Case Studies

A growing collection of case studies where Control Techniques drives have been applied

Case Studies

Agriculture
Commercial Refrigeration
Cranes and Hoists
Entertainment
Food and Beverage
HVACR
Lifts and Elevators
Material Handling
OEM Machine Manufacturing
Packaging Machinery
Port and Freight Terminal Machinery
Printing
Renewable Energy Research and Development
Test Stands
Water and Wastewater
Forestry and Wood Working
Metals

Q: Major Time, Energy and Cost Savings for Animal Feed Suppliers

THE CHALLENGE

A feed mix is made from up to 26 ingredients, which is then separated out and particles larger than specification are fed in batches to a hammermill. Each mill has eight rows of 22 hammers (rotated at up to 3,000 rpm) and meshes of 3mm to 12 mm fitted around the diameter to determine the final particle size. Four hundred varieties of processed feed can then be extruded to the required pellet or nut size for a certain animal feed. Bouman experienced several problems with direct on line power, it was taking a whole minute to run the mills up to speed and with a fixed speed, it was difficult to make the product fine enough. Due to inertia, the mills took 15 minutes to stop, so downtime could also be considerable.


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Q: Drive provides cool energy saving solution at Henry Denny

THE CHALLENGE:

The plant has a large ammonia compressor to keep the rooms within carefully controlled temperatures. The compressor controller calls for more or less compression of ammonia coolant with immediate response from the drive. Previously the compressor was soft-started and run up to full speed on demand but when the company had to replace the soft starter, Ciaran McSherry, Henry Denny’s Electrical Engineer, recommended a change to a variable speed AC drive.


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Q: Providing precision control in massive ice cream plant

THE CHALLENGE:

From portion control and assembly, through to the packaging and palletising section, the Algida (‘Walls’ in the UK) plant’s ability to produce ice cream products on a vast scale relies on precise motion control. Special-purpose machines, along the line, portion and shape the ice cream, add additional ingredients, and insert the stick. The completed ices are then wrapped, sealed and packaged prior to palletising ready for despatch.


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Q: Control Techniques Drives Chosen for Italian Crane Refurbishment

THE CHALLENGE

One of the last cranes to be refurbished was a ship- to-shore (STS) gantry crane manufactured by Italian crane company MGM OMG. LSCT required rapid container handling, fast and precise crane positioning to provide the required productivity, maximum crane availability and reliability, as well as excellent technical support and effective preventative maintenance using an improved faults analysis facility.


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Q: Improved Efficiency for STS Crane in Honduras

THE CHALLENGE

Due to tough global competition in the international container shipping market, the port of Puerto Cortés is constantly seeking ways to enhance efficiency. As part of the ongoing drive, ENP decided to refurbish one of the two 20-year-old PACECO manufactured STS cranes to improve its performance. The goal was to improve container handling, provide more rapid and precise crane positioning, and reduce downtime and maintenance.


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Q: Unidrives Retrofitted to Floating Grab Cranes

THE CHALLENGE

On conventional cranes the slewing motion is controlled by a system of slip-ring motors and rotor resistors, which doesn’t work well at low speeds. The sudden changes in torque between resistor steps waste energy and the system requires regular maintenance. When replacing the slip-ring motors with a modern drive system the results can be disappointing. It is almost impossible to control the swaying of a crane’s load with a conventional speed-controlled drive system hence why a different solution was sought.


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Q: Unique Control Software Enables Superior Crane Operation

THE CHALLENGE

The operational software used by luffing cranes usually needs to perform static weighing by a load cell after the initial lift, which creates an uncomfortable jolt for the operator caused by the startstop- start of the hoist. NTK Technik GmbH wanted to develop more sophisticated crane control software that would eliminate this jolt, making the process more comfortable for the operator and the hoisting system more efficient.


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Q: Drives Have a Major Part to Play in RSC Automation

THE CHALLENGE

The challenge was to automate the movement of back-drops and scenery, and the complex system of lighting arrays, which included the development, design, manufacture and installation of 60 winches plus hoists for 30 light arrays. Often different productions are performed in the matinee and the evening and the RSC has just two hours to complete the changeover, so it must be swift and easy to control. The theatre renovation was designed to bring actors and audiences closer together with stage remodelling and lighting effects that could only be achieved with the cutting-edge electronics offered by Trekwerk and Control Techniques.


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Q: Drives Provide Great Ball Control at Soccer Circus

THE CHALLENGE

During Powerplay Super League, players work as a team operating life-size models of footballers to kick balls at targets. The game designers needed a drive solution that would eliminate the requirement for a central drives controller and one that meant the game could continue even if there was an error in the automation system.


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Q: Fan Power Keeps Dutch Skydivers Flying High

THE CHALLENGE

The indoor skydive centre was set up as somewhere for both professional skydivers and the general public to practice. The large fans that provide the air for the two flight chambers within the 23.5-metre tower needed a softstart, simple speed control and maximum energy efficiency to keep costs down. In addition, the system had to bring fresh air into the tower to keep ambient temperatures within acceptable limits.


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Q: Unidrive Drives Chosen for Theme Park Ride Refurbishments

THE CHALLENGE

Owners of the theme park, the French ‘Compagnie des Alpes’, have invested heavily in refurbishing many of the rides, with a focus on safety. When updating The Dalton terror, the company required the same faultless and precise movement of speed profile of the previous Control Techniques drives originally installed in 1998 to haul the ride’s seats to the top of the tower.


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Q: Cheese Becomes Fast Food for French Supplier

THE CHALLENGE

Director of Tippagral SA, Neil McAuley, explained, “We portion some 7,000 tonnes of cheese per year, mainly Emmental, but also Cheddar, Gouda, Edam and Mozzarella. Some 75% of our throughput is grated, but many customers, particularly wholesalers and manufacturers of pizza and sandwich/baguette producers, require the cheese to be cut into specific sizes and shapes, e.g. 9x9cm, 7.2x7cm and 12x5cm. This machine will dramatically streamline this aspect of our operation and cut our labour costs


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Q: The Drive to Produce More Pot Noodles

THE CHALLENGE

Production lines had already been improved and upgraded with Unidrive variable speed drives, reducing downtime and increasing throughput, and production line three had recently been automated to give greater reliability and production. Mark Edwards, Project Manager at Unilever explained, “Line three had been running Control Techniques Vector drives for 10 years, and these had performed well, but we wanted to bring the whole line under PLC control”.


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Q: The Variable Speed Drives Behind Swiss Cheese Production

THE CHALLENGE

Approximately 1200 dairies produce around 170,000 tonnes of cheese each year in Switzerland. Much of it is in the form of large blocks or ‘wheels’ up to 1 metre in diameter, weighing anything from a few kilograms up to 50 kg or more. When the cheeses are young they must be turned daily and washed with brine as part pf the maturation process. This is a heavy, labourintensive chore that must be carried out millions of times a day across cheese storage facilities.


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Q: Variable Speed Drives Save the Day at Danish Dairy

THE CHALLENGE

An elevator in the cheese drying system broke down, bringing the entire plant to a standstill. The suppliers estimated that it would take a fortnight to source the parts to rectify the situation with huge ramifications for the stocks of unfinished cheese that would need to be moved, meaning large storage and transport costs would be incurred.


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Q: Top Marks for HVAC Drives

THE CHALLENGE

Finding a compact yet powerful drive was essential for Mark Eire as the units have a high throughput. Competitors’ drives can be up to 50% larger by volume with panel footprints typically more than 40% bigger, which could not be accommodated, so the company sought another solution.


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Q: Variable Speed Drives Provide Cool Savings

THE CHALLENGE

Px limited, the power station’s operating company, needed to replace six two-speed motors for one quadrant of the Q501 cooling tower. The company hoped to overcome the maintenance problems it was experiencing due to shock loads on the blades, bearings and gearboxes, a result of the aggressive environment causing high corrosion. Px limited wanted to re-use the existing control cubicles to make the project cost effective but their narrow dimensions were creating an issue.


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Q: Advanced Elevator System Based on Drive Technology

THE CHALLENGE

The lifts at Peel House were in urgent need of refurbishment. Previously, the lifts had a creep-tofloor control profile, where a series of shaft encoders returned position signals to the controller, indicating when to slow to creep speed. It had been assumed that gearless lift systems (which don’t have the benefit of geared ratios to improve a drive’s effective response) needed a load weighing device to provide the lift controller or variable speed drive with an analogue signal as a torque feed forward signal.


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Q: Drive for Quality in German Lift Market

THE CHALLENGE

When OSMA launched a new gearless range, the company wanted to provide the flexibility and individuality it is known for with an extremely comfortable, accurate and smooth ride – while keeping costs down.


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Q: Variable Speed Drives Keep Up the Pressure in Swiss Elevators

THE CHALLENGE

Bucher is famous for its innovations, including their electronically controlled LRV valve that is insensitive to changes in pressure and temperature, and brought significant energy savings to elevator production, as well as shorter travel times and virtually eliminated creep-to-floor. Striving for further system improvements, Bucher was seeking a way to improve elevator control.


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Q: Automated Welding Boosts Towbar Production

THE CHALLENGE

Witter wanted to automate the handling task, previously done manually, and required the solution to integrate with the welding robots. A number of specialist machine manufacturers offered Witter solutions that required PLCs to provide the control and interface but these were deemed too costly.


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Q: Automation Takes the Strain to Lower Costs of Paving

THE CHALLENGE

“We recognised there was a significant market need for such a vehicle,” explained Mr A. van Wijngaarden, Technical Director of Robostreet. “Here in Holland, the heavy work involved in street paving is a major contributor to 5.9% of employees being off sick through back injuries – a national cost of around 120,000,000. And most countries of the world have a similar problem. Local health and safety legislation is now limiting the amount that can be laid manually and the race is on to build street paving machines that are accurate, safe, fast and cost-effective.”


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Q: Commander SK Proves Cost Effective for Specialist Welding Machine

THE CHALLENGE

Automatic Technologies International required precision control for the production of a heater assembly for a central heating boiler, which entails welding a 22mm pipe to a blank tube end, welding the tube end onto an 80mm tube, then completing the task by welding a flange to the other end of the tube. When welding the flange and vessel end, the motor speed is 80 Hz, but for welding the smaller 80mm pipe in place, the rotation speed is much slower at 20 Hz to give the same surface speed for welding. With two welding speeds, a variable speed drive was required, as well as overall process control. Yet the extra cost of even a small PLC with its associated power supply and larger control box would have made it prohibitively expensive.


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Q: Commander SK Provides Timely Solution for Crevoisier SA

THE CHALLENGE

The individual parts of a watch require polishing before the watch is assembled. As the standard of finishing has risen, the size of parts has become more precise, often to within 1 microm. This makes assembly difficult as many of the parts can hardly been seen by the naked eye. “When polishing small parts, you need to be confident of the speed,” said Crevoisier’s Research & Development Project Manager. “Also important is torque, at a low speed constant high torque is required to ensure the quality of polishing.” In addition, the new C-5001 lapping and polishing machine needed to provide variable, accurate speed and fit a compact table-top design.


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Q: Control Techniques Provides Sweet Solution at British Sugar

THE CHALLENGE

The upgraded ‘Maguin’ beet washing plant comprises a rotary drum driven by two variable speed electric motors, a high-pressure spray water pump, a new stone catcher and a sand screen. The plant processes up to 10,000 tonnes of beet per day so control is very important as poor control lowers efficiency and reduces sugar yield. Graham Goodrum, Electrical Engineering Team Leader, explained “Beet slicers require precise speed control to ensure that beets are cut to exact chevron shapes, to give enough strength for pressing to give maximum yield


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Q: Maintaining the Pressure at German Aluminium Plant

THE CHALLENGE

The two biggest extrusion lines accept billets of aluminium alloy of around 265mm and 412mm diameter and lengths between 400 and 1350mm, pre-heated to between 300 and 550°C. The billets are then extruded through two high pressure extruding presses at 56 MN and 33 MN respectively. Both extruders are hydraulically-powered, with the oil pressure of 250 Bar being generated by pumps. The pumps on the original hydraulic plant sent additional oil through a by-pass to give the required thrust, so they effectively ran at full speed all of the time, which is very inefficient.


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Q: Servo Drives Used for Precision Cutting with Style

THE CHALLENGE

STYLE was searching for more dynamic and flexible drives to incorporate in their machines when they came across Control Techniques’ Rotterdam Drive Centre. Anton Lammers, STYLE Technical Director said, “We looked at 12 drives suppliers and found that Control Techniques was the best for us in several ways.”


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Q: Driving out Packaging Problems

THE CHALLENGE

Decreasing accuracy and a drift on the synchronisation between conveyor speeds and the actions on the ice cream wrapping machine resulted in increasing reject rates. The waste was a mixture of ice cream and packaging, which had to be sent to land-fill, creating an additional cost on top of the lost production.


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Q: Accelerated ROI for Port with Diesel Saving System

THE CHALLENGE

Diesel generators on board Rubber Tyre Gantry cranes (RTGs) and mobile harbour cranes (MHCs) usually run at constant speed to provide the drive system and auxiliaries with a constant supply voltage regardless of whether the crane is in operation or standby, thus making them inefficient to run. With huge energy demands, rising diesel prices and the carbon tax, the port authorities sought to increase energy efficiency to reduce fuel costs, and invest in a solution that would also bring them a rapid ROI


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Q: Coal Loader Down Under Relies on Control Techniques Drives

THE CHALLENGE

The expansion added a new berth and shiploader to the existing 2 berths/2 shiploader combination. The 7,200 tonne per hour shiploader travels alongside a berthed ship on rails on a 200-metre wharf. Reach across the holds is provided by a shuttling head on the boom to ensure even loading and a telescoping loading chute minimises dust generation. The chute directs coal 360° around the hold to make sure the hatch is fully and evenly loaded.


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Q: Mexican Port Cranes Updated with Cutting Edge DC Drives

THE CHALLENGE

With cranes that were nearly 40 years old, keeping them operational had become difficult due to increasing downtime and escalating maintenance costs. Mechanically they were in good condition but electrically they were not. Replacement parts for the old DC drives had become almost impossible to find and could take weeks to obtain, leading to unacceptable downtime.


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Q: Drive Improves Control and Cuts Energy Usage

THE CHALLENGE

Pantec sought to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ultraviolet drying and curing systems widely used in the printing and manufacturing industries. Machine printing and production speeds are limited by the UV curing rate, so improvements in the accuracy of control of the UV curing system can have major effects on the overall output. The company’s vision was to use a standard drive platform merging cost-effectiveness and the reliability of a proven technology. Having worked closely with the Control Techniques for several years, Pantec Engineering had experienced the Unidrive SP range’s versatility, which met most of the UV-application’s requirements – voltage, current and frequency control, communication with all industry-standard networks, as well as having powerful on-board processing capabilities.


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Q: High Performance Drives Crucial to Green Project

THE CHALLENGE

By successfully controlling and linking several interlinked renewable energy sources at West Beacon Farm, Beacon Energy is able to be virtually independent from the national grid. When the company was developing the integrated system, it searched the market for high-performing drives.


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Q: Tests Completed on Advanced Generator for Wind Turbines

THE CHALLENGE

Operating and maintenance costs have become a growing issue, particularly for off-shore wind farms. To overcome this, Control Techniques designed a brushless doubly-fed induction generator to make the wind turbine more reliable and also reduce the size requirement for the associated converter to one third of the generator rating.


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Q: Versatile Drives Chosen for Wave Energy project

THE CHALLENGE

One of two 250 kW counter rotating turbines at the ‘Limpet’ (Land installed marine powered energy transformer) unit was removed to provide a test-bed for a new design of small turbo-generator that can be incorporated into breakwaters, coastal defences, land reclamation, port walls and community power schemes. Due to this being a development project, flexibility with on-board programming was essential.


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Q: Wind Turbine Company Chooses Unidrive SP

THE CHALLENGE

Electrical engineering company, HS Harbon & Sons, went into partnership with local businessman Richard Crowe to set up Harbon Wind Turbines. The company’s aim was to design an advanced cost-effective concept turbine that would outperform the products of established suppliers. For the turbine to be efficient, it needed the ability to change the rotor speed.


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Q: Michelin Dundee Dramatically Cuts Energy Usage

THE CHALLENGE

While making considerable investment into its Dundee plant to boost production and create new jobs, as part of its commitment to the environment, Michelin wanted to cut its annual energy consumption by a massive 1,500 MWh. In addition to supplying cooling water for production requirements, the new cooling plant at the Dundee plant also needed to supply chilled water to the air handling units to cool the factory in the summer months. In the winter, the same system needed to provide heating.


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Q: Drives Provide Unique Cost Saving Solution in the Water Industry

THE CHALLENGE

‘Ragging’ – the fouling of pump impellers – is a costly, ongoing problem faced by water companies the world over. As well as it being a dirty unpleasant task, the cost of clearing a blocked pump in a dirty water facility is expensive, involving a maintenance team and sometimes a crane. Downtime may extend to several days during which time back-up systems are under additional pressure. A total system failure can result in effluent leakage with implications for the environment, human health, cleanup costs and breaches of legislation.


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Q: AC Drives Improve Safety of Woodworking Machines

THE CHALLENGE

Tighter requirements for the emergency stop feature on woodworking machines, which stops the heavy, high-speed vertical milling heads moving when an access door is opened, were brought in, meaning that DC brakes were no longer up to the task. Krüsi turned to Fichter and Zimmerli for a solution.


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Q: Drives cut operating costs at Swiss sawmill

THE CHALLENGE:

To be able to compete in a very aggressive European marketplace, Scierie Zahnd SA needed to significantly increase their timber output without experiencing a corresponding rise in energy consumption and operating costs.


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Q: Latvian Boiler Company Cuts Costs with Commander SK Drives

THE CHALLENGE

SIA GRANDEG was seeking expansion and to do so needed to develop its range of boilers. The biggest growth potential for the company was the domestic sector in northern Europe, Russia and other (CIS) countries, where a sophisticated product is required. To meet customers’ demands, SIA GRANDEG wanted to supply a boiler with much better performance and greater reliability.


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Q: Control Techniques drives continuous slab caster at Corus Steelworks

THE CHALLENGE:

Continuous Caster 3 (CC3) was a completely new operation, designed to increase plant output 25%. Previous contracts for Control Techniques had been upgrades, re-utilising existing DC drives. On this project, the team considered the potential benefits of reduced motor maintenance and the reduced downtime from a switch to AC.


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Q: Intelligent Drives Chosen for Precision Metal Cutting

THE CHALLENGE

In order to meet market demand and produce a more competitive product, CAMU needed to reduce the maintenance required and increase reliability of their drives.


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Q: Revolutionary Rotacaster Rocks and Rolls with Commander SK Drives

THE CHALLENGE

Precise and independent control of acceleration, final speed, and deceleration of both axes is crucial in the production of quality castings. The new Rotacaster evenly distributes moulding compound within an empty mould, to create a hollow and light weight model. The dual axis machine also has a “Rock and Roll” feature, ideal for long, narrow moulds that require a gentle rocking motion instead of a complete spin. In this mode, the primary arm is controlled by two adjustable proximity switches that limit the degree of swing, while the turntable simultaneously rotates at the required speed.


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Q: Servo Drives Used for Precision Cutting with Style

THE CHALLENGE

STYLE was searching for more dynamic and flexible drives to incorporate in their machines when they came across Control Techniques’ Rotterdam Drive Centre. Anton Lammers, STYLE Technical Director said, “We looked at 12 drives suppliers and found that Control Techniques was the best for us in several ways.”


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