BOMA NY Members Wowed by One World Trade Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Top 4 Reasons to Implement a Control System Preventative Maintenance Program

What is Preventative Maintenance?

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

How does Preventative Maintenance work?

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

Why implement a PM Program?

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

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

 

     1. Prolongs Life of Investment

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

 

     2. Minimize Downtime

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

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

 

     3. Maximize Energy Savings

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

 

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

     4. Maintain a Knowledge Base of Equipment

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

 

Why EDC?

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

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

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

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

 

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

Traverse Winder Electronic Drives and ControlsA 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.”

Conclusion

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 here!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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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.

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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 NJ.com 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.”