Precise Low Cost Positioning

Frequency inverter positions carriage

Positioning drive is simple, accurate & economic

Ripley based Machine Building Systems Ltd needed a new machine to cut to length aluminium profiles for their Item product range. Magazine Image The machine frame and 6.4m long belt-driven linear slide was constructed using the Item MB modular system and Lenze System Partner Cornfield Engineering Solutions Ltd provided the motion and control for positioning the end stop. Cornfield supplied a complete drive system with HMI, frequency inverter and geared motor. The system positions a carriage holding the end stop so that a circular saw can cut the aluminium profiles to an exact length. By using the latest in drive technology, performance has surpassed the requested accuracy of +/- 0.1mm on cut length.

Machine Building Systems are well known for their Item MB aluminium profile system used for machine frames, guarding and work stations. They offer strong technical support backed by substantial UK stocks. Cornfield Engineering Solutions are Lenze System Partners based in Stoke-on-Trent. Led by Director Chris Timbey, they have 10 years of experience with drives and automation, particularly in the ceramics, food and packaging industries. On offer is a complete service from assessment and design through to software writing, installation and commissioning.

The new saw table was required by MBS to increase their production capacity. Profiles to be cut are manually fed up to an end stop which is set by the position of the carriage. Consistent positioning accuracy was required over the full 6m travel of the end stop. An operator interface allows easy entry of the required profile length together with a display of the actual position.

QuoteQuoteMBS asked for a length accuracy of +/- 0.1mm and we have actually achieved better than +/- 0.05mm, and often spot on.

The Cornfield solution using Lenze equipment is notable as there is no controlling PLC. Also positioning is done from the drive, and the motor is unusually compact. The positioning functionality is achieved with a program built into the frequency inverter type 8400 TopLine. This top-of-range model was chosen as it has as standard point-to-point positioning with controllable ramps. In addition it accepts inputs from both the motor resolver and from an HTL linear incremental encoder, resulting in the high level of accuracy achieved. CANopen is fitted as standard and this connects to the HMI, a Lenze EL106 with a 6.4 inch colour touchscreen. Generous analog and digital I/O connections in the inverter mean that it is able to control the complete machine functionality resulting in simplicity and low cost.

The electromechanics of the drive are a Lenze bevel geared motor type GKR03. The gearbox has low backlash and a very low wear rate suiting it to reversing and positioning duties. The 0.75kW motor chosen was from the Lenze inverter optimised MF range designed to run at a nominal speed of 120Hz. The main advantage of this selection is one of physical size – the higher speed allows the 0.75kW power to come from a 63 frame motor instead of a 4-pole motor with an 80 frame. The reduction of two frame sizes also reduces the weight, inertia and cost. The 120Hz nominal speed equivalent to about 3500 r/min gives a wider useable speed range of 17:1 without a blower. As it is not rated at mains frequency, the motor falls outside the scope of the ErP regulations for energy efficiency. However the higher speed does increase running efficiency so that IE2 levels are surpassed.

Cornfield worked with MBS to specify the system and wrote the drive program with L-force Engineer software, also the visualisation using Lenze VisiWinNet software. After he had done the installation and commissioning on site, Chris Timbey was delighted with the system performance ‘’the use of the latest Lenze drives and automation equipment has made a system that is simple with high performance. MBS asked for a length accuracy of +/- 0.1mm and we have actually achieved better than +/- 0.05mm, and often spot on’’.

The case study is also available on the Machine Building web site:

Saw Table
Geared Motor - GKR with MF Motor
Geared Motor and Safety Light Beams
Linear Encoder
Control Panel
Control Panel Components
Operator Controls

Call us on 01782 511161

Cornfield Engineering Solutions Ltd, Unit 5, Brindley Court, Victoria Business Park, Brown Lees, Stoke-on-Trent, ST8 7PP