Driving forward with efficiencies

04 January 2016

Control Engineering Europe looks at a selection of applications in which variable speed drives have offered production or energy saving efficiencies.

The Centre Vinicole - Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF) - is the leading Champagne producers’ union. It comprises 80 cooperatives and represents over 5,000 wine-growers. Output from its highly automated plant reaches 23 million bottles every year. 

As part of a project to update a production line the company needed to replace a series of drive systems. Frédéric Lopez, automation manager CV-CNF, explained:  “We needed to replace them in a gradual process. We considered using the original supplier of the equipment, as well other leading firms in this sector. They were all able to supply equipment that would have met our expectations. However, we also wanted to establish a partnership with a company able to deliver the level of service we needed, which is why we selected Emerson.”

The first step was to replace a conveyor drive system at the start of the line, which accurately positions empty bottles before cleaning and filling. The bottles are loaded onto the conveyor from 1,200 x 1,200 pallets, and then lifted in rows of four to 12 onto a perpendicular conveyor. 

The line runs at a rate of 4,000 to 6,000 bottles an hour and has to offer maximum availability in operation. “Emerson designed the most appropriate solution for us as well as to program the variable-speed drives,” continued  Lopez. 

The existing drive system consisted of an automatic controller, an alignment controller, a variable speed drive and a motor. Emerson’s solution was able to reduce the overall complexity of the system by removing the need for the alignment controller. It consists of a Control Techniques Unidrive M700 variable speed drive, connected to the automatic controller and combined with a Leroy-Somer DYNABLOC Pjn1102 low backlash servo-gear. This solution is said to offer high overload tolerance, high torsion strength and good accuracy.

Emerson’s MCi200 machine control option module has been added to its Unidrive M to manage positioning. The Unidrive M700 drive has a cycle time of 250µs, synchronised communications through real-time Ethernet and an integrated PLC for controlling movement sequences.

In the final configuration, 15 different configurations were defined to suit the various bottle shapes. Each cycle has a coarse pitch with a specific movement profile (position, speed, acceleration and deceleration), a fine pitch with a second movement profile (position, speed, acceleration and deceleration) and the number of short pitches to be carried out.

The required configuration is selected using logic inputs, which automatically starts the chosen cycle. The coarse pitch is performed then the fine pitches are chained together while the path is free. Signals for ´end of long movement´ and ´cycle completed´ are sent by the drive´s logic outputs to the client system. All programming and training was carried out on site by Emerson´s support teams.

“We have taken over the application completely so that we can make our own adaptations... Emerson has fully met our expectations and we are in the process of deploying their solutions across our entire site,” concluded Lopez. 

Energy saving features
Quintex Energy Management Systems, a developer and supplier of demand based ventilation control systems for commercial kitchens, employs variable speed drives (VSD) supplied by VACON,  in its Cheetah range of energy management and safety control systems.

When developing the Cheetah system - which is designed to deliver energy savings and carbon footprint reductions - Quintex initially chose VACON NXL series VSDs after a detailed market analysis showed that, at the time, they offered the best combination of reliability, versatility and value for money. 

However, for more recent installations the company has adopted the latest VACON 100 series VSDs, which offer higher standards for performance and value.

Primarily intended for use in professional kitchens and commercial food preparation areas, Quintex Cheetah systems monitor the cooking environment and, with the aid of the VSDs, they continuously regulate speeds of the extract and air supply fans to ensure that comfortable and safe conditions are maintained at all times with a minimum of energy usage.

In a typical installation, the fans will operate much of the time at around 40% of their maximum speed. At this reduced speed, they consume only 6% of the energy needed for full speed operation, which means that energy usage and costs are greatly reduced compared with conventional systems where the fans always run at full speed while the kitchen is operational. 

“We have been using VACON drives for many years,” said Guy Madgwick, sales and marketing director at Quintex, “Reliability is also good and with over 6,000 VACON drives in daily use in our systems, reliability is an important issue.” 

Quintex Cheetah systems are customised to meet the needs of each user and, depending on the application, the company uses VACON 100 drives with power ratings from 1.1 kW to 30 kW. In some applications, IP21 drives mounted within control panels are used, while in others IP54 types, which can be mounted without the need for additional protection, provide a convenient and cost-effective solution.

As standard, the drives provide many energy saving features that are useful to Quintex. These include a real-time clock, an integrated kWh energy meter, and a sleep function that automatically puts the drive into a standby condition during downtime so it uses almost no energy. Two integral PID loops are also provided and the drives offer support for the LonWorks networking protocol which Quintex has adopted for its larger installations.

Built-in RFI filters ensure interference-free operation even in sensitive environments, and the drives comply fully with the requirements of EN 61000-3-12 for low current harmonics. 

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