Electronic Drives and Controls Named First U.S. Siemens Solution Partner Certified for Drives & Motion

Parsippany, NJ – February 28, 2018 – Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC), a leading control system integrator and field service company for industrial automation and drive technology, today announced it is the first U.S. Siemens Solution Partner to be certified for Drives & Motion. A Siemens Solution Partner since 2014, the company is also certified in Advanced Factory Automation.

With this new certification, EDC has established itself as a strategic solution partner and leading system integrator focused on helping manufacturers with obsolete drive and control technology to automate manual processes and upgrade aging equipment.

“Our congratulations go to Electronic Drives and Controls. This certification means their clients can always trust that EDC will professionally deliver the most advanced solutions based on the powerful combination of SINAMICS integrated drives and SIMATIC totally integrated automation,” said Peter Treible, National Industrial Partner Manager, Siemens.

“We are proud to have Electronic Drives and Controls as a Siemens Solution Partner! EDC has consistently proven that we can always count on them to deliver quality engineering and implementation services, the first time, every time, for our clients. This investment in certification is one of many reasons Siemens views EDC as a leader in their market.”

EDC has 50 years of experience integrating new control systems and repairing or retrofitting older equipment for a variety of manufacturing industries local to New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. With exceptional domain expertise, the company has also established itself nationwide as the go-to resource for manufacturers in the wire and cable, coating, laminating, and converting industries.

Electronic Drives and Controls Siemens
EDC Case Study - Siemens

“For the typical manufacturers we work with, older drives such as Siemens MasterDrives 6SE70 series have been great workhorses for years. We know because we have installed hundreds of them over the years,” said Chuck Dillard, vice president of EDC. “The problem is, as these older industrial drives and controls reach obsolescence, downtime for manufacturers becomes a costly problem with no OEM support and difficulty sourcing replacement parts. We help manufacturers retrofit existing equipment gaining the advantages of new automation technology at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new equipment.”

When upgrading older equipment, automating manual processes allows manufacturers to gain a competitive edge with greater throughput and efficiency. It also sets the stage for leveraging the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and digitalization of the shop floor.

In addition to EDC’s work with the manufacturing sector, the company has a field service business unit. Highly trained technicians perform repairs, large-scale retrofits, and preventative maintenance for customers in the pharmaceuticals, real estate management and HVAC industries.

About Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc.
Founded in 1968, Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) is a CSIA Certified control system integrator with a large field service team specializing in AC and DC drives, PLCs and factory automation. Family owned and operated for 50 years, EDC’s team of engineers and technicians has great depth of 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 1 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.

Electronic Drives and Controls to Share Building HVAC Automation Expertise in May 8 Presentation at BuildingsNY 2018 Conference

Engineering Consultant Bob Pusateri of Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. will share best practices for installation and maintenance of energy-efficient variable frequency drives (VFD) to maximize building owners’ utility cost savings over the life of HVAC systems.

Parsippany, NJ –May 6, 2018 – 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 will present at the BuildingsNY 2018 Conference on May 8, 2018 at the Javits Center in NYC at 10:45am. The presentation, entitled “Ensuring VFDs Continue to Save You Money,” will be given by EDC’s Engineering Consultant, Bob Pusateri.

In his presentation, Bob Pusateri will share what building managers can expect from VFDs’ energy cost savings and how to maintain those savings. Bob graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1987. Since then, Bob has gained over 25 years’ experience in industrial controls, specifically with variable frequency drives and motion control. Before joining EDC as an engineering consultant in 2004, Bob held various relevant positions in manufacturing, sales, project management and development. Bob’s experience has given him exposure to thousands of applications in dozens of automation brands.

When asked what he is looking forward to most about the presentation, Bob says, “It has been known for decades that VFDs can significantly reduce a facility’s energy consumption, thus helping owners and managers contain costs while pleasing Mother Earth. We show you in simple terms how VFDs do it and how to keep them running around the clock.”

The BuildingsNY 2018 Conference brings together building owners and managers, facility and maintenance managers, superintendents, architects, contractors, developers and engineers with an opportunity to discover new ways to reduce overhead, manage risk and identify cost savings.

Pre-register for BuildingsNY ’18 and Bob Putaseri’s presentation here: http://www.buildingsny.com/en/Contributors/5571084/Pusateri-Bob

About Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc.  
Founded in 1968, Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) is a CSIA Certified control system integrator with a large field service team specializing in AC and DC drives, PLCs and factory automation. Family owned and operated for 50 years, EDC’s team of engineers and technicians has great depth of 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 1 and for years to come. In addition to the company’s certifications 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.

Bob Pusateri of Electronic Drives and Controls Headshot

EDC Achieves Control System Integrator Association’s Certification, Meeting Highest Industry Standards

Electronic Drives and Controls achieves CSIA’s benchmark certification, meeting the highest level of technical and business performance standards in providing innovative control system integration solutions and field service work for industrial automation and drive technology.EDC CSIA certification

Parsippany, NJ – January 6, 2020 – 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 certification by the Control System Integrator Association (CSIA), meeting the highest industry standard for successful management of a control system integration business.

“Congratulations to Electronic Drives and Controls on their successful CSIA re-certification. This is a testament to their serious commitment to continuous improvement,” said Jose M. Rivera, CSIA CEO.  “We commend the entire team for this important accomplishment. By supporting the CSIA Certification program Electronic Drives and Controls is not only advancing their company, they are also elevating the playing field for the entire control systems integration community.”

CSIA is a global trade association that seeks to advance the industry of control system integration.  To achieve CSIA certification, a company must demonstrate a commitment to delivering the highest level of quality, performance and reliability by meeting or exceeding the CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks guidelines in ten key areas, encompassing both technical and business aspects of operation.

To achieve CSIA certification, a third-party auditor conducts an intensive review to confirm that the comprehensive CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks have been implemented in ten key areas such as general management, human resources management, business development and sales management, financial management, project management, system development lifecycle, quality management, technical management, and other supporting activities.

“As a longtime CSIA member, we have deeply integrated the CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks into our culture,” said Bud Dillard, president of Electronic Drives and Controls. “Having successfully achieved the rigorous CSIA certification allows us to demonstrate to our customers that our sound business practices and strong technical proficiency substantially reduce their project risk.”

About Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc.  
Founded in 1968, Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) is a CSIA Certified control system integrator with a large field service team specializing in AC and DC drives, PLCs and factory automation headquartered in Parsippany, NJ. Family owned and operated for 50 years, EDC’s team of engineers and technicians has great depth of 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 1 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, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

5 Controls-Based Causes of Scrap

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

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

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

Analog

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

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

Electrical Noise

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

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

Outdated Programming

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

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

Inconsistent Hardware Controls

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

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

Tension Control

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

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

 

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

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!

Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. Provides Successful Energy Efficiency Upgrade with Harmonic Mitigation for Major Jersey City Commercial Property

EDC Jersey City Project

EDC acted as general contractor, providing the electrical design, installation services, harmonic mitigation and analysis for an upscale waterfront commercial property in Jersey City.

Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC), a leading control systems integrator and field service company for industrial automation and variable frequency drive (VFD) technology, today announced the company has successfully completed a major energy efficiency modernization of the HVAC motor controls for a class-A commercial property on the Hudson River in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Electronic Drives and Controls served as general contractor for the 11-month long project which was won in a competitive bid, partnering with union electricians from Arbor Electric.  EDC engineers modernized the building’s cooling water control system with the addition of 28 energy-efficient fan and pump VFDs and assisted with the replacement of an eight-cell cooling tower, heat trace wiring and temporary controls while the building management system (BMS) was being retrofitted.  After a power quality analysis, EDC engineers completed the electrical design with harmonic mitigation according to IEEE 519 guidelines.  To minimize electrical noise at the facility, EDC’s design included active harmonic filters maintaining optimum power quality, minimizing power-related issues with client computer systems and maintaining unity power factor to provide savings in power cost. Additional savings were realized when EDC engineers retrofitted the drives into existing motor control centers avoiding the cost and lost physical space of wall-mounted drives.

“Between the savings on utilities and the New Jersey energy rebates earned, this project had a quick ROI,” said Chuck Dillard, vice president, Systems Group at Electronic Drives and Controls.  “The client was proactive in modernizing the building’s HVAC VFDs, greatly benefiting the marquee tenants in this upmarket property with better comfort, improved power quality and reliability.”

Electronic Drives and Controls serves premier high-rise commercial real estate clients in the greater New York metro area, specializing in upgrades and preventive maintenance (PM) while also offering 24/7/365 emergency services.  

“In these big properties, when something goes wrong or we lose a critical piece of equipment, it can be very difficult to try and provide services that are necessary without affecting the tenants. It can be daunting at times,” said Kevin Ridder, Chief Engineer of 52 Broadway in New York City.  “I know that when I pick up that phone and call EDC, I’m going to get somebody that’s going to handle it – that will be there as soon as they can, and is going to take care of it with the best solution possible. I can’t give them a higher rating than the highest rating. They are excellent.”

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.” 

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.”

 

Case Study – EDC’s Comprehensive Upgrade of an Unique Horizontal Drawbench to Enhance Performance and Reliability

Electronic Drives and Controls recently successfully upgraded a unique horizontal wire drawbench, resolving complex challenges through hardware and software optimization, diagnostic enhancements, and safety improvements, resulting in enhanced performance, reliability, and operational efficiency.

Horizontal Drawbench

Problem:

A long-time client of Electronic Drives and Controls and an American manufacturer of scientific instruments faced numerous issues with their one-of-a-kind machine designed to draw and elongate copper bars filled with superconductors for use in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. 

Obsolete PLC I-O

After being custom-built by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in 2013, the machine experienced sporadic problems due to its

 complex design and programming. The existing PLC program, written in structured text using Siemens SIMATIC S7-300 hardware, was challenging to read and understand. Additionally, the PLC I/O modules were outdated, and the critical position sensors utilized an ultra-sensitive communications protocol that was subject to frequent “crashes,” made worse by machine vibrations. The client needed a comprehensive solution to address these issues and enhance the machine’s performance and reliability.

 

 

Solution:

EDC took on the challenge of upgrading the horizontal drawbench, providing a complete controls overhaul solution to optimize its performance. The project involved several key milestones. First, the existing PLC and HMI software programs were migrated from Siemens SIMATIC Step 7 to Siemens’ more robust Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal. This transition improved program readability, removed obsolete code, and enhanced visualization and maintenance.

Hydraulic Lifter & Position Sensor

The hardware upgrade involved migrating the PLC from SIMATIC S7-300 to S7-1500, providing the client with updated components that offered improved performance, and reliability. Another significant aspect of the project was the transition from PROFIBUS to PROFINET, an Ethernet-based communication system. This switch eliminated existing issues, provided better diagnostic capabilities, and increased bandwidth. Approximately 40 devices were upgraded during this transition.

EDC also recognized that all existing I/O modules, specifically the S7-300 hardware, were obsolete. Consequently, each I/O module was updated to the latest Siemens S7-1500 series hardware, ensuring improved functionality and availability. The combination of the hardware and software improvements enabled optimization of the machine’s hydraulic lifters, key mechanical elements whose motion must be choreographed like a ballet to prevent a physical crash. EDC implemented a PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) loop control method around each lifter, resulting in precise coordination between them not previously realized.

To enhance network reliability, EDC introduced Device Level Rings (DLRs) into the machine’s network architecture. DLRs provided network redundancy, preventing downtime caused by a single faulty cable or device, facilitating efficient troubleshooting and issue diagnosis. Additionally, EDC revamped all drawings associated with the machine, including improved device references, wire numbering and enclosure layouts, providing comprehensive documentation for future reference and maintenance. 

 

 

 

Impact:

The completion of the project had a significant impact on the drawbench and the client’s operations, delivering several key benefits. 

S7-1500 PLC & ProfiNet Comms

First and foremost, the performance and reliability of the machine were significantly enhanced.

The hardware and software upgrades, coupled with the removal of obsolete code, resulted in improved stability and efficiency. In turn, there was no longer sporadic downtime experienced, ensuring a more reliable production process.

The transition from PROFIBUS to PROFINET granted the client enhanced diagnostic capabilities.

This allowed for better monitoring, troubleshooting, and prompt identification of any potential issues, facilitating faster resolution and minimizing downtime. The new HMIs improved visualization and readability making it easier for maintenance personnel to understand the machine’s operations, improving overall efficiency. Furthermore, the optimization of the control scheme and coordination with upgraded safety devices added protection and reduced the risk of failures or accidents, ensuring a safer working environment for operators.

 

In conclusion, EDC’s comprehensive upgrade project effectively tackled the challenges faced with this custom-built horizontal drawbench. The implementation of hardware and software improvements, coupled with enhanced diagnostic capabilities, led to a significant boost in reliability, efficiency, and maintainability. The successful completion of the project highlighted EDC’s expertise in resolving complex industrial automation issues and empowered a dependable machine to be capable of consistently producing high-quality, drawn super-conducting bars for MRI applications.

Case Study – EDC’s Modernization of a Ruesch Steel Slitting Machine Control System with Siemens Yields 67% Throughput Gain

In a recent project for a leading producer of specialty rolled products, Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) successfully addressed a series of challenges stemming from an outdated Ruesch slitting machine control system. Characterized by obsolete hardware components, a complex operator interface, and difficulties in maintaining precise tension during steel slitting, the control system required an extensive modernization. EDC proposed a detailed control system upgrade, committing to an installation period of less than four days, leveraging modern Siemens technology to enhance hardware reliability, retrofit existing components, improve operator interface with a user-friendly HMI, and implement innovative torque management control for consistent winding tension.

The Client:

ATI Materials, a producer of specialty rolled products specializing in high-tech steel for aerospace and defense applications, operates as a critical supplier focused on precision aerospace engine and airframe components. They produce advanced steel alloys, including titanium, nickel, and cobalt-based materials in various forms such as long products, precision forgings, and machined components.

Problem:

The client faced significant issues with their aging Ruesch slitting line originally installed in 1995. The equipment’s legacy control system presented three primary challenges. 

1. The system’s reliance on obsolete hardware components, including SIMOREG 6RA24 DC Drives and Siemens TI545 PLC made it progressively difficult to secure replacement parts, thereby jeopardizing the system’s operational continuity and increasing the risk of downtime.
2. The operator control panel, with its complex array of analog functions, push buttons, and meters, hindered efficiency, making the system less intuitive and harder to use.
 3. The critical requirement of ensuring consistent tension across the material web during steel slitting was a significant challenge, given the current system’s difficulty in providing accurate torque control for the winding process.
EDC Case Study Simatic TI545 PLC
Prior to Installation – Original Simatic TI545 PLC

Solution:

To address these challenges and provide a comprehensive solution, EDC proposed a control system upgrade using modern components and innovative technology:

Hardware and Software Upgrade: EDC replaced the outdated components with the state-of-the-art Siemens  6RA80 DC drives, S7-1500 PLC, and Siemens Comfort Panel HMI, ensuring reliability, scalability, and long-term support. Existing motors were retained, optimizing cost-effectiveness.

Installation and Retrofit: EDC’s engineers designed, built and tested the hardware and software prior to installation to minimize downtime for the retrofit. Sending a team of three engineers to work extended hours on site to install the new Siemens control system hardware and software further minimized production downtime.

Enhanced Operator Interface: An ergonomic 22-inch Siemens Touchscreen Comfort Panel HMI was installed to provide an intuitive and user-friendly operator interface. EDC programmed the HMI with meticulous detail to display over three dozen machine status messages and alarms making it easier to train operators and maintenance personnel to visualize and navigate the system effectively to keep production running at peak performance.

Torque Management: The EDC team harnessed the extended speed range of the existing DC motor to maintain predictable winding tension, even in the field range where torque no longer reacted linearly as field current decreased. This ensured the precise tension exiting the slitter section optimizing the quality of the slit edge. 

Advanced Communication: PROFINET was implemented to enable high-speed communication, replacing the previous PROFIBUS system. This upgrade enhanced speed, data processing, and control capabilities.

Remote Troubleshooting: EDC introduced remote access capabilities utilizing Tosibox secure remote access platform to streamline maintenance. If support is needed, the remote access into the machine’s control system facilitates a much quicker issue resolution.

Documentation: Using Siemens totally integrated automation software platform, TIA Portal, EDC provided a complete PLC, HMI and Drive functionality documentation package, including a fully commented PLC and HMI program, and drive parameters. In addition, using AutoCAD Electrical, EDC provided a robust complete set of schematics of not just the hardware components provided by EDC, but for the entire system including every limit switch, product sensor, push button, etc. to replace the clients’ outdated schematics.

Results

The modernization of the Ruesch slitting line’s control system yielded significant improvements in the customer’s operations. The machine’s throughput experienced a remarkable surge, increasing from 300 to 500 feet per minute. This remarkable 67% boost in productivity not only delighted the client, but also enhanced their overall operational efficiency. Safety measures received substantial upgrades, particularly with the introduction of an automatic slowdown feature to prevent material “tail-out.” This enhancement significantly reduced the risk of accidents and potential equipment damage, a critical advantage, especially when dealing with sensitive materials such as titanium. 

EDC Case Study 6RA80 and S7-1500 state of the art DC Drives and PLC
6RA80 and S7-1500 state of the art DC Drives and PLC
EDC Case Study Post Installation – Fuses
Post Installation – Fuses replaced with more resilient Molded Case Circuit Breakers

The implementation of remote troubleshooting capabilities played a pivotal role in reducing downtime and improving maintenance efficiency. The introduction of a user-friendly, 22-inch HMI streamlined machine operation and reduced downtime by providing operators with a clear overview of machine status and alarms to quickly assess and rectify issues, ensuring a seamless and efficient production process. The new intuitive operator interface also proved invaluable in training new personnel.  The modern control system, founded on Siemens technology, offered long-term reliability and a robust, well-supported platform.

“We are extremely satisfied with the project’s results. EDC’s solution brought about a notable transformation in our slitting operations,” said ATI Senior Engineer II, Greg Lima. “With improved speed control and torque management, we achieved a more predictable winding tension, ensuring the quality of our slit materials. EDC’s expertise and innovative problem-solving have proven instrumental in optimizing our processes and ensuring our continued success in the industry.”

By overcoming the challenges posed by an outdated system and implementing innovative solutions, EDC not only improved productivity and safety but also future-proofed the client’s operations in an installation that lasted less than four days.

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.

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: 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 2024 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.