7 Common Problems with Slitting Machines in the Metals Industry

EDC Slitting Machine

Having decades of experience helping clients in the metals industry, our engineering team knows the slitting line process inside-out and are experts in automation and control system technology specific to the industry. Typically, when we start with one slitting line retrofit, the success of that first project leads to retrofits of their Metals converting equipment at multiple plants for the same client across the country.

Having implemented control systems for both new slitting lines and retrofitting a countless variety of older slitting lines, EDC has developed deep domain expertise to help our clients optimize production. Because of the complex and nuanced processes for this type of production equipment, there is no universal cookie cutter solution. Each new and retrofit project needs to be developed according to the manufacturers’ unique conditions and production goals.

EDC collaborates with plant managers and operators to evaluate the slitting line from loading the coil and set-up procedure through to the slitting and recoil process to tailor the optimal solution to improve production performance. Although each project is unique, there are 7 common problems we have encountered through the years which are triggers to consider a control system upgrade. In no particular order, here is our list of common problems and examples of solutions we deploy to solve these challenges:

      1. Tension Problems Create Quality Control Issues

        For slitting lines, tension is an important variable. If the tension is not controlled properly, material defects become a problem. Often the material is too taut going in and out of the slitter resulting in a host of quality issues from burring to scratching of the material. A slitting line makes a much better-quality cut at controlled low tension at the entry and little or no tension at the exit of a slitting head. To achieve optimal cut quality, adding a loop going in and a loop coming out of the slitter can solve the tension problem. If you have an entry and exit loop currently and are experiencing quality issues, the control system should be evaluated for potential adjustments. No matter what your problem EDC can help to improve your Precision width tolerances.

        • EDC’s Entry Loop Solution – To solve for taut entry tension problems, EDC can implement controls to provide an entry loop section to the machine allowing for low tension slitter entry, which will assist in making a better split off. We can also add a sonic sensor above the loop for feedback to the control system to adjust the speed of the motors to maintain optimal loop position.
        • EDC’s Existing Exit Loop Improvement Solution – In many of the facilities that we have visited, an operator is manually manipulating the exit loop which is an art and a nuanced talent. As many longtime operators are approaching retirement, the knowledge and know-how is hard to replace. If an operator is not experienced or not paying attention, either they might run the take up too fast creating a taut web on the exit, or they might run it too slow causing the slit metal to become scraped up at the bottom of the pit. Leveraging the control system, EDC can provide a loop position feedback on the exit loop, eliminating the need for the operator to have to constantly make adjustments.
        • EDC’s No Exit Loop Solution – If you do not have an exit loop you would have to dig a pit that’s 30 feet deep which is not practical in many cases. Although not optimal, EDC can provide a controls solution to operate in a slip core configuration. Another solution can be the implementation of Traverse winding.
      2. Slow Slitting Line Setup

        Traditionally, slitting line setup is not a quick process and can hamper your ability to meet production goals. Setting up automated recipe management can significantly reduce setup time. Operators can easily select the appropriate recipe from a user-friendly touch screen, significantly reducing the setup process and improving product consistency between shifts.

      3. Extended Downtime for E-Stop

        There are cases when an e-stop is required during an operational anomaly. When this happens too quickly and is not controlled properly, it can cause extended recovery time and possible damage to the line.

        EDC can incorporate a coordinated, rapid stop utilizing safe torque-off, web break sensors, and control algorithms to maintain web integrity, saving valuable minutes in setup recovery.

      4. Difficulty Hiring Operators

        The National Association of Manufacturers’ 1st quarter of 2021 survey of manufacturers report ranked the inability to attract and retain talent second place behind the rise in raw material goods on the list of top challenges. It was noted by 65.8% of those completing the survey. Previously, the labor issue was the primary concern in 11 of the past 13 quarters prior to this release. With approximately one quarter of the manufacturing workforce being age 55 or older, the skilled labor shortages are very real and not likely to improve anytime soon.

        If you are too reliant on aging operators who have been with your company for a long time, it’s time to simplify running your manufacturing lines by leverage automation technology. Automating previously manual tasks (i.e., automating loop tension) will enable a less skilled operator to quickly complete training and smoothly transition into taking ownership of running the line. Automating allows new operators to achieve the same or better results of the retiring operator. Modern user-friendly touchscreen operator interfaces with built-in troubleshooting diagnostics will also help attract, train, and retain the younger generation of workers who have grown up with intuitive smartphones and computers.

      5. Bearing Wear in the Slitter Head

        Bearings in the slitter head will start to wear over time, causing loss of precision and other operational difficulties and quality degradation. To help our clients resolve this issue, EDC works with slitter manufacturers to facilitate an upgrade of the mechanical portion of the slitter to bring it back to original tolerances needed for precise slitting.

      6. Edge Trim Control

        All slitting lines produce some scrap due to edge trim. Whether you are using a scrap baller or a scrap winder to collect your edge trim, proper control of your edge trim motor can limit the amount of scrap produced. Limiting the amount of scrap adds to your bottom-line profitability. EDC can address this often-overlooked inefficiency by fine-tuning the motor and controls in your scrap winding section.

      7. Legacy Control System

        Many of the first six problems we have discussed could be related to operating your equipment with legacy controls. Slitting lines are true work horses; the physical equipment well exceeds the operating life of the control systems that run the equipment.

        Running your slitting line on a legacy control system retired by the original manufacturer is like dancing with the devil – you never know when you will get burned. The longer the control system has been retired by a controls manufacturer, the higher your chances of extended downtime. If you have resorted to looking for parts on eBay, it is only a matter of time before unexpected downtime will translate into a costly emergency.

        Legacy control examples include Allen Bradley’s PLC5, SLC-500, Siemens’ S5 and S7-300, GE 90-30, as well as many other obsolete AC and DC drives.

Evaluating a retrofit is highly recommended and you may be surprised at how the advancement in technology can offset the cost, yielding a favorable return on investment. In one case study, our client reported a 40% improvement in productivity after replacing an outdated General Electric control system. EDC can help you evaluate and map out the highest value retrofit.

Contact EDC for a slitting line evaluation

3 Recent Manufacturing Intelligence Projects

Several manufacturers have reached out to us recently wanting to implement Manufacturing Intelligence in their facility.  This has been called lots of different names – Industry 4.0, IIoT, cloud computing, etc. – but we don’t care much for just the next trendy topic, or implementing new tech just for the sake of it.  What’s interesting to our Systems department at EDC is finding solutions that help our customers solve their problems.

Manufacturing Intelligence is not just gathering data but doing something with that data.  Manufacturing Intelligence projects contextualize the data so that it is meaningful and helps manufacturing teams make better decisions.

Alerts for Consistent Product Quality

A recent project featured collection of process data for a company that extrudes a non-woven web of absorbent padding, then cuts it into sheets for use by industrial customers. A data historian was created to capture and store 200 data tags for temperatures, line speed, motor speeds, and the status of safety devices such as interlocking door switches, e-stops and cable pulls.  Alerts were set-up for out-of-range process parameters, which will trigger e-mails and text messages to warn key plant personnel.  Actionable information such as this can be used to prevent product scrap, downtime and component failure. For this customer, a simple blower air temperature that was too low was their largest concern. The project was so successful that it was implemented across their other three production lines.

Downtime Monitoring

A metals converting customer wanted to easily monitor and display their production rates.  EDC utilized encoders and variable frequency drive (VFD) data from our previous slitting line upgrade to calculate line speed in feet per minute and display it on large character rate meter so it could be seen from across the plant floor.  The cloud-based solution also made the production rate and other contextual process points available wherever the plant manager had internet access and the proper authentication. Production managers use this information to help them monitor their plant by simply walking around.  They also receive text alerts if downtime is more than they expect so that they can troubleshoot in a timely manner.

Critical Sensor Monitoring and Alerting

A NYC high-rise needed to alert their maintenance staff when the level of their domestic water tank was too low. Usually, the facility will utilize a building management system (BMS) to perform the monitoring function. However, this building’s BMS was obsolete and adding the necessary system upgrades to accomplish this seemingly small but important task proved to be too costly. EDC installed a Samsara cloud-based data collection gateway and set-up text and email alerts for the low-level condition. A trend line graph was created so the facilities personnel could check the tank level anytime, anywhere they had internet access. The project was performed at a fraction of the cost of the BMS upgrade.

Ready to Implement Manufacturing Intelligence?

The above are just a sample of manufacturing intelligence projects EDC has performed as an end goal or as part of a larger systems integration project. EDC is adept at utilizing a variety of platforms and techniques including Samsara’s cloud-based gateways, Rockwell’s Factory Talk or simple data arrays in customer HMIs that operators can view or download.  These solutions provide actionable information that can help you increase uptime, reduce scrap and transform your production facility, no matter how large or small, into a state-of-the-art efficient operation.

Let EDC help you with your Manufacturing Intelligence project
Contact Us 

Spotlight: Zack Fischer

Zack Fischer has been with Electronic Drives and Controls for almost 8 years, starting with the Drives Service team in October of 2013, and then moving over to the Systems Integration team in 2016. Asked about how Zack started in Service, Chuck Dillard, vice president of EDC, said, “He took the initiative to buy his own PLC. He bought an enclosure and mounted the PLC in the enclosure, wired it all and then started programming PLCs just because he wanted to. And it’s still there in the back of the office. People still use it today for training.”

While working with the Drives Service team, Zack consistently showed that he would be a great systems engineer and an asset for EDC. On one project, Zack developed an idea for a modular rack that could be made utilizing Versabar, then mounted and wired all the drives to it, which Chuck said “came out so beautiful.” He then took it to the job installed the entire system with no problems whatsoever. And Chuck, referring to customers, summed things up by simply saying that “People love when Zack comes.”

Like any great systems engineer, he also wanted to make sure he was prepared with whatever tools he might need for any type of job, even if it meant buying the tools himself prior to EDC implementing a tool program. When buying his own tools, Zack always made sure he had the best tools available. He didn’t take shortcuts or buy cheap or poorly constructed tools.

One of Zack’s favorite things about working with the systems team is the variety. Zack said, “You get to see a lot of different things.” Zack enjoys working with all of the different applications and learning about different types of production machinery. He has worked on projects including improving the manufacturing of potato chips, stranding of large power cables and slitting of steel strips, all very engaging projects. In addition to all the different applications, machines, and even wire and cable lines Zack gets to work with, this job also gives him the opportunity to see a lot of different places in the country.

Zack attended New Jersey Institute of Technology, receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering. Outside of work, Zack enjoys hiking and travelling with his fiancée Laura, and recently was helping to plan their wedding, being held July 22nd, 2022. He has also been helping out his future father-in-law with projects around their house, including rebuilding their back deck. Zack also helps out with electrical work because his fiancée’s father does not enjoy doing electrical work.

In addition to always being prepared for any job, the hallmark of a great systems engineer, Zack is a natural when it comes to documenting his work. Even more, he is an example of what you would expect from a great systems engineer –  solid electrical designs, accurate Bills of Materials (BOMs), and an excellent practitioner of EDC’s standards. Bob Pusateri, Director of Business Development for EDC, said that Zack has “an incredible attention to detail and a tremendous  level of high-quality standards.” In fact, Zack finished the Siemens Solution partner certification, or in his case, recertification exam. When asked how he did and what he scored, Zack humbly said “Pretty good. Ninety-nine and a half.”

Case Study – Upgrading an Obsolete Coating Line

PROJECT SUMMARY

A specialty media print company was having issues with one of their tape coating lines. The line had obsolete equipment as far as the eye could see. As problems with the line arose over the years, the issues were resolved with a quick fix rather than fixing the root cause. This triggered a loss in functionality of the line which ultimately led to automatic functions being controlled manually for the last decade.

As with most customers, there was a major concern with the amount of downtime that the upgrades would cause. The decision was made to split the system into two separate projects, to be able to break the downtime into more manageable chunks along with spreading the cost over a greater period of time.

CHALLENGE

The customer finally decided that they could no longer run the line the way it was. Long down times due to compounding problems were losing up to half a day in production. With minimal diagnostic information, inexperienced operators could spend hours trying to fix a simple issue.

The line was plagued with constant tension control problems as each of the 20-year-old drives had their own self-contained PID loop. The system was controlled by two separate controllers trying to work together to run the same line, which added to the unnecessary complexity of the line. Overcoming these issues became the target of the first project.

As this project was the first of two projects completed on the same line, EDC had to do more upfront planning. The upgrades completed in this project had to work with the equipment that was remaining on the line.

SOLUTION & BENEFITS

Since only some of the components were being replaced in this project, EDC could not build and test the full system offsite. The new equipment was prepped before installation so that it could be installed next to the existing components that were remaining. The prep work completed offsite ensured that the deadlines for the installation could be met on time.

EDC simplified the controls of the line by replacing the dual PLC controllers with a single Allen Bradley GuardLogix L81 PLC. This allowed for a single controller to run everything with integrated safety. EDC was then able to add in run permissive messages and safety alarms to ensure that operators had a clear understanding of what steps needed to be taken to get the line back up and running.

A full mechanical retrofit was completed for all of the motors. New AC Powerflex 525 and 755 drives replaced the existing DC drives. The tension control which was originally controlled in each drive individually, was centralized into the new PLC. With the updates in technology over the last 20 years, the amount of time to calculate the tension requirements in the PLC and transmit the speeds over ethernet to the vector drives was a fast and robust solution.

RESULTS

The amount of downtime of the system has been significantly reduced. The run permissive messages and safety alarms allow the operators, at all levels of experience, be able to diagnose the issue and recover the system at a much faster rate.

With the upgrades to the PLC and the tension control, the unwind tension is now an automatic process again for the first time in over a decade. This has also helped to reduce the overall runtime of the machine, as the operators do not have to manually step through the process.

The line now runs better than it has in a long time. EDC was able to use their extensive experience with these types of lines to understand what needs to be done and what resources need to be available in order to get production running again in a timely fashion.

Parsippany Sanitary Sewer Utility Gives a Customer’s Perspective on Preventive Maintenance Services Provided by EDC

In a recent customer interview conducted by an independent third party, Steve Vetrero, the operations supervisor at Parsippany, NJ’s 9 million-gallon-per-day (MGD) wastewater treatment plant discusses his plant’s operations and how EDC saves the municipality money and is a critical partner in keeping the facility running at peak performance.   

Background

The Parsippany Sanitary Sewer Utility operates and maintains a 16 MGD advanced wastewater treatment plant, which currently has an average daily flow of 9 MGD. The Sewer Utility also operates and maintains approximately 370 miles of sewers and 28 pump stations which make up the Collection System.

In 2012, an OEM completed an upgrade to the plant’s control system, removing the standard drives and adding 14 variable frequency drives (VFDs) and new motors.  The drives are critically important, running the facility’s pumps.  Prior to the upgrade, the facility was spending $1.5M annually on electric costs with the standard drives, which operate at a constant speed, continually consuming a large amount of electricity.  The decision to upgrade to VFDs, which vary their speed based on the changing requirements of the system, offered tremendous cost savings on utilities.  After the upgrade, the annual cost of electricity dropped to just $400,000, a savings of more than 70%.

“With this upgrade, we realized a tremendous savings for the taxpayers of our community,” said Vetrero.  “VFDs save in combination with the specialized motors.  The fact that our electric bill went down so much, proved it works.”

The Need for Preventive Maintenance

Vetrero, who has managed millions of dollars of equipment for the community for over 30 years, explained that the energy savings came with the tradeoff of moving from standard drives, which do not require much maintenance to VFDs, which are sensitive and need regular preventive maintenance (PM) by a qualified technician.  VFDs require proper cleaning, testing, and maintenance so it is important to use a partner for these services who specializes in maintenance of your specific VFD technology.

“While we were saving a lot on our electricity cost, the PM service on the new VFD drives was proving to be rather expensive and our accounts payable department was complaining about the rates we were paying,” said Vetrero. Having experience with EDC in the past, they made the decision to switch their PM services to EDC. “I like EDC for the dependability and price; about four years ago when we switched to EDC for PM services, we saved the taxpayers even more money.”

“EDC plays an important role at our facility. We rely on them for both emergency drive repairs and our annual VFD PM,” said Vetrero.  “EDC is very thorough with their drive PM, and an employee with expert training does the delicate drive cleaning work and specialized diagnostic tests.”

“EDC did an infrared study at our annual PM and you could see the three phases in the drive and three components allowing the electricity to flow through.  You couldn’t see this with the naked eye, but one of them was glowing, and we knew we had to fix it because it was going to fail soon.  With the infrared technology EDC utilized, they helped us prevent a critical downtime emergency situation which could interrupt services to our residents.”

Emergency Service

EDC’s 24-hour emergency repair service is an insurance policy customers can rely on.  “Like everything, the drives do break down from time to time,” said Vetrero.  “I just call up Jessica and someone comes right over to help us out.”

EDC services more than 40 brands of drives and has highly trained employees to meet clients’ needs. “VFDs are complicated, and EDC has a lot of smart people there with many different backgrounds so they can support all our drives with the ability to fix every problem we have run into,” said Vetrero.  “Other vendors we tried were fair, but they didn’t specialize; they could not fix all the different equipment and issues we have at our plant.  EDC can tackle them all.”

Summary

For the Parsippany Sanitary Sewer Utility, substantial cost savings were realized by upgrading older drives to VFDs and new motors.  With the upgrades came an additional responsibility to use a highly-skilled partner to maintain this sensitive equipment and avoid excess downtime. In addition to the savings on utilities, the sewer plant also realized added savings by switching to EDC for preventive maintenance (PM) services.

“EDC has always played an important role at our facility, and we currently rely on them for emergency drive repairs and VFD annual preventive maintenance (PM).  EDC is very thorough with their drive PM, and an employee with expert training does the delicate drive cleaning work and specialized diagnostic tests.  I like EDC for dependability and price; when we switched to EDC for PM services, we realized a substantial cost savings.  VFDs are complicated and EDC has a lot of smart people there with many different backgrounds so they can support all our drives with the ability to fix every problem we have run into.”

 – Operations Supervisor Steve Vetrero, Sanitary Sewer Utility, Parsippany, New Jersey

To learn more about EDC PM services and/or infrared study services, contact our service team today.

Featured in Processing Magazine, EDC Discusses Upgrading to Digital Controls

In a recent issue of Processing Magazine, Bob Pusateri wrote an article entitled “Is it Time to Abandon Your Analog Controls?

Even if legacy analog controls are still running your manufacturing process, upgrading to digital can be a game changer, says Bob Pusateri, Director of Business Development at Electronic Drives and Controls.

 

Why Should I Switch?

“Older analog controls do not offer the same flexibility as their digital counterparts, because there are only a few adjustments, there are only a few things in the process that can be optimized,” said Pusateri. As today’s quality demands are ever increasing, variations in operating conditions often can’t be addressed. An analog drive may no longer be the resolution you need to meet your goals.  If that is you, there are a number of benefits and opportunities you could have by switching to digital.

 

The Benefits of Digital

While analog controls’ feedback is primitive, upgrading to digital could bring you more flexibility, greater control of the process, reduced changeover time, reduced downtime, reduced expense with issues, and improved quality. Also analog controls are susceptible to environmental conditions because parts’ resistance changes with temperature and humidity, while digital are not. “The cost and relative complexity of upgrading analog drives to digital is far outweighed by the many advantages and potential cost savings of having a better-controlled process,” said Pustari.

 

Want to learn more?

In his signature relatable style, Bob thoroughly considers the pros and cons of analog vs. digital controls, including capabilities, time requirements, and cost, complete with pictures and diagrams.

Download the full article. 

 

Download

If you’re interested in establishing digital controls solutions into your business,  contact EDC here.

 

Bob Pusateri is a 30-year industrial controls veteran with positions in engineering, sales, management and now business development for manufacturers, controls distributors and systems integrators. He is a Mechanical Engineer by education (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and Electrical Engineer by vocation.

 

 

When the Water Breaks, You Better Have a Deep Bench

When the water breaks blog

Unexpected hiccups don’t only come from debugging and equipment delays.  A recent project hit a series of inopportune personal events at a critical moment, but installation finished smoothly (and on time!) due to careful planning and EDC’s deep bench.

EDC was performing a major controls overhaul on an early 1980’s Prandi Coating Line for ADM, an industry leader in the manufacturing and supply of high-quality pressure sensitive envelopes, packaging and shipping products. This upgrade included converting 1990s Indramat servos and AB SLC 500 PLCs to a Siemens S120 vector drive system and Siemens S7-1500 PLC with ET 200SP Remote I/O and Comfort Panel HMIs. Scores of analog controls, relays and other electrical components were also being replaced or eliminated, cleaning up a rat’s nest of wires and chaos.

In-depth mechanical design was required for a load cell roll addition and pneumatic brakes to be integrated into the two unwinds, replacing the older electro-magnetic brakes. Even more difficult was converting the OEM’s integrated rewind spindle DC motors and gear train to off-the-shelf AC vector motors and gearheads utilizing the existing cast housings. Since the turret’s slip rings could not carry all the signals needed for the new controls, wireless ethernet communications were used between the rewind drives, mounted on the turrets themselves, and a nearby remote I/O enclosure.

Veteran Project Engineer Joe Maloney took the helm early in 2021 with an expected August start-up. Explosive customer demand, supply chain issues and later, September’s Hurricane Ida, forced ADMs availability into the New Year. Two additional constraints “arose” – one with a Joe Maloney project start-up for a different customer slated for April 2022 in Virginia and another Joe Maloney joint venture – the impending birth of his first child in February! With that news, EDC pushed for ADM to begin the Prandi retrofit in early January. EDC added two assisting project engineers to ensure that the complex changeover would be completed and back in production in just ten days. 

Joe Maloney devised a detailed project plan for mechanical and electrical facets to keep the install team on track. A meeting with the customer was called right after New Year’s. Everyone from operators to production supervision participated in the review of the plan to ensure all technical and delivery goals would be met. “We started the job on Friday, January 14th,” said Project Manager, Bob Pusateri.  “By Monday morning, we were halfway into ripping out all the old equipment (way past the point of no return) when one of our engineers received the call that his parents, with whom he had spent the weekend, had tested positive for COVID. He immediately quarantined.  While we were arranging for another engineer to head to the site that afternoon, Joe Maloney’s wife called.  Her water broke, five weeks early.  In just a few hours, our lead engineer and a key back-up were out of commission!  EDC went to their bench for two more engineers. The first stepped seamlessly into place the same day, and the second joined him shortly after.”

After a week of family leave, Joe was able to step back into the leadership role and see the project through to its final days. Solid planning and a deep bench of quality project engineers helped EDC to ensure that ADM’s project goals were met, despite a different kind of, er, delivery issue! All three: mom, new baby Maloney, and the customer are doing great.

Find before and after photos below!

EDC’s Remote Monitoring Projects Streamline Operations and Avoid Costly Downtime

EDC Remote Monitoring

Recently, EDC has completed a number of diverse projects featuring remote monitoring systems.  From a golf course to a power plant to a traditional manufacturing facility, remote monitoring systems can streamline operations and help avoid costly downtime while providing a quick return on investment.

Remote Monitoring for Golf Course Watering Systems

The Wild Turkey Golf Course at ​​Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ, was facing a problem. If their automatic watering system pump went down in the middle of the night, their ground crew wouldn’t be able to see the alert until the morning. At that point, golfers are already on the greens and watering can’t be done as thoroughly and heavily as needed. In the golf industry, a course’s grass health and quality is one of the most prominent, defining factors of the golf course itself. An intricate watering and irrigation plan is essential to the course’s success.

Joe Luna, an Electrical Project Engineer at Electronic Drives and Controls, was tasked with designing and implementing a pump monitoring system for the golf course to record all the watering data. He implemented equipment failure alerts to notify employees so they can fix the issue more promptly and ensure the grass gets the water it needs before employees and customers arrive each morning. Joe maintained feedback from the programmable logic controller (PLC) and the variable frequency drives (VFDs) on the pump motors and used Banner Engineering’s wireless communications to implement a web-based dashboard complete with alarms to remotely monitor these irrigation systems. If the new system detects a pump failure, it instantaneously sends an automated text alert to the point of contact. The failed pump will now have enough time to be repaired before the morning hours, ensuring enough water to keep the course healthy and in good condition.

 

Remote Control & Monitoring for NY Power Plant 

A local power plant in Middletown, NY was experiencing communication outages to their offsite pump house.  An integral part of the plant’s operations, the pump house utilizes treated water from a local wastewater treatment facility as makeup water for the steam generator in order to make power. The power plant already had cellular modems in place, but they weren’t able to efficiently hold a sustained signal or recover well from the occasional cell tower outage. When the PLCs would lose communications with each other, the pumps would need to be started manually, delaying the critical supply of make-up water.

To solve the problem, EDC added two different cellular network modems to facilitate communication between the plant and the pump houses to turn on the pumps for the makeup water. The pump house can now remotely control operations and communicate with the remote PLCs via cellular network.  If the main cell network goes down, the system seamlessly switches to the backup network.

This was a unique remote monitoring and control solution because instead of setting up a dashboard with information, EDC engineers linked up an effective cellular solution, allowing the communication to withstand any kind of cellular issues that arise.

 

Improving Manufacturing Visibility with a Remote Monitoring System 

The SPC Division of the Brady Corporation, a global leader in safety, identification, and compliance solutions makes absorbent products for their industrial customers. The management team at Brady/SPC wanted better visibility into what was happening on the plant floor and to have the ability to pull historical information from their manufacturing information system over an extended period of time. Prior to this project, if a component wasn’t performing properly and operators didn’t happen to notice it, the line could go down for an extended amount of time. For example, a key sub-process is the supply of heated air to the extrusion die. A heating element failure or the supply air not at the proper temperature would lead to failure of the die, significant downtime and the loss of thousands of dollars.

EDC was contracted to implement a remote monitoring system which gathers all run data for more than 200 parameters, the most notable key performance indicators (KPIs) being line speed and extruder temperature and pressure.  For more accessible viewing of this data, Brady/SPC installed a large TV screen on the plant floor to view EDC-created dashboards. This information is also available on a web browser so management can monitor production from anywhere with an internet connection on computers, tablets, and phones assuring no productivity is lost. 

EDC’s remote monitoring system has been a huge success.  With the added historian function, plant personnel have the ability to look at past manufacturing data to increase efficiency and plan preventive maintenance.  EDC Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring gives operations better visibility and control of equipment which lowers cost and downtime.  To learn more about EDC and our remote monitoring services, contact us for your remote monitoring requirements.

 

EDC Supports Local Charities Through American Legion Golf Outing

Team at the American Legion Golf Outing
Bob Pusateri (EDC), Adam Kirshbaum (Turtle & Hughes), Jim Petto (Rockwell Automation), Ed Sefcik (EDC)

Electronic Drives and Controls continues to actively support local charities by sponsoring and participating in the American Legion Post 86’s 3rd Annual Golf Outing in Montague, NJ.

Electronic Drives and Controls was a proud sponsor of American Legion Post 86’s 3rd Annual Golf Outing at High Point Country Club on Thursday, June 9, 2022. EDC has been sponsoring this annual golf tournament since its inception in 2019.

Multiple representatives and partners of EDC’s team played in the golf outing, making a foursome of Bob Pusateri of EDC, Ed Sefcik of EDC, Adam Kirshbaum of Turtle & Hughes, and Jim Petto of Rockwell Automation (see above). Another EDC foursome included Ben Dillard and Terry Greely with their significant others, Jill and Will.

“EDC loves to provide sponsorship for this event. It helps the American Legion boost their ongoing effort to support the veteran community,” says Chuck Dillard, Vice President at EDC.

Ben Dillard (EDC) & guest Jill

Want to join EDC next year?

Stay tuned for all the details on next year’s event! This annual outing is open to the public and golfers can pre-register by calling the Legion Post at 973-383-2386 or by emailing Chuck Dillard. Proceeds support several local events. Hole sponsorships, catering packages, and banquet packages are also available.

 

Learn more about the American Legion here!

 

Electronic Drives and Controls Host Successful ABB Drive Expo

EDC hosted the ABB Drive Expo in late August 2022, which featured VFD technology, industry experts, local food and drink vendors, and a free CEU/PDH class highlighting the advanced ACQ pump drive.

As a system integrator and field service team specializing in over 40 drive brands, Electronic Drives & Controls (EDC) is always excited to have the opportunity to introduce our customers to the latest in drive technology to help their facilities achieve new levels of optimization. This exciting event took place August 24-25, 2022 and was a tremendous success. The ACQ580 pump drive class at the event was an extensive learning opportunity, eligible for continuing education units (CEU) / professional development hour (PDH) credits.

This expo featured the latest VFD technology in an air-conditioned mobile demo space while providing networking opportunities with industrial, pumping, and harmonic mitigation applications experts. The all-compatible ACQ580 drives for water and wastewater increase energy efficiency by simplifying your pumping processes and motor control with built-in pumping functionalities, including multi pump and level control, an energy saving calculator, soft pipe fill, dry run protection, quick ramps and pump cleaning. These drives are compact and wall-mounted to complement usability with a Hand Off Auto control panel and PC tool Drive composer.  

As a system integrator and field service team specializing in over 40 drive brands, Electronic Drives and Controls has alliances with world class hardware and software providers. 

Want to learn more about the event? Contact EDC and ask about the ABB Drive Expo for a conversation that could lead to the advancement of your water and wastewater technology and effectiveness. 

 

Electronic Drives and Controls Field Service Engineer Scott Sullivan Featured in Webcast

Congratulations are in order to Electronic Drives and Controls Field Service Engineer Scott Sullivan who joined CFE Media and Technology for a VFD Technology focused webcast on September 14, 2022. Find the full webcast here!

Sullivan has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and specializes in the application of variable speed drive (VFD) technology and on-site field service of AC drives. Since joining EDC in 2016, Sullivan has served on EDC’s field service support team performing repairs, preventive maintenance services, start-ups, training, and much more for AC & DC drives, PLCs and factory automation. 

This webcast was well received by over 260 participants and focused on helping to explain why markets for variable speed drives are growing so precipitously and how they contribute towards efforts for enhanced productivity and sustainability in a wide range of industries.

“Scott did an amazing job and the information presented was a tremendous resource for all. This was a team effort and the team behind Scott’s webcast also deserve major kudos. Peter put together an excellent presentation and the product built was highly regarded by CFE Media,” said Deborah DeLuca, Vice President of Electronic Drives and Controls.

“The audience was highly receptive, and their questions were sophisticated and in-depth showing the level of the audience EDC and CFE Media attracted.” Any unanswered questions and answers will be published as part of a promo of archived webcasts along with the transcript.

 

Webcast learning objectives: 

  • AC drives significantly reduce energy consumption 
  • Common applications for AC drives
  • Common methods of AC drive regulation

 

 

More info on the event is provided by CFE Media below:

Variable speed drives provide effective speed control of AC motors by manipulating voltage and frequency. Controlling the speed of a motor provides users with improved process control, reduced wear on machines, increased power factor and large energy savings.

The most significant energy savings can be achieved in applications with a variable torque load. Reducing a fan’s speed in a variable torque load application by 20% can achieve energy savings of 50%. Therefore, for most motion control applications, reducing motor speed is often the easiest way to get large energy savings.

AC drives significantly reduce energy consumption by varying the speed of the motor to precisely match the effort required for the application. To vary the speed of the motor dynamically, a closed-loop regulator that considers the measured output of a process is required. Common applications where this is used include pressure, level and temperature control. The most common method of regulation is the PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) control loop.

Want to hear Scott’s webcast that could transform your energy savings and efficiency? Listen here!

 

EDC Scott Sullivan webcast social (1)

Case Study – From Old to New: Modifying a Legacy Dual Textile Spray Line into an Efficient Machine with Doubled Throughput

Heytex, a brand of the German-based Heytex Bramsche GmbH, is a global developer and manufacturer of high-quality technical textiles. Their portfolio includes sophisticated and unique products fabricated and engineered using complex textile technology, such as signage, banners, boats, sales, barriers, and other technical textile products for a variety of customers. Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC), a recognized leader in the design, upgrade, and service support of drive and PLC Systems, recently helped Heytex significantly improve industrial textile coatings equipment for a military customer and double their overall production capabilities. 

Problem

Heytex had previously purchased a used paint line machine at auction that consists of two parallel production lines sharing the same painting booth and oven sections which could run concurrently or separately. However, one of the lines (Line 2) sat idle for approximately three years before Heytex sought help improving its operability to produce spray-painted industrial camouflage textiles for a military customer. Parts from Line 2 were scavenged to keep Line 1 running.

Originally, Heytex would receive an AutoCAD file from their military customer that specified the geometry of the desired pattern to be painted by the machine. Each line has six drives: 3 VFDs for web handling and 3 servo drives to traverse the paint heads. The process begins by feeding industrial fabric through a conveyor from an unpainted fabric roll. Next, three spray heads move across the fabric in a coordinated fashion applying green, brown and black paint resulting in a specified camouflage pattern. The machine then dries the fabric in a tunnel oven and rolls it into a finished painted textile roll.  

As purchased, each section of the machine used a personal computer with an obsolete Windows XP operating system and a soft Allen Bradley Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) for the unwinding and painting of the fabric. Two physical Omron PLCs handled downstream control, one for the oven and conveying systems and another on the rewind section. A proprietary software run on the XP operating system utilized algorithms to control the paint from the spray heads and help to convert the customer’s CAD files into control commands, a very cumbersome process requiring much manual intervention.

Another problem impeding the retrofit plan was a tremendous lack of documentation and labeling. This coupled with obsolete controls, proprietary software and a burdensome workflow with no known support prompted Heytex to task EDC with improving the machine with an integrated hardware and software design.  

Solution

EDC’s approach was to streamline the control architecture ensuring that the PLC, drives and HMI were from the same manufacturer and would all be on the same communications network. Three disparate control programs were consolidated into one PLC, eliminating the need for a machine-based computer, soft PLC and monitor. The Siemens S7-1500 PLC and S120 drive platforms coupled with a 12-inch Comfort Panel were an excellent fit for this application. 

Siemens’ S120 Sinamics Smart line module and common DC-bussed drives provide energy saving load sharing across the six drives and is able to regen excess AC voltage back to the incoming power line. Line drives were previously controlled in a start/stop mode and could only run at other speeds by manually changing the internal drive parameters. The S120 system provided full speed control capabilities as commanded by the PLC over a ProfiNet network.

The S7-1500F failsafe PLC simplified safety component wiring, especially given that three new cable-operated switches (safety rope pulls) were installed at the Unwind Exit, Paint Booth Entry and Rewind, improving the overall safe operation of the line. All main control components communicated with the PLC over a single ProfiNet control network including six VFD and servo drives, two remote I/O hubs and a new 7” HMI located at the Rewind section.

In addition to the cable-operated switches, other mechanical upgrades included a specially designed tension control system for the Unwind, adapters to couple new servo motors to existing spray head linear actuators, a line speed encoder at the oven exit and a linear position transducer for accumulator feedback. The EDC Field Installation Team installed and wired the new elements on Line 2 and ensured their proper functionality.

As previously mentioned, EDC consolidated all PLC logic into one CPU that closely communicates with the new HMI and S120 drive system. A user-friendly HMI screen and a recipe system were incorporated to improve the operator’s experience running the line. An offline program to convert the customer’s CAD files to data the PLC could use for proper control of the spray heads was a crucial part of the upgrade. EDC’s Project Engineer wrote an open-source Java script/HTML interface that could be modified by anyone with those computer language skills, eliminating the proprietary nature of the previous software incarnation.

Another key element of EDC’s retrofit is their documentation. A full set of wiring schematics was created that included reference for all components, wire numbers and a terminal plan. The customer was given a physical binder with hard copies of the drawings and digital copies of the control programs, the CAD conversion program and component manuals. A Tosibox remote access module was installed and connected to the machine’s control network. When connected to the internet, this device provides an ultra-secure VPN tunnel for remote monitoring and troubleshooting.

Impact

The improvements EDC made on Line 2 were substantial. Heytex went from a non-operational line whose parts were being cannibalized to keep an adjacent line running to a fully functional, efficient line with a state-of-the-art control system. Improvements included:

  • Streamlined workflow making it easier to go from the customer’s drawing to product runs, eliminating a full set-up step
  • Open source programs that can be modified and improved by any qualified service provider, eliminating proprietary software
  • An energy-efficient control architecture that is rugged, orderly and fully documented without reliance on ever-changing personal computer hardware
  • Improved control of the Oven conveyor, Tensioner and Rewind motors including better accuracy and synchronization through all speed ranges 
  • Improved Accumulator control that prevents finished product from touching the floor as was the case during Rewind roll changeover
  • User-friendly operator interface screens with more relevant operational feedback, alarms, messages and maintenance screens 
  • New capability to switch between patterns in the middle of a single roll and stop and resume a pattern if there is an Estop or alarm, potentially saving hundreds of yards of material per year
  • Remote monitoring and troubleshooting capability which was utilized to its full potential one month after start-up when Heytex needed to recalibrate Line 2 for new material. EDC was able to support them remotely and avoid a costly service trip from New Jersey to Virginia.
  • A retrofit platform with documentation, programs and drawings that can be utilized to upgrade Line 1, ensuring production viability for years to come

To sum up the benefits of the project, EDC’s VP of Engineering Chuck Dillard said, “If you look back, only Line 1 was operable. Now both lines are running, and Line 2 runs more efficiently with higher throughput than the machine’s original design.”

Coating and Laminating Website Page Delivers Educational Content for Manufacturers Across the Country

Electronic Drives and Controls recently published a new website page on everything you need to know on coating and laminating as a manufacturer. 

Whether your machine is facing an issue (or multiple), not running at full speed, producing lower quality work than expected, or maybe just needs an upgrade and you’re not sure where to start, this page was created with you in mind. This educational article is supported by multiple case studies featuring relevant EDC projects that have brought success to manufacturers across the country.

 

To view the full website page visit below:

 

 

If your coating and laminating line’s throughput is rapidly decreasing or the machine is experiencing more downtime, there are a few relatively small strategies you can employ to take a bite out of the larger issues. Or if need be, it might be time to consider a retrofit for a fraction of the cost and in less time than it would take to install a more expensive, completely new line. How can you know for sure?

It’s time for you to master unwinds, rewinds, flying splices, printing heads, laminators, accumulators, and more. Navigate to the page today to learn more about coating and laminating and advance your manufacturing process with EDC’s guidance. Additional topics covered are common pain points, resolutions, upgrades, and best practices for coating and laminating machines, including how to know when it’s time for a full retrofit. 

If you need further help with your coating and laminating line, reach out to EDC today.

Overcoming Supply Chain Issues in Automation Through Flexibility

Since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic, supply chain issues have been on everyone’s mind. It’s a universal problem that is not industry exclusive and has progressively gotten worse in 2022 as demand has soared.

The automation industry today seems to be at its wit’s end. Everyone needs parts, but parts aren’t available. Deadlines are getting pushed back. Lines are down. It’s getting harder and harder to put out these fires. 

Below are methods that Electronic Drives and Controls has employed to better tackle these supply chain issues and bring their clients relief.

Stay Early, Stay Ahead 

Evolution during a crisis is imperative to a business’ survival, so it will come as no surprise that many integrators have made certain changes to keep up with the ever-changing tides. EDC has always been creative in their problem solving, so it was an easy pivot for them to make a slight change in their project planning by sourcing parts as their first step, or as early in the process as possible.  

“On the front end of an upcoming project’s discussion, we tend to now look at availability of parts even before we start our engineering process. We used to engineer it, then find out that certain parts were not available, and then we would have to re-engineer it if we wanted to meet a particular delivery,” said Chuck Dillard, vice president of EDC. “Now, it’s a lot of coordination between our purchasing and engineering departments to pick the right parts and design around what’s available.”

Through front end work on a project, engineers can predict pitfalls and pivot where needed. Having an early plan and changing where needed is better than coming in later and improvising when challenges arise. This flexibility can be crucial during supply chain constraints.

Utilizing Third-Party Manufacturers

EDC has also turned to third-party manufacturers to help address challenges. Third-party manufacturers can be difficult to choose from and it takes extensive research, time, and experience to understand how to credibly source parts. When you’re on your own, there are quality and safety concerns to consider when ordering off of the web – that’s why EDC has invested the necessary time and effort to research and connect with the right sources. 

“For instance, if we want to get an Allen Bradley PLC, we go to Turtle & Hughes and we place an order with them. They order from the factory and then the factory says, ‘Oh, that’ll be four or five months,’ but we really need that PLC right away,” said Bob Pusateri, director of business development at EDC. “So, we purchase components from alternate sources.”

EDC keeps a well-researched list of possible sources in their back pocket to acquire parts as quickly as possible. They rely on their proven expertise to discern whether a part will be usable, even from somewhat-controversial online auction sites like eBay. They don’t make any sourcing decisions lightly, and they always employ a proper investigation before committing to a purchase. With the risk of faulty seals, or other safety measures at stake, working with an industry expert like EDC is crucial to ensuring the successful delivery of these hard-to-find items.

A Vendor-Neutral Strategy

As a system integrator and field service team specializing in over 40 drive brands, Electronic Drives and Controls maintains a vendor-neutral strategy, meaning they do not prescribe to only one OEM for all their projects. This has allowed the company to be more flexible and pull from an array of manufacturers. In turn, EDC is able to compare pricing and capabilities between vendors, allowing them to pass along the added value to their customers. 

Having strong alliances with world-class hardware and software providers around the nation, EDC has done the background work to ensure that their customers are getting the quality that they have come to expect. Through good relationships and a strong network, EDC has lowered lead times and sourced parts that would have otherwise been inaccessible.

The Benefits of Mixing and Matching

With an ample and extensive network of contacts, EDC has the added benefit of being able to pull parts from multiple resources when they’re ready, and as soon as possible. By utilizing a vendor-neutral approach, EDC is able to ‘mix and match’ parts for systems. By sourcing appropriate parts from alternative resources, EDC is able to better maintain project timeline expectations, allowing projects to be completed faster and with much less downtime.

In addition, through mixing and matching, the more cost-effective alternative can be purchased. Using one OEM for the HMI and another for the PLC offers the option to now choose the less expensive parts. This can also help cut down on the time needed to make a purchase, which means more time is going into actual engineering for the project.

What Does the Future Hold for the Supply Chain? 

Last summer, if you had asked a supplier when they expected the supply chain to start improving, they would have most likely estimated the summer of 2022. Yet, as most of us well know, that time has come and gone, yet supply challenges remain. 

Today, there is a mixed review, with some saying it’s getting better, and some of the opinion that it’s getting worse. This unpredictability can understandably be worrisome, but it is not cause for panic. 

When you’re stuck with downtime that is troublesome or you can’t get parts for the system that you rely on, EDC is proud to be your warranty. The supply chain is scraping the bottom of the barrel and the outlook is uncertain. Call on EDC, an experienced and knowledgeable integrator, to navigate this volatile landscape and make conscious decisions on your behalf. EDC has the resources to get your systems up and running.

Start a conversation with EDC here to source the parts you need today!

Resolutions to Common Wire and Cable Pain Points In Informative New Website Page

With industry-leading knowledge and 50 years of expertise, Electronic Drives and Controls authored a new website page to help you advance your wire and cable lines and deliver attainable solutions to current and future issues you may face.

As you may know, operating a wire or cable production line can be complex and daunting. As many systems and processes run simultaneously, a small malfunction can result in significant waste, rework, delays, or down time. With drawing, annealing, stranding, jacketing, spooling, and even packaging involved, EDC’s new educational guide to resolutions for common pain points in wire and cable production lines is a true game changer.

 

To view the full website page visit below:

 

Issues you may be facing include:

  • Drawing line runs too slow or will not hold speed regulation
  • Excessive wire breaks
  • Annealer voltage regulation is inconsistent
  • Excessive set-up time due to mechanical intervention required
  • Hot or cold spots in extruder barrels or unable to maintain proper temperature in barrels or dies
  • Improper colorant or compounding mixes/weighs
  • Unable to maintain proper wire tension throughout jacketing line
  • Unable to maintain proper ratio between extruders
  • Footage count is too long or too short in your rewind line
  • Finished product touches the floor or scuffs
  • Obsolete drives and/or PLCs
  • Difficult to train new operators on older equipment without a rich graphics display and dashboard. 
  • Analog controls should be replaced with digital to eliminate variations due to temperature, humidity or electrical noise
  • Shift-to-shift set-up inconsistencies
  • + many more!

 

This website page gives you multiple options of fixing your wire and cable pain points, depending on the nature of the problem, the time available to address them and, of course, your budget. There are many relatively small steps you can take to take a bite out of the larger issue. Or it might be time to retrofit the whole line, without needing to install a more expensive, completely new line for a fraction of the cost and in less time.

You deserve to feel confident in the future of your wire or cable production line and EDC is here to help. Reach out to EDC today and we’ll help you tackle your production line obstacles, no matter how small or large!

Continuing a 41 Year-Long Tradition: the Latest on the Notorious EDC Calendar!

Started back in 1981, every year Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) releases a new wall calendar. The first year they were printed, EDC gave out 150 copies. What started as a fun piece of marketing collateral to hand out like pens and hats quickly turned into a massive yearly production. The calendars have been incredibly popular year over year – printing copies had to be capped at 5,200 in 2019! 

“We could probably distribute about 20,000 calendars if we wanted to – they are very popular with our clients,” said Bud Dillard, President of Electronic Drives and Controls. “We have kept the calendar printing cost proportional to our revenue, so the program has grown along with the company.”

It’s no easy undertaking for the company to print and distribute so many calendars each year, but it seems like a no-brainer when they’re so trendy with clients. The calendars pop up on walls all around the area, even in places with no relation to EDC. 

The wall calendar set up is simple: see all 12 months of the year spread out before you. With just a glance at the wall, you can see your year planned out in front of you. It’s a convenient way to avoid missing important dates and deadlines.

The design features EDC’s impressive fleet of service vehicles that stand ready to help clients with a nationally recognized service team to perform repairs, preventative maintenance, and more. The design also clearly labels the weekends in blue and gray, making it easier to focus on the busy workdays. 

If you would like to be added to the list of client calendar recipients, fill out the form here. Don’t delay, the list fills up fast! 

Case Study – Modernizing a Cable Fabrication Line with Supportable Parts and Equipment for Better Operation, Data Collection, and Performance Features

EDC Wire and Cable CV Line Upgrade Case StudyThe oil and gas industry utilizes equipment and components that must perform and endure in harsh environments such as the ocean, underground, weather, and other adverse conditions.  It is crucial that all equipment or materials used in such operations meet the highest quality standards and specifications.  While many companies outsource the fabrication of large power cabling for these purposes, others fabricate internally for their own products and services for their customers. One such EDC customer in the oil and gas services industry manufactures many types of cable in-house.

Of the assortment of products their plant produces, the most rugged, highest performing is a power cable that includes a rubberized outer jacket, made utilizing a process called continuous vulcanization – CV for short. In general, vulcanization is an industrial process in which rubber is hardened. Wire and cable manufacturers run their rubber-jacketed cables through a long steam-pipe catenary (think suspension bridge main cables) which cures the cable along the 300-plus foot-long tube. For a CV Line to work properly, an orchestra of extruders, pullers, motors, drives, sensors, valves and pumps must all work perfectly in concert. 

While the cable manufacturer has been successfully producing CV cable for years, one of their three CV lines was experiencing excessive downtime and was scheduled for modernization.

 

PROBLEM

Apart from the expected aging and wear of production equipment, controls components such as drives, PLCs and other electronics suffer from the added issue of obsolescence.  Whether functioning or not, an obsolete component such as an extruder AC variable frequency drive (VFD) puts continuous production in jeopardy.

The cable manufacturer had several obsolete components across a variety of automation manufacturers that made downtime even more harrowing. Years of purchasing refurbished or “gently used” components from eBay or surplus distributors had run its course.  When a component was not able to be sourced, a replacement solution needed to be engineered to keep the line running.

In addition to overcoming the obsolescence issue, they wanted to take advantage of the many technological advances in industrial controls since the CV line’s construction, determined to upgrade to a world class, state-of-the-art production line.

 

SOLUTION

The cable manufacturer secured EDC’s turnkey integration services to give the line a full controls makeover.  The upgrade featured a failsafe Rockwell GuardLogix PLC and a network of ABB ACS880 vector drives, HMIs, remote I/O and an industrial-hardened PC for data collection. The state-of-the-art controls network included:

EDC - GuardLogix PLC & ABB VFDs

    • Rockwell GuardLogix 1756-L82ES Failsafe PLC CPU and I/O
    • (5) Rockwell PanelView Plus 7 Performance HMIs, 7”-15”
    • (11) ABB ACS880 VFDs, 3-200 hp
    • (8) Rockwell 1734 series standard and failsafe remote I/O racks
    • Lanner Fanless i7 PC with Rockwell Factory Talk SETM 
    • Tosibox Remote Access Module for remote monitoring and troubleshooting (EDC is located in New Jersey and the customer in Oklahoma!)
    • Graceport with 115VAC convenience outlet and ethernet port for safe access to the machine network

 

Mechanical retrofits included swapping out Reeves drives with fixed gearboxes and VFD-controlled vector motors, sized for optimal speed range and torque. Caterpillar capstan motors and gearboxes were upsized to provide additional pulling capacity so larger cables could be run at higher line speeds.

EDC - Capstan Retrofit Before & After

EDC designed, manufactured, programmed, installed and commissioned the system. Operator training was provided, and the line turned over to the customer following execution and approval of a written Site Acceptance Test. A full documentation package included all schematics, drawings, programs and parts manuals.

IMPACT

During the Site Acceptance Test, their process engineers and maintenance personnel could immediately see an improvement on the line’s performance. It was much easier to adjust important process parameters, tighter tolerances were held throughout the product runs and higher quality cables were being produced. Operators with limited training could be qualified in a few hours to run the line, making it easier to find and retain them. New drives and PLC components meant no more late-night sourcing of obsolete components or outdated control methods. Because these key components were now networked together, vital information could be passed from the VFDs to the PLC and back to the operators at the user-friendly HMIs and on to the facility’s CimplicityTM plant historian.  From their HMI screens, operators could now monitor line speed, steam pressure, and the speed of each drive.

EDC - Main CV Line HMI

Additional improvements at the HMIs included recipe functionality, contextual alarms and messages and streamlined set-up capabilities. One such streamline was the elimination of individual temperature controllers for the extruder barrel heater zones. The entire temperature control was moved into the PLC and the temperature setpoints featured as part of the recipes. Setting up one cable lot number to the next was nearly the touch of a button whether it was initiated on 1st, 2nd or 3rd shift – resolution of common pain point of shift-to-shift set-up (and quality) differences.

 

Other benefits included:

  • Improved tension control between the Capstans
  • Continuous data collection – allowing the customer to examine the data, see trends over time and adjust as necessary.  Problems such as an out-of-range temperature or an oversized diameter can be pinpointed more quickly and accurately. 
  • Faster line speed – Conversion of communication protocols from hardwired to Ethernet-based results in a faster reaction to changes in tension, steam pressure, water level and speed ratios.
  • More capability to fine-tune production – digital controls are more amenable to fine tuning and adjustments and not subject to drift.
  • Overall improved safety – The failsafe PLC and VFDs with safe torque off capability ensure that the line can react to an E-stop quickly and reliably. Failsafe I/O meant elimination of long E-stop strings with the added benefit of knowing where and when an E-stop was triggered. Anti-tie-down features were added where two-hand controls were utilized.
  • Full set of schematics with wire numbers and component references – previous control iterations did not include updated drawing or complete information. The customer’s maintenance department now has a full documentation package to help troubleshoot this line.
  • Significantly reduced downtime – old, obsolete controls almost always lead to downtime and headaches. Upgrading to a world-class digital control system with late-model components that are readily available is a game-changer for any production facility. 

 

“In addition to the efficiency gains, the modernization helped the client understand their process better,” says EDC Project Engineer Zach Fischer, who was the technical lead of this modernization project. “For example, if they see the tension increasing, to maintain the cable’s position in the tube they can take corrective action. The customer now has a wealth of information available to them via the much-improved operator interface.”

While EDC is happy with the success of the project and the many benefits attained by their customer, even more rewording are the words from a key member of the customer’s maintenance team,” I am impressed at how EDC resolved the tension issue with our capstans. They stood by their word and made it happen. I’d also like to add that when I need them it is so great to be able to get a person on the phone. I call in to their office, a live person answers their line, and I am able to speak to an engineer who assures me that they are working on my situation. With the Tosibox remote access module EDC can ‘see’ my CV Line from their office 1,000 miles away and help pinpoint and fix any issues. This gives me even more comfort.” 

Electronic Drives & Controls, Inc. to Showcase Innovative Solutions for the Wire and Cable Industry at 2023 Interwire Trade Exposition

EDC Interwire event press release

EDC will exhibit at booth #1259 May 9-11 during the 2023 Interwire Trade Exposition, organized by The Wire Association International (WAI), to connect with wire and cable professionals and to share leading-edge solutions to industry pain points. 

Parsippany, NJ – April 18, 2023 – Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC), a leading control system integrator and field service company for industrial automation and drive technology, today announced their attendance at the upcoming Interwire Trade Exposition at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. EDC will be available May 9 and 10 from 10 am to 5 pm and May 11 from 10 am to 3 pm in exhibitor booth #1259 to discuss wire and cable manufacturing solutions with attendees and industry professionals.

“We are thrilled to be exhibiting at Interwire and sharing our expertise in AC & DC drives, PLCs and factory automation for the wire and cable industry with attendees,” said Vice President Chuck Dillard. “With over 50 years of experience in integrating new control systems and upgrading older equipment, we are able to tackle projects of any complexity. We have a top-notch engineering team to design, build and start-up projects, and a dedicated service support team to ensure our solutions continue to operate smoothly for years to come. Our track record of success in the wire and cable industry speaks for itself, and we look forward to showcasing our capabilities at the expo.”

With a deep understanding of wire and cable industry pain points, EDC engineers will be on hand to share the company’s industry experience and an understanding of the many obstacles wire and cable manufacturers face.  EDC has completed projects ranging from small upgrades to full retrofits, from dealing with obsolete drives or PLCs to excessive wire breaks and increased downtime, all with a tailored approach that prioritizes cost and timing.

The Interwire Trade Exposition provides a global resource for attendees to stay up-to-date with the recent developments and innovations in the industry, such as the growing importance of Industry 4.0, including the integration of IoT, Smart Manufacturing, and Artificial Intelligence in manufacturing processes. The conference promises to be an exciting opportunity for wire and cable manufacturing professionals to share knowledge and expertise, network with colleagues, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the industry. 

During the two-day exposition, industry experts and professionals will converge to participate in panel discussions on key issues affecting the wire and cable workforce, copper supply and demand, and the outlook for the steel market. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore industry best practices, including wire break solutions, production developments, and approaches to case-by-case difficulties. 

To learn more and register for the event, visit https://www.interwire23.com/

 

About Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc.

Founded in 1968, Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) is a CSIA Certified control system integrator with deep domain expertise in the wire and cable industry. The company’s large field service team specializes in AC and DC drives, PLCs and factory automation. Family owned and operated for more than 50 years, EDC’s team of engineers and technicians has a vast experience integrating new control systems and breathing life into older equipment. EDC has the engineering capability to design, build, start-up and service projects from the sophisticated to the simple and the service support team on call 24/7/365 to keep it all running at peak efficiency from day one and for years to come. In addition to the company’s certification as a Siemens Solution Partner and a Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator, EDC is a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands.  For more information, visit the company’s website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Amid Supply Chain Shortages, Facility Managers Leverage Preventive Maintenance Services to Avoid HVAC Downtime

EDC preventive services blog

If you are a building owner or facility maintenance engineer feeling the pains of the ongoing supply chain shortages, the cost and delays of replacing Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) replacement parts, or the inability to control motor speed to keep your building’s HVAC system running at peak efficiency, EDC’s preventive maintenance services can help.

Due to the current supply chain challenges across the country, obtaining replacement new or refurbished VFDs and parts for your HVAC system can be a daunting task. This makes maintenance all the more important, particularly in New York, where buildings are tasked with reducing their carbon footprint every year. Failure of a VFD drive could result in the inability to control motor speed, which would lead to the motor running at full speed, a significant factor in not meeting strict energy conservation goals as the ones set forth for New York where energy usage laws are some of the strictest in the nation. Even spare parts need maintenance, which is often overlooked despite its importance.

Having a trusted partner that you can rely on to keep your facility’s HVAC running efficiently in the face of supply chain challenges has never been more important. EDC has been a trusted partner to many of New York City and the tri-states premier commercial buildings for decades. Our preventive maintenance (PM) clients know they can count on us to provide excellent PM services, and perhaps more importantly, to respond rapidly when there is an emergency. We pride ourselves on having the fastest on-site response in the industry – on-site service is available 24/7/365. 

In a client interview conducted by an independent third party, Chief Engineer of a major Commercial Property in NY spoke about the challenges of managing a New York City high-rise commercial office building and how working with EDC has given him peace of mind. During the interview, he described 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.” 

With a strong preventive maintenance service program, Electronic Drives and Controls customizes each program to suit the client’s needs, schedule, and budget. Our commitment to client satisfaction is reflected in every aspect of our work, from the thorough survey of your building’s equipment to the detailed proposal outlining our recommended maintenance plan and estimated costs.

Many commercial buildings have older drives from multiple different manufacturers on the property. Our highly trained 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. This allows our engineers to accurately identify areas of concern before they turn into more costly, complicated issues – regardless of the VFD brand, age, model, etc.

At EDC, we emphasize the importance of being proactive and ensuring the reliability of your equipment through regular maintenance. That’s why we are committed to providing top-notch preventive maintenance services to our clients. We use state-of-the-art technologies to monitor equipment performance and detect potential issues before they escalate into major problems. 

EDC provides customized maintenance plans that suit your unique needs, schedules, and budgets. Check out our recent blogs featuring our innovative maintenance services.

Do you need a trusted partner you can count on? If so, reach out to EDC today to not only ensure the reliability and longevity of your equipment, but to achieve peak energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint as well.

Revolutionizing Automation: Insights from Bob Pusateri on the Changing Role of Control System Integrators

Electronic Drives and Controls is excited to announce that Bob Pusateri, Director of Business Development at EDC, recently made a notable appearance on a Plant Services podcast titled “The changing role of control system integrators in the automation industry.” In this insightful discussion, Bob Pusateri, along with two other seasoned professionals and host Tom Wilk, Plant Services Editor in Chief, shared their perspectives on the future direction of the automation industry and the evolving role of control system integrators.

During the podcast, Bob highlighted the work undertaken by Electronic Drives and Controls in the field of production line retrofits and “breathing new life into older systems.” EDC specializes in retrofitting lines in industries such as metals, wire and cable, and coating and laminating. With expertise in converting DC drives to AC, updating older generations of AC drives, and offering PLC and drive retrofits across various industries, Electronic Drives and Controls has become a trusted partner for businesses seeking to optimize their automation systems.

One of the key insights shared by Bob revolved around the demand for automation arising from the changing expectations of the workforce. He mentioned how repetitive tasks can now be efficiently replaced by machines, thereby enabling employees to focus on higher-skilled jobs. This shift not only enhances worker satisfaction but also boosts productivity. Bob’s real-world examples provided valuable context to the transformative potential of automation. Looking ahead, Bob also mentioned that Electronic Drives and Controls anticipates an increase in opportunities in the field of OEM-type work, collaborating with original equipment manufacturers to achieve more with fewer resources.

To listen to the full podcast and gain deeper insights into the changing role of control system integrators in the automation industry, we invite you to follow this link: Podcast: The changing role of control system integrators in the automation industry.

Dave Radford, Longtime EDC Employee Retires

When Dave Radford started his career as a Drive Service Engineer in 1993, many of EDC’s current employees were not yet even born. Variable frequency drive (VFD) technology was just starting to take a foothold in the manufacturing sector and many PLCs that were released then have long been obsolete. EDC was a smaller entity with just six servicemen and even fewer project engineers (now almost twenty in total). Drives were just starting to be utilized in energy-saving HVAC applications and soon thereafter VFDs expanded their use of software and multi-layer circuit boards. So goes Dave’s career that spanned three decades and came to a close just last week.

Growing up in Elizabeth, NJ, Dave was an accomplished hockey player and chose to attend Lehigh University so he could play his chosen sport and study chemical engineering. He worked at his uncle’s bar and as a laborer at a now defunct roller bearing plant in Clark, NJ. Looking for some direction in life he joined the Army at twenty seven and was eventually sent to Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA to a unit that repaired communications avionics for helicopters. While Dave enjoyed the hands-on electronics work, he was “not thrilled” taking a couple of flights in the Army’s infamous “Huey” Bell UH-1 helicopters.

After several promotions, receiving the “Soldier of the Quarter” award and a 3-year tour of Panama and a stop in Fort Drum, NC he performed repairs on biomedical equipment for Army hospitals in facilities in Brooklyn, NY and Aurora, CO, returning home in May of 1993. Not resting long, he answered an ad placed by a long-tenured EDC recruiter who recently placed a Project Engineer just this year!

With a few strong years of repairing electronics for the Army, Dave was a perfect fit to troubleshoot, repair and install industrial drives for EDC. He tackled everything from plastic bag manufacturers to steel slitters to cardboard plants, older eddy current and DC drives, VFDs and later, EDC’s burgeoning new field of HVAC fan and pump drives.

Of the many stories Dave could tell of his troubleshooting travels, one in particular stands out from a steel plant in Gary, IN. After struggling all week to get their line restarted, they practically had a parade for Dave when he arrived on a Friday to dig them out of their hole as the Siemens Factory Service Rep. Despite the added pressure of just seeing it for the first time, Dave had the line running in less than a few hours. A parade would have been well-deserved!

EDC Dave Radford Retirement blog
Dave Radford, left, accepting a 30-years’ Appreciation Plaque from EDC president, Bud Dillard, signed by all EDC Employees

Dave’s skill, intellect and professionalism will leave an enduring legacy. Many customers and EDC coworkers have benefited from his presence on an everyday basis. A very modest person, Dave would not be one to brag about, or even mention, his many success stories. It is estimated that he made well over 4,000 service calls during his 30-year tenure, repairing, troubleshooting or installing about 3,000 drives.  He was, however, glad to be a part of broadening the scope of jobs EDC tackles, especially helping them to expand into PLC programming and troubleshooting. As much as he enjoyed this very fulfilling work, he looks forward to moving to South Carolina and getting in as much golf, boating and, of course, hockey as he can. However, says EDC president, Bud Dillard, “we are pleased to hear that Dave has accepted our offer to work remotely as a Quality Control and Training specialist on a part-time basis.”

 

Elevating Safety and Efficiency: Success in Machine Control Modernization

Foam Line

EDC recently modernized a foam production line for a client that specializes in the development and production of advanced wound care materials, enhancing safety features without extensive control system changes. Key safety components, including a door access interlock, a cable operated switch and emergency stop buttons, were integrated with a new safety controller. The project also included a provision for comprehensive schematics, previously incomplete and written in Chinese. EDC’s efforts ensured compliance, improved efficiency, and boosted the client’s global competitiveness.

Whether your machinery is aging or from abroad, placing a priority on safety can protect your workforce and offer a clear path for future enhancements. A recent project involving a client’s imported wound care foam production line, shipped from Asia to the U.S., highlights how a machine’s safe operation can be improved without major control system overhauls. EDC’s swift initiative, with only one week of on-site implementation, added crucial safety measures while ensuring continual efficiency to the production line. Not only did the project enhance safety, but it also provided comprehensive schematics, facilitating future improvements. 

 

Solving Safety Challenges

Upon the equipment’s arrival from overseas, it became evident to the client that the safety standards of the machinery for the foam production line did not meet U.S. machinery safety requirements. A key element to the upgrade was the addition of a safety controller, ensuring that all safety components were properly coordinated and monitored across various sections of the line. The controller makes certain that a malfunction of any of the safety devices prevents the foam line from operating until the issue is resolved or the fault cleared. The controller analyzes real-time status of the safety devices and initiates emergency shutdowns when necessary.

In conjunction with implementation of the safety controller, additional failsafe components were installed where none were present. Previously a padlock was used on a door to an access point near a critical area of the machine’s production process. When the padlock was removed to access the area, the machine could potentially be run with the doors wide open.

New HMI with Safety Monitor Screen

To solve this, EDC introduced a safety interlock system from Fortress Safety that features a solenoid interlock. This device prevents a door from opening without first engaging a stop button or a supervisor’s override button, requiring deliberate action be taken to access the area. The safety controller ensured that once the door was opened, the machine could not be operated. 

Next, a cable-operated switch, which functions as an emergency stop, was installed at the Rewind end of the line. Operators could also take advantage of the device’s E-stop button, located at knee-level, for additional safety control. 

Finally, all existing E-stop buttons were replaced with late model equivalents with up-to-date safety ratings. A dual channel E-stop string tied to the safety controller ensured the utmost in failsafe reliability.  Status of all safety components was displayed on a newly installed HMI ensuring operators are informed and have multiple ways to take immediate action in case of an emergency. 

 

Empowering Safety and Efficiency

The project relied on advanced technological components provided by distributor Shingle & Gibb, including: 

Banner XS26-2 Safety Controller: The heart of the safety integration, this controller monitors all connected components and ensures safe operation of the line.

Siemens PLC (S7-1200): A programmable logic controller (PLC) that works in tandem with the safety controller, communicating status information to be displayed on the HMI. 

Siemens SIMATIC Comfort Panel HMI: The HMI serves as the interactive hub where operators can monitor and control the machine. It displays real-time warnings and alarms, further bolstering safety.

Siemens Safety E-stop Buttons: Mushroom head, twist E-stops with the latest EN ISO 13850 safety certification.

Banner RP-LS42F Series Cable Operated Switch: Commonly referred to as a “rope pull,” this device provides an E-stop function over a wide area of the machine that can be actuated by a hand, knee or foot.

Fortress Safety Interlock: This switch is critical in safeguarding operators and machinery by preventing unauthorized access during operation.

Cable Operated Safety Switch at Rewind

Timeline and Deliverables

The entire project took a few weeks over the course of approximately three months to complete, with one crucial week of on-site installation work. During this on-site phase, the team installed and wired all the safety components, tested the programs and conducted extensive testing to ensure proper functionality.

Also included as a project deliverable was a full set of schematic drawings for all new components and the line’s existing devices that did not change. EDC’s provision of machine schematics built upon the client’s current documentation and improved the understanding for the control system, providing a valuable tool for not only troubleshooting and routine maintenance but also for making future modifications to the control system. Offering the client the option to receive detailed drawings and schematics allowed them to gain a clear image of the equipment’s connectivity, enhancing safety, reducing downtime, and creating opportunities for additional projects. 

 

Beyond Compliance

By modernizing an imported machine with a series of well-thought-out safety controls, EDC ensured that the client’s equipment met local and national compliance requirements without a major control system overhaul. Operational efficiency was improved by employing a Banner Safety Controller, Siemens PLC and an intuitive HMI that provided operators with real-time information about the machine’s status. By investing in modernization and implementing safety controls, the client was able to mitigate risks, protect their workforce, and meet the highest safety standards – all while maintaining their production efficiency and competitiveness in the global market. 

Safety requirements apply to all types of production equipment. Contact us to discuss your machine modernization or safety compliance project.

Electronic Drives and Controls Earns Prestigious CSIA Certification, Exemplifying Excellence in Control System Integration

Electronic Drives and Controls successfully renews its CSIA benchmark certification, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the highest level of technical and business performance standards in delivering innovative control system integration solutions for industrial automation and drive technology.

Parsippany, NJ – December 5, 2023 – Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC), a leading control system integrator and field service company for industrial automation and drive technology, today announced the company has achieved recertification by the Control System Integrator Association (CSIA), meeting the highest industry standard for successful management of a control system integration business.

“Maintaining our CSIA certification helps promote the documenting of operating procedures that ultimately removes many obstacles to growth,” says Chuck Dillard, Vice President of Electronic Drives & Controls. “It helps to make sure the business is set up for longevity. Customers want to know you will be there for the long haul and the CSIA best practices committee does a great job providing a road map to that end.” 

CSIA, a global trade association, is dedicated to advancing the field of control system integration by focusing on the overall management of a system integration business. To earn CSIA certification, companies must showcase a dedicated commitment to upholding the highest standards of quality, performance, and reliability. This entails adherence to the CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks across ten critical areas, spanning both technical and operational realms. 

CSIA Certification offers clients the assurance that the control system integrator is an established organization committed to cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships. CSIA Certified companies undergo a recertification audit every three years. This process promotes adherence to current business practices and ongoing business improvement. It is imperative for companies to complete the audit before the expiration date to maintain their certified status.

“Selecting a CSIA Certified system integrator represents a strategic decision to work with a vetted professionally managed control system integration company,” says Jose Rivera, CEO of CSIA. “The certification process requires a substantial investment to meet the Best Practice’s stringent performance criteria, demonstrating the company’s commitment to excellence. By choosing a SI that has embraced the CSIA’s Best Practices and successfully achieved Certification, you’re choosing a partner dedicated to implementing industry-leading standards in your facility.”

To achieve or renew CSIA certification, a thorough examination is conducted by a third-party auditor, with a primary objective to validate the comprehensive implementation of CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks across ten critical areas. These encompass general management, human resources management, business development and sales management, financial management, project management, system development life cycle, quality management, technical management, and various other ancillary activities.

 

About Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc.

Founded in 1968, Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) is a CSIA Certified control system integrator with deep domain expertise in the wire & cable and coating & laminating industries. The company’s large field service team specializes in AC and DC drives, PLCs and factory automation. Family owned and operated for more than 50 years, EDC’s team of engineers and technicians has a vast experience integrating new control systems and breathing life into older equipment. EDC has the engineering capability to design, build, start-up and service projects from the sophisticated to the simple and the service support team on call 24/7/365 to keep it all running at peak efficiency from day one and for years to come. In addition to the company’s certification as a Siemens Solution Partner and a Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator, EDC is a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands.  For more information, visit the company’s website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

EDC Builds Customized Siemens 1250 HP Drive Solution, Shaving 10 Months off Delivery Time

With the closing of a Siemens factory in Pennsylvania that previously built custom large 480 VAC, 200+ horsepower drives, this article showcases EDC’s capability to fill the gap for U.S. manufacturers. Collaborating with Siemens distributor Shingle & Gibb, EDC provided a custom-designed large-scale Siemens drive solution to a manufacturer with delivery in just eight months versus the 18-month delivery turnaround from the OEM’s Germany facility.

Background

A major material pelletizing company specializing in producing rubberized compounds used in various applications, including jacking lines for the wire and cable industry, needed to replace outdated and unsupported legacy drive technology. The company wanted to replace an obsolete Emerson/Control Techniques model SP9435, 460 VAC, 1164A / 1000 HP drive powering a vital pelletizing extruder with an oversized Siemens drive for future scalability to a larger motor. 

This drive would previously have been built to the customer’s specifications by Siemens in their large drive facility in Pennsylvania. However, with the closing of the PA facility, orders fulfilled at the back-up Siemens, Germany site came with an 18-month lead-time. The company sought an alternative solution provider. 

As if an 18-month lead time wasn’t problematic enough, the customer needed to expend the budgeted funds in calendar-year 2023. Collaborating with their local Siemens distributor, Shingle & Gibb, EDC was recommended as an alternate provider to meet the customer’s needs and desired timeline. EDC’s team of engineers worked with Shingle & Gibb to gather data, coordinate site visits and finalize a design. EDC is manufacturing the customized solution for the new Siemens 480 VAC S120 Series rated for 1596A / 1250 HP with delivery in just 8 months.

Project Highlights

Existing Legacy Drive

Emerson/Control Techniques model SP9435, 460 VAC, 1164A / 1000 HP

EDC-Integrated New Drive

Siemens 480 VAC S120 Series rated for 1596A / 1250 HP

* Drive is oversized to accommodate future option of upsizing to larger motor
* Custom-designed to fit in existing floor space which is surrounded by guardrails to protect from forklift traffic
* Drive configuration features parallel motor module design with jacketed busbar conductors
* EDC accommodated a change order for customer-preferred external blower cooling with mechanical mounts for blowers to be designed and supplied by EDC
* Start-up and support by EDC
* EDC’s manufacturing turn-around was eight months vs. 18 months from OEM

Efficiency Beyond Standard

The end result is a reliable, high-capacity drive system adaptable to the customer’s evolving production needs. Once the drive is shipped to the customer, their electricians will handle installation, including substantial wiring work. The EDC project team will return to commission the system, ensuring all components work seamlessly together.

EDC is committed to delivering innovative solutions that optimize industrial processes, whether the needs of the production line dictate one drive or a number of drives coordinated with modern digital communications. EDC adheres to rigorous industry standards, which includes designing and building to UL 508A specifications. If you’re looking to enhance your operational efficiency through modernization or system upgrades, EDC can assist you. Contact us today to explore how we can elevate your industrial operations.

EDC Engineers to Share Coating and Laminating Expertise at 2024 ICEC Converting Show in Orlando

EDC will exhibit at booth #617 during the 2024 ICEC Converting Show, January 9-11, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, where they will engage with industry professionals and showcase innovative solutions for the converting manufacturing sector.

Parsippany, NJ – January 3, 2023 – Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC), a leading control system integrator and field service company for industrial automation and drive technology, today announced their attendance at the upcoming ICEC Converting Show 2024 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL January 9-11, 2024. EDC will be available at booth #617 to discuss automation related to coating and laminating manufacturing solutions with attendees and industry professionals.

“We’re delighted to have a booth at the ICEC Converting Show,” says Chuck Dillard, VP and Co-owner of EDC. “We specialize in designing and constructing engineered drive and control systems, seamlessly transitioning from DC to AC drives, offering expert PLC and HMI programming, and providing turnkey solutions for a wide array of applications. With our engineering team and dedicated service support, we’re excited to demonstrate how EDC’s solutions excel.”

With an extensive understanding of the challenges in the coating and laminating sector, EDC’s VP Chuck Dillard and Director of Business Development Bob Pusateri will be available to share their industry knowledge and insights into the obstacles faced by manufacturers in industries such as paper, film, foil, and nonwovens. EDC has a proven track record, encompassing projects that span from minor enhancements to line upgrades and comprehensive overhauls. The system integrator offers a customized approach that places a premium on cost-effectiveness and timeliness when addressing issues related to outdated equipment or tackling persistent problems like rewinds and tension control.

This ICEC Converting Show serves as a central hub for the global converting industry, offering a platform to explore innovations, connect with experts, and stay ahead in the field. Attendees can participate in fundamental courses, technical sessions, one-on-one consultations with experts, and forward-thinking presentations on industry trends. 

To learn more or register for the ICEC Convention, visit https://www.convertingshow.com/en-us.html

 

About Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc.

Founded in 1968, Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) is a CSIA Certified control system integrator with deep domain expertise in the coating and laminating, and converting industries. The company’s large field service team specializes in AC and DC drives, PLCs and factory automation. Family owned and operated for more than 50 years, EDC’s team of engineers and technicians has a vast experience integrating new control systems and breathing life into older equipment. EDC has the engineering capability to design, build, start-up and service projects from the sophisticated to the simple and the service support team on call 24/7/365 to keep it all running at peak efficiency from day one and for years to come. In addition to the company’s certification as a Siemens Solution Partner and a Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator, EDC is a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands.  For more information, visit the company’s website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

EDC: A Growing Force in System Integration

Explore how Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) secures its position among System Integrator Giants through unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction, innovation, and sustained excellence in system integration.

The realm of system integration is a competitive arena, demanding excellence, dedication, and a steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction. Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) continues to make significant strides in this space. This year marks another achievement for EDC as they secure a place once again on the prestigious 2023 System Integrator Giants list presented by CFE Media and Technology, showcasing their consistent excellence in the field.

Securing the 64th position on this list is a testament to EDC’s continued success. EDC has demonstrated a consistent growth rate averaging 10% annually. Their expertise in both coating and laminating, and wire and cable systems has been instrumental in their sustained growth over the years.

Understanding EDC’s Success

When reflecting on their inclusion on the list of SI Giants, EDC leadership expressed great excitement, attributing a big part of their success to an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. Their dedication goes beyond project completion—it’s about fostering enduring relationships built on trust and reliability. Chuck Dillard, when interviewed for this piece, was actually at a client’s factory replacing some equipment that EDC installed way back in 1995, perfectly encapsulating EDC’s ethos of being a trusted, long-term partner to their clients. Customer satisfaction is their cornerstone and it’s what drives repeat business and nurtures long-term partnerships. This approach has helped them build trust, secure repeat business, and stand out among the best in the System Integrator Giants list.

Their affiliation with the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) has also played a pivotal role in EDC’s success, acting as a catalyst towards a higher level of operations. Chuck highlighted this transition, noting that while membership provided direction, and “Certification holds us accountable, triggering a cultural shift in our company.” He emphasized that, “Once certified, we began implementing and adhering to the documented standards.” 

The move from relying on ‘tribal knowledge’ to embracing documented standards expedited growth and enhanced operational efficiency at EDC. “CSIA’s certification not only standardized our processes but also instilled a culture of accountability and excellence within EDC,” said Chuck. This shift laid the foundation for sustained growth and solidified EDC’s position among the System Integrator Giants.

Overcoming Challenges and Innovating

While making the list was a great success for 2023, the year wasn’t without its challenges, the most notable of which was the parts shortage amid supply chain disruptions. However, in a collaborative effort between EDC’s purchasing and engineering departments adeptly navigated these hurdles, creating workarounds and ensuring seamless business operations even amid the scarcity. Their ability to grow during this period was commendable and spoke volumes about their resilience.

Insights from EDC

Being recognized among the System Integrator Giants serves as more than just a milestone; it’s a morale booster for the entire EDC team. Chuck highlighted its impact, stating, “It reminds us that we are part of something bigger. We contribute to something really important in the world.”

EDC’s advice for aspiring System Integrator Giants revolves around the paramount importance of customer satisfaction. He stressed the value of maintaining customer satisfaction as the linchpin of business success, urging others to prioritize it above all else.  Chuck emphasized, “Your customers are your greatest asset.” 

Reinvestment emerged as a pivotal principle driving EDC’s success. Chuck’s advice echoed a philosophy of steady growth through prudent reinvestment rather than mere profit-seeking. “We have always reinvested back into EDC as a company, and it has made all the difference.” 

Future Plans and Commitment

EDC’s continued inclusion on the list of SI Giants signifies a momentous achievement for 2023, but their journey doesn’t end here; it marks the beginning of their commitment to continued growth, anchored in quality, customer-centricity, and prudent reinvestment. As Chuck eloquently summarized, “Some Giants become top-heavy and topple over. That won’t be us.” EDC is poised to be a shining example of sustainable growth, forging a legacy in the domain of system integration. Contact us today to explore our services.

EDC Showcases Expertise at Wire Expo 2024: Leading Innovations in Wire & Cable Manufacturing

Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) exhibited at booth 206 at this year’s Wire Expo, on June 11-12, 2024 at the Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut, US. The main biennial event organized by the Wire Association International (WAI) serves as the premier platform for industry insights on wire manufacturing.  

“This year’s Wire Expo at Mohegan Sun was, as usual, a great event,” said Chuck Dillard, Vice President at EDC. “Nowhere else can we re-acquaint ourselves with existing wire and cable customers and to make so many new contacts in a 2 day span. The Wire Association is doing a nice job in educating the next generation of Wire and Cable professionals to the exciting challenges that a career in the industry can bring.”

The following blog post was written in anticipation of the 2024 Wire Expo.

With extensive knowledge of wire and cable industry pain points, EDC engineers will be present to share the company’s industry expertise and an understanding of the many obstacles wire and cable manufacturers face. EDC has successfully completed projects ranging from minor upgrades to comprehensive retrofits, addressing challenges such as obsolete drives or PLCs, as well as issues like frequent wire breaks and extended downtime.

“It’s an honor for EDC to contribute our knowledge of control systems and factory automation in the wire and cable industry to Wire Expo attendees,” said Chuck Dillard, Vice President of EDC. “We are thrilled to discuss our wire drawing, annealing, cabling, and jacketing solutions at the expo, where we have engaged with some of our most valuable prospects. We look forward to connecting with industry professionals and working towards advancements in wire and cable manufacturing.”

The expo’s program focuses on the latest innovations and strategies in wire and cable manufacturing, giving attendees insights into manufacturers’ future plans for the industry. Participants are offered presentations and exhibits highlighting advancements in a range of processes, including wire drawing, cable manufacturing, automation, wire extrusion and stranding. 

With over 50 years of experience, EDC’s team excels in integrating cutting-edge control systems, revitalizing equipment through upgrades, and optimizing factory automation in wire and cable, as well as coating and laminating industries. EDC has become a top CSIA Certified control system integrator, meeting the highest industry standards and making it a natural fit for the expo’s agenda.

Manufacturers can look forward to advancing their wire and cable manufacturing goals with EDC’s technical expertise at Wire Expo 2024.

 To learn more and register for the event, visit https://www.wireexpo24.com/

EDC’s Upgrade Ensures Future-Proof Operations for American Biltrite

EDC successfully upgraded American Biltrite’s critical coating line with modern controls during a planned shutdown period, enhancing operational efficiency while reducing the risk of future failures. 

American Biltrite (ABI), a manufacturer of high-quality protective films and advanced coatings for automotive, construction and flooring industries, faced challenges with their 1980s-era coating line due to obsolete controls and unsupported hardware. This line was instrumental in producing materials such as the plastic film seen on new vehicles during transportation and adhesive aisle runners used in construction projects.

Problem

American Biltrite’s coating line was equipped with outdated Parker SSD drives and an Allen-Bradley PLC-5, both no longer supported by their manufacturers. This lack of support made finding replacement parts difficult, leaving the company exposed to prolonged downtime in the event of a failure. Given the coating line’s importance, any significant downtime would severely impact ABI’s business.

“We started talking to them four or five years ago about this project,” said Chuck Dillard, Vice President at EDC. “They knew it was important, but they couldn’t shut the line down. Nobody really realized how vulnerable they were.”

A failure that caused a production halt intensified the need for a reliable and modernized control system, prompting the client to turn to EDC. “We have a history working with ABI on other projects, which made them feel confident in turning to us,” Dillard said.

Solution

EDC pre-designed and built control panels and subpanels at their own facility, conducting extensive pre-testing and simulations to ensure all components and software functioned correctly before on-site installation. The installation was scheduled during a planned shutdown period.  Once on site, engineers reused existing motors to maintain continuity, completing the upgrade swiftly to minimize disruption.

Solutions integrated by EDC for ABI’s coating line upgrade:

1. Upgraded Obsolete PLC: Replaced the legacy Allen-Bradley PLC-5 with a modern Rockwell GuardLogix PLC, incorporating safety for the entire line at the CPU.
2. New Drives Installation: Replaced all 33 drives on the line to ensure compatibility and efficiency.
 3. Remote I/O Integration: Installed remote I/O throughout the machine to enhance connectivity and control, including safety input modules for local wiring of E-stops and other safety components.
4. Transducers and Load Cells: Installed load cell amplifiers to monitor and regulate tension.
5. HMI Upgrades: Updated or replaced several HMIs, including upgrades to AVEVA (Wonderware) for enhanced user-interface capabilities.
6. Explosion-Proof Controls: Implemented explosion-proof controls in critical areas such as the coating section.
7. Thermal Oxidizer Upgrades: Upgraded the thermal oxidizer PLC, improving logic and functionality. Added features to make HMI more user-friendly.
8. Pre-Wired Subpanels: Designed and built pre-wired subpanels at EDC’s facility, which were then shipped and installed on-site, minimizing installation time and disruptions.
9. Reuse of Existing Motors: Preserved the existing Marathon Vector AC motors, ensuring compatibility with the new control system.
10. Custom PLC Programming: Rewrote the control program from scratch using high-speed Ethernet connectivity to regulate positions and tensions effectively. Utilized failsafe CPU for distributed safety control, eliminating multiple E-stop relays.

Results

The upgrade project for ABI’s coating line enhanced operational efficiency and reliability through the implementation of a Rockwell Automation GuardLogix PLC, 33 new drives, and extensive remote I/O modules. The new PLC replaced the obsolete Allen-Bradley PLC-5, eliminating downtime risks associated with unsupported hardware. EDC’s proven tension control algorithms enabled precise tension regulation, ensuring consistent product quality and reducing material waste. 

Upgrades to several HMIs, including AVEVA (Wonderware), provided operators with a user-friendly interface and better control. Explosion-proof controls in the coating section ensured safety, while the improving the thermal oxidizer controls ensured it continued to meet EPA requirements, supporting environmental compliance. Pre-wired subpanels minimized installation time and disruptions, and the preservation of existing Marathon Vector AC motors ensured continuity. Custom PLC programming and pre-testing at EDC’s facility ensured a quick transition, reducing downtime for maintenance. 

The upgrades completed by EDC’s teams resulted in improved reliability, enhanced control capabilities, and reduced operational vulnerabilities.

Click to learn more about coating and laminating.