New Drives for Stenting Machine

Speedy Replacement

Old for new in no time at all

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This case study was published in DPA Magazine, November 2013.

A simple requirement for two replacement drives? Not quite so found the Portland Dyeing Company of Leek, Staffordshire. Repeated overcurrent faults in a pair of frequency inverters used on a Montforts stenting machine were causing expensive loss of production. The situation was made more complex by the fact that the drives were set up with 87Hz technology and some of the machine manuals were lost. Lenze Systems Partner Cornfield Engineering Solutions stepped in and engineered up-to-date replacement drives which were up and running with only one day of downtime.

Portland Dyeing have a Montforts stenting machine which is used to stretch and set fabric. The stenting process uses heat to give stability to the fabric and prevent subsequent shrinking. It is commonly used for cotton based materials. A web of cloth is connected on each side by hooks to a tractor conveyor. Each side of the conveyor has independent drives so that, although they normally run in synchronisation, they can be advanced and retarded. Also the two sides of the conveyor can be adjusted in width to tension the cloth web. The conveyor takes the cloth through an oven where even and continuous motion is required to prevent burning. The effect of a drive failure is potentially calamitous as the surface of the cloth will burn in the oven resulting in scrappage.

Portland Dyeing called in Cornfield Engineering when the increasing overcurrent faults on the two Lenze 8608 inverters became a problem. Being 25 years old, it was no surprise that direct replacement drives were no longer available. Each inverter drives a 5.5kW planetary geared motor connected to the conveyor. The motors and drives were selected with a 87Hz setpoint, meaning that the nominal torque is achieved with a 4-pole motor speed of 2500 r/min. This results in increased power from the motor, up from 5.5 to 9.4kW which in turn means the motor is compact and cost saving. The only special requirement for 87Hz operation is that the motor should have connections for 230V Delta. The inverter has to be sized appropriately for the increased power – in this case 11kW models were chosen.

Montforts have chosen the 87Hz technology as it increases the available speed range by 70%. The motor nominal torque is generated at 2500 r/min and the inverter can drive it down to 580 r/min without cooling or down to 145 r/min with a blower. The motor is effectively standard and runs with a small gain in efficiency at the higher speed. With a 132 frame motor giving the output of a 160 frame, there are further gains in size and purchase cost.

Chris Timbey, Director of Cornfield Engineering Solutions, investigated the application and selected up-to-date inverters from Lenze, the 8400 StateLine rated at 11kW. The inverters take in speed reference signal from the Montforts control unit that takes in tacho feedback, allowing each conveyor to be independently controlled across the entire speed range. They are easily capable of the 87Hz settings and as a modern quality inverter they will give Portland Dyeing the reliability they need. It is not just the motor that is small – over 25 years the footprint from the old to the new inverter has reduced by 78%!

Cornfield Engineering was able to support their customer from the initial assessment right through to installation and commissioning. In fact their Director Chris Timbey is proud of how well the project went: “we prepared well with new drawings and pro-grams written with the Lenze L-force Engineer parameterisation software. The drives were changed and the machine was up and running again in less than one working day”

New Drives
Stenting Machine
Drive Motor
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Cornfield Engineering Solutions Ltd, Unit 5, Brindley Court, Victoria Business Park, Brown Lees, Stoke-on-Trent, ST8 7PP