Omron Application Story Featuring MX2 AC Drives
The customer described in this Application Story is a manufacturer of food handling equipment. They design and manufacture special conveying equipment that allows for cooling and heating to take place over a longer period of time while maintaining product throughput.
Knowing the types of machines the customer builds, Steve Harrold, one of Knotts Co's Strategic Account Managers, made contact with the customer to introduce them to Omron's newest MX2 AC Drive. The initial interest from the customer was solid. He mentioned that he may have an application in mind where something like the MX2 might make things work a little smoother. He wouldn't give up much information, but we decided to get the Omron factory specialist in for a face-to-face with the customer to iron out the details. What we didn't realize is that we were walking in to a perfect fit application for the Omron MX2 AC Drive.
From the beginning of the meeting the customer was being reserved and listening intently to the bullet points of why the MX2 is so good. He stopped Richard Sowah, Omron's Drives Marketing Manager, after one particular key feature (EZ-Coms) and said, "OK. That's what I needed to hear." From that point he proceeded to tell us of his prototype project and what he needed to accomplish with the drives to make this new product the leading edge machine in their industry.
The current machine uses two drives, one large and one small, to make the system run. One of the drives controls a large motor, around 10hp, to spin the entire conveying system while the other smaller drive pulls the belt through machine. Tensioning the belt becomes touchy and requires hands-on tweaking to get it right. Also, when the conveyor is loaded with product, the tension changes due to the added friction which can cause jams and poor system performance. The new prototype will employ many smaller drives linked together through the MX2's EZ-Coms (built-in 2-wire RS-485 based communications). This will allow for a single drive to be set as the master with the others (up to 31) linked together as slaves. The master would set the pace of the system and the other slaves would be following along based on their setup. This style of setup does not require a large PLC to communicate to each drive individually so the customer will save a considerable amount of money on the controls end of things.
At this point, the MX2 solution would add complexity to the tensioning setup that is already a little tedious in the current machine. To remedy this issue, and make it even easier to setup than the current machine, encoder pulses will be fed directly into the individual drives to monitor the actual speed of the motor. Also, using the EZ Flow Chart programming included in the MX2 drive, a PID instruction will constantly monitor the tension on the individual motors and adjust on the fly. What this creates is a complete and automatic semi closed-loop tensioning system for multiple axes all based off of the single master drive's frequency setting. Furthermore, when a load is applied to the belt (product dropped onto it), the drive will immediately compensate by increasing the torque and maintain the proper motor speed effectively reducing the possibilities of jams and system throughput decreases. Overall, this application was a perfect fit for the features and capabilities of Omron's MX2 AC Drive.
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