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.”