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Standardised drive solutions across entire tyre plant

20 December 2011

A collaboration between Italian engineering company Stema Service Srl and Control Techniques Italy resulted in a contract win to upgrade systems at the plant of a leading Italian tyre manufacturer.

A variety of applications, including rubber mixers and calendar lines at the tyre plant used DC technologies and solutions. Following extensive studies, it was determined that a switch to AC throughout would offer the company benefits in terms of energy savings, reduced maintenance and downtime and better throughput and quality. With the maintenance needs of the DC motors eliminated, the company next turned its attention to a review of the control system leading to a new approach utilising new PLCs and the introduction of a digital communication bus system based on Ethernet.

The company used a mixture of induction and synchronous motors and has been able to standardise on Unidrive SP AC drives from Control Techniques for all of these. Mixers rated at up to 400kW utilise modular Unidrive SPM modular drives, which offer flexibility for the architecture of the system, as well as minimising the need for back-up spares. On the calendar line, where motor powers vary from just a few kilowatts up to 90kW, Unidrive SP drives are used throughout in open-loop, closed-loop and brushless servo configurations, depending on the motors employed. All drives were fitted with Ethernet plug-in modules to give a single Ethernet fieldbus.

Some drives feature SM-Applications modules, which brings a high level of motion control functionality down to the drive level, with the major benefits being less wiring, less chance of interference and enhanced process reliability and performance.

Control Techniques’ Unidrive SP ‘solutions platform’ AC variable speed drive range spans 0.75kW right up to 1.9MW and is configurable into five operating modes – open and closed loop, vector, servo and regenerating mode. A wide range of plug-in option modules provide extra processing power and functionality including extra I/O and field bus connectivity to most industry standard networks and compatibility with most position feedback protocols.


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