraded the PLC and existing 2x DC drives to state-of-the-art Siemens hardware.
    • Added loop sensor so operator does not have to manually control the loop depth to keep material in the pit
    • Created intuitive screens for easy control for the operator/easy troubleshooting for maintenance
    • Upgraded all communication to Profinet
    • Added remote connectivity
    • New line speed display to the system
    • Combined 4 separate feeds into the machine to one common feed for the whole machine.

We are a VFD and PLC Critical Services Provider

Dear valued clients and partners,

In light of coronavirus or COVID-19, I am reaching out to reassure you that we qualify as a Critical Services Provider. As such, Electronic Drives and Controls is fully staffed with 12 Service Engineers available 24/7/365 to service your PLC and VFD needs by calling 973-428-0500.

Ensuring business vitality is more crucial than ever during this time. ED&C is providing VFD and PLC repair, replacement and remote consultation services to help ensure the uninterrupted operation of Essential Businesses and Services within the communities we rely on. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a need.

We are supporting many essential businesses throughout the tri-state area including:

Commercial Buildings
Food Producers, Processors
Medical Centers
Transportation Centers, Bridges, Tunnels,
Telecommunication and Data Centers

Please reach us at 973-428-0500 if we can help you with the following

  • 24/7/365 On-Site Emergency Service for your VFDs and PLCs
  • Turn-Key VFD & PLC Upgrades, Replacements, and New Installations
  • Remote Consultation
  • Rental VFDs, In-House Repairs and Replacement Parts
  • VFD Preventive Maintenance Service

Of course, given the fluid nature of this pandemic, please check ED&C’s website or call us for updates. We are complying with government regulations and are taking prudent measures to ensure the mutual safety of our employees and clients alike.

Electronic Drives and Controls – Systems Division is working remotely. If you have difficulty reaching your contact in Systems, reach Chuck Dillard for assistance.

Trying times like these present opportunities to be our best, working to help one another. On behalf of the entire team at ED&C we sincerely thank you in advance for the opportunity to be of service to you. Please accept our well wishes for continued good health and financial security to you, your colleagues, families, and friends.

A Custom Solution for a Food Paper Manufacturer

EDC recently worked with a customer that had a desire to increase productivity, automate processes, and cut down on the cost of labor. Let’s take a look at their case study and how EDC was able to help them achieve their goals, stay on the cutting edge of technology, and take their company to the next level.


This manufacturer of disposable paper for the food industry wanted to upgrade their cutting and packaging lines.  The company makes 6-foot-long folded sections of paper that are then cut into varying lengths and inserted into ready-to-use boxes for 14, 10, and 8-inch sections –  whichever size is needed.

The original system involved a machine that cut the paper one length at a time while an employee on the other side of the machine inserted the paper by hand into the boxes. As you can imagine, this process took a great deal of time and manual labor.

What Did the Customer Want to Accomplish?

The customer wanted to automate and speed up the process of cutting the sections of paper and packaging them into boxes. To achieve this goal, they needed a system that was versatile but at the same time able to operate within a limited amount of space.

In preparation for automation, the customer had purchased a case erector. A case erector takes the flat boxes and turns them into a 3D rectangular shape with one end closed and the other open, ready to receive a section of paper.

However, there was no off-the-shelf solution for the inserter and cutting system.  The machine would need to take the 6-foot paper logs, index them to the specified length, cut them, and then push the cut stack of pre-folded paper into the packaging box. The machine would then advance forward, close the box, and that box would go into a carton designed to hold 20-30 boxes. The customer planned to start with one prototype machine to prove the concept. Ultimately, they planned to work their way up to the goal of 6 stations.

Each station needed to have the flexibility to cut the logs of paper into varying lengths based on demand. It also needed to be able to handle reject pieces that were defective as well as leftover pieces that didn’t fit the size requirement.


The main challenge for this project was meeting the versatility requirements and space constraints.  For this company’s unique needs, they needed a custom solution. While the in-house team worked on the mechanical design, they turned to EDC’s controls expertise for the electrical design.

Each station would have a total of 12 motors:

  • 6 motors would be needed for the main section which included the conveyor belt and knives.
  • 4 more motors would be needed to operate jaws
  • An additional 2 motors were needed for actuators.

All of these motors, and their associated controls and wiring, would need to fit into a 48”x60” enclosure to be mounted above the inserter!

EDC’s Solution

EDC’s controls expertise was selected by the customer to work with their talented in-house design team to increase productivity, reduce labor costs, and bring its vision to life. EDC decided to utilize the Siemens S120 Vector Drive platform with a Siemens S7 1500-F Fail-Safe PLC.

A Large, Central Control Panel

EDC proposed installing a large panel that would eventually house all of the motor controls for each station, enabling additions as the customer expanded their line – eventually a total of 72 motors across 6 inserter stations!  Another key control feature is Siemens’ Fail-Safe PLC with ET200-SP remote I/O.  The PLC and distributed I/O at each of the inserter stations have safety-rated inputs and outputs.  The PLC’s safety-rated CPU checks for faults locally and remotely and communicates their status over the ProfiSafe ethernet network. Wiring for E-stops and safety switches is greatly simplified since the safety components are connected locally instead of home-runs back to the main controls enclosure.  Should an E-stop be activated, the ProfiSafe network issues a Safe Torque Off stop to the VFDs and the location of the fault can be displayed at the main and Mobile HMI’s.

Mobile HMI

EDC installed a Siemens mobile HMI. This feature gave the operator the ability to walk up and down the line and make changes as he or she saw fit. It also helped EDC with development and troubleshooting of the controls.

System for Getting Rid of Waste Product

The customer built a network of conveyor belts below the floor in the basement of the factory. The short end sections and waste from the cutting and insertion process are simply pushed to an opening in the floor and fall to the conveyors below. EDC integrated the conveyor network with the production system above. Additionally, cameras were placed overlooking the network of conveyor belts so the operator has the ability to view the basement from the HMI at all times.

Communication Protocol

The customer’s case erector included an OEM-installed Omron PLC which would not directly communicate over the Siemens ProfiNet network.  EDC created a custom protocol so the two PLCs could “talk” to one another.  This back-n-forth communication allows for a quality check to inform the Inserter PLC, and the operator, that the boxes are ready, in place, and that none are malformed. In return, the Insert PLC lets the case erector know that all the boxes are full.

How Is This Project Innovative?

From the onset, the mechanical portion of this project was achieved through prototyping and development by the customer. Even though the controls portion was 80% known, the solution required flexibility and room for innovation. The EDC / Siemens combination proved to be the best fit.  For starters, the Siemens S120 VFD and Servo system may be the most compact solution for multi-axis applications.  Each inserter required 12 axes of VFD and servo motor control.  The distributed approach to the PLC I/O made it easy to add or subtract field components, including safety-rated devices.  Other innovations included:

  • PLC to PLC communications
  • Laser sensor array for product quality control
  • Live video feed displayed on HMI

A summary of the wide range of products includes:

  • S120 dual-motor servo drives with 1FK7 motors (super high-performance)
  • S120 dual-motor vector drives
  • S7 1500-F Fail-Safe PLC with ProfiNet and ProfiSafe communication protocols
  • G120C compact VFDs
  • Siemens managed 6GK Ethernet switch
  • ET200-SP Standard and Fail-Safe Remote I/O
  • Comfort Panel HMI
  • Mobile Panel HMI
  • Laser distance sensors
  • Servo-driven rod-style actuators

The End Result

Thanks to a great deal of innovation on the control side, the customer ended up with a system that has the ability to cut and place stacks of paper into boxes at a high speed. In fact, the system can fill about 4 boxes in 40 seconds using just one line! With an increase in production, the customer was able to reduce labor costs.

Space for the controls was a big concern and a huge limiting factor when it came to the design of the system that could be installed. EDC was able to design and deliver a system that fits the small space requirements but also has the full range of functionality desired. Thanks to EDC’s flexible integration solution and this customer now has a system that enables them to take their disposable paper manufacturing company to the next level.

Are You Ready to Take Your Company to the Next Level?

With over 50 years of experience in the industrial automation and service industry, EDC is well-equipped to take on the toughest challenges. With expert engineers, we have the ability to design, build, integrate, and start-up even the most advanced systems. Contact us today for more information on what we can do for your business.

Contact us

Battery Manufacturer Case Study – Siemens S210 Servo Drive

Not all systems integrators are created equal.  Apart from raw talent within the organization, the industry concentration of the firms varies. Some are good at process control; some specialize in food and beverage and others are adept at creating customized assembly machines, like what may be employed to assemble a ballpoint pen.  While EDC has performed projects in a wide spectrum of fields, tension control is where we shine.

Recently, EDC worked with a battery manufacturer to introduce specialized automation into an extremely delicate web handling process. Finding ways to integrate intelligent control solutions on an existing prototype process platform was a key concern for this battery supplier, who was working on mass-producing a successful battery R&D project.

The Challenge

As most battery manufacturing processes go, this one involves many steps – from slurry mixing and calendaring to slitting, coating and laminating. Particularly challenging was a web handling process necessary to laminate several substrates together, some as thin as 25 microns (um) – half the thickness of a human hair! A backing needed to be stripped off the substrate, then adhesive is applied, followed by the melding of the two very thin substrates together. Obviously, complex motor/torque control was necessary for delivering four things:

  1. Superfine tension control
  2. High reliability
  3. High stability
  4. High versatility

Note that EDC’s usual web handling applications realize tensions in excess of 100 times higher.  The customer also asked EDC to size all the motors based on their existing mechanical configuration. Further escalating the challenge, two other design constraints included 208VAC single phase input and space limitations to house nine total drives, a PLC, and associated controls.

The Solution

Battery Substrate Laminator Controls
FIGURE 1: Battery Substrate Laminator Controls – featuring compact electrical design

While relatively new on the market, the Siemens S210 servo drive was an obvious choice.  Compact, (footprint just 55 mm wide by 170 mm high or 2.2” x 6.7”), safe (EN 61508 & ISO 13849-1 compliant), and available in the

requisite 208VAC single phase input (see Figure 1).

In addition to delicate tension control, very fine speed control was needed. To address this aspect, EDC sized 20-to-1 and 50-to-1 planetary gearboxes for the nip and rewind motor sections.  Therefore, precise tension control could be accomplished with minute speed changes of the spindle motors.

The Solution Beyond-the-Drive

While we may be best known for our incredible drive expertise, EDC understands the intricacies of inline/web processes. Like other web lines, this machine uses “dancers” – i.e., feedback devices that help determine if the web is going too fast or too slow, thus affecting tension. Generally, dancers exert a predetermined force on a web that results in a desired tension, usually with an air cylinder and a pressure regulator commanded from the PLC, an “I-to-P” current-to-pressure device.  In some instances, weights on a lever arm are utilized with a high-quality potentiometer or encoder feeding back the position of the lever arm.  In the case of the battery laminator and its unique requirements, the traditional methods were not viable.

EDC’s unique solution utilized the Siemens S-1FL6 servo motors with Siemens V90 positioning amplifiers to directly drive the dancers.  The servo motor was commanded in a position mode at a percentage of its available torque. This placed the dancer arm at a location and force that corresponded with the desired web tension.  A fluctuation in the position of the dancer arm was detected by the dancer servo motor’s encoder and fed back to the PLC.  Siemens’ ProfiNet communications protocol was utilized to command the roll motors to speed up or slow down, thus maintaining the ultra-fine tension needed to peel the backing off of the substrate without damaging the web.

The Value of EDC’s Solution and Siemens S210 Drives

Using best-in-class technology and savvy drive programming, we were able to take a completely custom mechanical configuration and adapt a control system to that configuration. The end result was control of feather-light tensions and a machine capable of continuously peeling backing and laminating substrates using a fully-automated, scalable solution.

It is also important to highlight the value of the Siemens S210 drives. The power levels were low, the motors relatively small, and control was of critical concern. The agile S210 was well-suited for this battery laminator project and can be utilized for many other applications such as pick-n-place devices, metering pumps, and dynamic positioning tasks of all types.

Are You Ready to Embrace the Future of Manufacturing?

With buzzwords like “Industry 4.0” seeping into the manufacturing ecosystem, the pressure to automate can be overwhelming, but the benefits are enormous. Reducing manual touchpoints and increasing throughput throughout your entire manufacturing process can help you remain a competitive player in the global supply chain.

Are you looking for custom control and drive solutions that can help you automate those pesky hard-to-configure manufacturing tasks?

 Do you have an existing system that is need of a new lease on life?

Contact us

EDC’s custom integrated solutions can help you realize the power of automation in every layer of your manufacturing process.

How To: Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley PLC-5 to ControlLogix Conversion

Electronic Drives and Controls, a nationwide recognized Rockwell Automation systems integrator showcases a real-life Allen-Bradley PLC-5 to ControlLogix conversion in the video below.  Using this space-saving kit allows the upgrade to exist in the same footprint and with minimal rewiring. Follow along with the directions below.

Equipment shown in this tutorial:

  • Conversion base plate
  • I/O conversion module
  • Pre-wired cables
  • Cover plate
  • ControlLogix rack


On the PLC-5, we mark the I/O modules, remove the serial cables, the AC power, and the tie wraps. We remove the PLC-5 I/O headers, letting them carefully drape below the PLC-5 rack. The screws of the PLC-5 rack are loosened and a helper is called in to lift the rack off its mounts. We give the back panel a nice cleaning to prepare for the conversion base plate. The mounting screws are installed in the same holes as the PLC-5 rack, then we add the base plate and bottom screws.

The I/O conversion modules are snapped into the base plate. These 25- or 37-pin modules transition the PLC-5 I/O wiring to ControlLogix using the PLC-5 headers we draped below earlier. The Rockwell Automation selection guide will help you determine these part numbers.

Next, we reinstall the PLC-5 headers in the order as they were marked. The pre-wired cables are installed on the I/O conversion modules. We make sure all 12 cables are nice and snug. We have mounted the new PLC I/O modules and the A-17 rack, and then to the conversion cover plate. This hooks on the conversion base plate, and then is secured with screws. The header ends of the pre-wired cables are snapped into the ControlLogix I/O modules, then the rack’s back power supply.

Notice the missing ControlLogix terminal module. Since an exact I/O conversion from PLC-5 to ControlLogix is not available, we simply wired the conductors to a 1756 terminal block on site and according to our wiring schematics.

Now, let’s reconnect the AC power, then the data highway connections for legacy components we will replace later. Finally, the Ethernet connection is snapped in and we are ready to start testing and troubleshooting our system in a fraction of the time had we not used this labor-saving conversion kit.

From PLC-5 to ControlLogix in the same space and minimal rewiring. Of course, that was the easy part. Need help programming, troubleshooting, and starting up your new ControlLogix system? Give Electronic Drives and Controls, the nationwide PLC and drives integration specialists, a call or click.


Project Profile: Adhesive Coating Line Upgrade

Holland Manufacturing contracted with EDC to upgrade their coating line that applies the adhesive to the reinforced backing for their Reinforced Water Activated Tape. Working with Todd Holland, EDC updated the machine that was developed by his grandfather, Holland’s founder and machine designer in the 1960’s. EDC provided a state of the art drive and control system to remove the Motor-Generator Set single motor driver of the machine, and supply Rockwell control hardware and custom-designed mechanical upgrades to coordinate and control independent drives for much-improved product quality and consistency.

The project needed to be broken down into two phases. It started by calculating how the drive power should be distributed to each independently driven section. We then did the mechanical design to adapt the motor, gearbox, and power transmission hardware into each section. Interviews with process engineers and operators gave assurance that we incorporated all of their wishes into our design. The drive system was sized to easily install the phase 2 drives at a later date. We incorporated recipes to load the ideal running parameters at the push of a button. Sections could be run in coordinated speed draw or tension modes.

Installation and start-up was provided “turn-key”. EDC provided Electricians, Millrights, and Field engineers to remove the line shaft and install control cabinets, conduit, power transmission, operator stations, load cells and guarding. Holland commented on how the installation was “Beautiful and went faster than we could have expected”. Drives were speed matched and closed-loop regulators were turned on. The line was producing saleable product 5 days after the commencement of demolition.


Months later, we added 3 new drive sections with a custom-designed weldment, gearboxes, chains, belts, pulleys, and guarding to drive the coater. Again, the installation was fast and fully operational in 4 days. This project was both fun and challenging. It allowed us to participate in the growth and success of Holland Manufacturing while demonstrating our turn-key design and installation capabilities.

EDC Earns High Marks for VFD Preventive Maintenance and Service from Chief Engineer at Premier NYC Commercial Office Building

In a client interview conducted by an independent third party, Chief Engineer of 52 Broadway, Kevin Ridder spoke about the challenges of managing a New York City high-rise commercial office building and how working with EDC, an expert VFD full-service provider, has given him peace of mind.

As the first line of communication when it comes to tenant-related complaints, a day in the life of a Chief Engineer can be unpredictable. “I am the head of the engineering department for the property, with four people directly reporting to me. We basically operate eighteen-hour days from six in the morning until ten or twelve at night, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I have an eight-to-four shift on Saturday and Sunday.” In addition to cosmetic repairs and general maintenance, his team is responsible for operating, repairing, and maintaining all of the equipment related to heating and air conditioning, as well as responding to any complaints that come from the office facilities.

Kevin described a typical day, saying, “We handle a wide variety of tasks, basically anything that’s a complaint on the property. It could be anything from bathrooms to air conditioning or heating, to electrical issues. We would be the first people to go check it out and most likely the ones that are going to take care of it as well.”

With all of this to manage, the last thing a Chief Engineer wants to worry about is an equipment drive failure in the mechanical room compromising the building’s heating and cooling systems and inconveniencing tenants. Having a trusted and reliable vendor to handle drive maintenance and emergency issues is key.

Having worked with EDC for 18 years, Kevin originally hired EDC to perform regular preventative maintenance (PM) services for 52 Broadway’s drives after a referral from a colleague. “I had spoken to the Chief Engineer for 85 Broadway, which was Goldman Sachs’ headquarters, asking him for a reference. He referred me to EDC because they did all of the variable frequency drives (VFDs) for him, and he was very satisfied with them. I gave them a call, we discussed what our needs were, and we’ve been using them ever since,” recalls Kevin.

As is the case for many older commercial buildings in NYC, the building had older drives from multiple different manufacturers on the property and Kevin needed an expert who was capable of servicing a wide variety of drive brands. EDC is a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands eliminating the need to coordinate and rely on multiple vendors.

When asked how they usually go about sourcing vendors, Kevin responded, “With many of these properties, the equipment that’s used is rather specialized. So, a lot of times a referral works best when trying to find the right person or company for the equipment you’re trying to repair or maintain.”

Before hiring EDC, the property’s previous vendors had lacked the necessary expertise and communication regarding proposals, and lining up work schedules had been overly complicated. Kevin described the relationship with his vendors prior to EDC as “difficult,” noting that making a service call shouldn’t be more aggravating than the actual loss of service from the equipment.

“Since we hired EDC, we’re getting exactly what we need. Their service department is excellent. I can call anytime and they’ll accommodate us, whether it’s an emergency repair or a scheduled repair. Their time to order parts, get them to the job and get the repairs done is really good,” said Kevin.

This positive relationship created with EDC proved to be especially valuable when the building suddenly suffered a critical failure of their motor control center (MCC) equipment in the mechanical room causing electricity to feed back into the variable frequency drives (VFD), destroying the majority of them. As a complicating factor, the property was in the process of upgrading the building management system (BMS). At the time of the loss, two different systems were affected: a legacy Honeywell system and a brand-new ALC system.

Kevin and his engineering team again turned to EDC to help quickly replace the control center and compromised equipment. Having worked with EDC for many years prior to this event, they knew that EDC would not only rebuild the damaged parts but would continue to provide support with excellent response time and a diligent work ethic. With commercial tenants temporarily displaced, the utmost professionalism and expedient response were vital to remedy this difficult situation.

EDC ultimately provided a turnkey rebuild of the lost VFDs, including a plan for running new main power and control wiring. After assessing the site in its original damaged state, EDC supplied a quote for repairs and then immediately pulled the right team together and dispatched them to disassemble and remove the damaged equipment. The EDC team then designed a plan to run new main power wiring, provided and installed the new VFDs, and interfaced with other on-site contractors, as needed, to ensure a successful installation on budget and on time.

In Kevin’s role, the most important thing is to avoid disruption to the tenants, and EDC provides that peace of mind. Kevin describes working with EDC, “It is more like working with a partner that truly cares. I know the service people by name because they have been there for many years. Some other vendors have been hit or miss, sometimes providing experienced technicians and sometimes not. EDC always responds as quickly as they can, rising to the occasion when there is an emergency. They don’t try to upsell a new drive, and they try hard to find the most economical solution to meet their clients’ needs.” When Kevin picks up the phone and calls, he knows EDC will do whatever they can to ease the burden, so that his engineering team can focus on everything else.

“In these big properties, when something goes wrong or we lose a critical piece of equipment, it can be very difficult to try and provide services that are necessary without affecting the tenants. It can be daunting at times. I know that when I pick up that phone and call EDC, I’m going to get somebody that’s going to handle it – that will be there as soon as they can, and is going to take care of it with the best solution possible. I can’t give them a higher rating than the highest rating. So they were a hundred percent. They are excellent,” said Kevin.

With over 50 years of experience in the industrial automation and service industry, EDC has the capacity to take on the toughest challenges, with the expertise to design, build, integrate, and start up even the most advanced systems. Contact EDC today for more information.


5 Controls-Based Causes of Scrap

Often, when people think about causes of scrap, they think about something like a damaged fixture, or worn-out tooling.

Those examples are both mechanical issues, and can contribute to a large amount of scrap being generated in a system. Now the real question is, are there any other areas that can contribute to scrap?

The answer is yes, and one of those main areas is on the controls side of the system. While frequently overlooked, controls related scrap can start as soon as a system is installed.  Below are 5 sources of scrap and how they can be solved with controls solutions.


Certain devices, like many analog sensors, can be very sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity and other weather conditions. Not using a sensor in its correct environment can lead to inconsistencies in the feedback generated by the device.

Having the right type of device for the job is important, but making sure that the device is able to work accurately in your environment is crucial.

Electrical Noise

Electrical noise occurs when there are unwanted disturbances in an electrical signal. This can become a major issue, especially with analog signals and cause a system to react in un-intended ways.

Using the correct type of cable and shielding can help to reduce the electrical noise created in the system. It is important to not only look at the signal cables, but the communication and power cables as well.

Outdated Programming

Over the years, and sometimes even months, the conditions can change in a system. Maybe product was sourced from a new supplier, or a whole new product type was added to the line. It may seem more appropriate to make a series of quick patches to get the system back up and running, but you need to also look at the long-term implications.

Properly updating software for new changes and added complexity can help reduce the amount of time spent on adjusting just to make things work. When qualifying the added expense of the software updates, make sure to include the reduction of scrap in the ROI.

Inconsistent Hardware Controls

A lot of hardware in a system can have some degree of variability such as the speed of a motor, the pressure for a pneumatic line, or the amount of product dispensed per cycle. Improperly monitoring or controlling vital pieces of hardware can greatly increase scrap, especially between multiple shifts and newly trained operators.

Recipes are a great way to collect setpoints that can be used to drive the automation. With the added ability to save changes and load different recipes, you can reduce the amount of scrap between product changes.

Tension Control

Variations in the tension of your product can lead to rips, wrinkles, and/or printing issues. Not only can this lead to an increase in scrap, but also downtime to get the line back up and running.

Consider adding in one or more tension zones including a load cell or a dancer to gain greater control of your product and reduce the amount of scrap created. Making any adjustments to a tension process can be a trying process and, in most cases, it is beneficial to seek expert opinions on the subject.


EDC can help you diagnose your causes of scrap and create a solution to provide you with a more efficient process. For more information, contact us.