Drives improve oven production quality

24 March 2015

A manufacturer of glass tempering ovens has improved the quality of its products through the use of variable speed drives.

Glaston America serves both the commercial and residential glass markets. To ensure that its glass tempering ovens meet the demanding requirements of its  customers, every effort is made by Glaston to maximise quality. 

The company recently addressed the issue of tiny scratches that can occur as a result of the glass being tempered without precise speed control on the oven’s drives. To overcome this issue, Glaston researched the market for an alternative to its existing drives supplier.

The solution arrived in the shape of Control Techniques Unidrive SP drive which would offer the company greater flexibility of programming and option cards for feedback and communications. Cliff Matukonis of Glaston America takes up the story. “We migrated from the SP drive to the Unidrive M701 as its new features and functionality best suited our needs. The integration of PROFIBUS communications and application modules for increasing the flexibility of the drives, was also crucial in our decision.”

Led by the results of extensive customer-driven market research, and designed specifically for manufacturing automation applications, each Unidrive M model is designed to suit specific application needs. For example, the Unidrive M701 series drives, preferred by Glaston, offer benefits specific to sectors such as ovens and heat treatment equipment.

A total of 14 Unidrive M701 drives with SI-PROFIBUS are now deployed in the company’s glass tempering ovens, one for each roll section. Rollers pass glass through various oven sections to be treated and then through a cooling section prior to packaging. Glaston also uses 14 Unimotor HD - highly dynamic brushless servo motors from Control Techniques, one for each drive. 

“The main benefit of the Unidrive M701 is the precise speed control we can now exert on the oven rolls which greatly reduces scratches and imperfections on the glass,” said Matukonis. “Furthermore, we now have more capability and flexibility, and found integration to the control system extremely straightforward. The system’s design and interfaces, along with its extensive diagnostics capability, also ensure ease-of-use for the machine operator. 

“The new line-up of Unidrive M701 with SI-PROFIBUS is now integral to all our new and upgraded installations. The option cards give these drives flexibility.  For example, we are able to bring two encoder signals from other motors into a single drive.  With minimal programming, we have been able to have the drives follow either of these encoders with smooth ramps between the two different encoder speeds.  I could only find this option in significantly more expensive servo solutions.”

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