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!