The objective of all logistical activities is to integrate, transport and distribute flows of goods and information. Modern drive and communication technology plays an important role in ensuring the required performance and flexibility. These do not depend on the individual components – it is the complete system design that counts. Movigear, a decentralised mechatronic drive system, is SEW-Eurodrive’s future-oriented response to the technical challenges of intralogistics.
The author: Helmut Keller Engineering Geared Motors & AC Drives, SEW-Eurodrive
Today, intralogistics constantly faces new challenges. Whereas in the past, the movement of goods within plants was optimised for a particular product or production process, nowadays flexibility is the top priority. A company that is capable of reacting quickly to new markets and requirements has a significant competitive edge. New ideas, products and topologies are also in demand to meet these challenges. The main task of intralogistics is to integrate, transport and distribute goods and information quickly, reliably and intelligently. The components used for this purpose should make an optimal contribution, yet remain in the background where they deliver the best possible performance and flexibility.
Reduction from three to one
With Movigear, its mechatronic drive system, SEW has shown its commitment to system optimisation. This compact drive unit can be started up without any time-consuming parameterisation and subscribes to a completely new installation topology. Whereas up to three different lines are traditionally used in the field (power, communication, sensor supply), Movigear has a single cable, saving both time and money. Not only does this mean huge potential economies for intralogistics systems, it also makes it easier to diagnose and search for faults and shortens commissioning times. For the retrofit of a transport line with 39 drives at Coca-Cola Hellenic Austria the mechanical system conversion was completed over a long weekend, from Friday morning to Sunday evening. In this short period of time, the old drives were disconnected and removed by mecha-nical means, then Movigear was mechanically mounted, electrically installed and commissioned. On Monday morning, normal production resumed in the bottling plant.
In SNI (Single Line Network Installation) technology, a carrier frequency with modulated data signals, is run through an existing installation. The special challenge for SEW was to optimise this system for use in industry. With the Movigear drive system, the power supply is superimposed with carrier frequencies in the range from 4.5 to 25 MHz. This is done using a decentralised supply node such as Movifit SNI. In a bus structure, this node distributes power and communications to up to ten mechatronic drive systems. The data transfer rate can reach 14 Mbit/s. In a single line, a distance of up to 100 m can be bridged from the supply to the last station. Compared to WLAN, Single Line Network Installation is securer and has faster transfer speeds, especially in industrial environment. In contrast to WLAN, the thick walls and steel structures that are usually found in industrial systems do not impair the transfer quality. If there is any interference with the power supply, OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) with 84 carrier frequencies can be used to hide the interrupted transfer frequency automatically, ensuring that the data transfer is not affected.
SEW-Eurodrive’s Ethernet based technology provides a future-proof communication concept with comprehensive data transfer, parameterisation, diagnostics and remote maintenance. The Movigear drive unit is equipped with decentralised intelligence and predefined functions for conveyor elements and groups. The user functions, for example for a pallet conveyor, no longer require extensive programming or central control. Instead, these functions are easy to parameterise. The binary inputs and outputs necessary to execute the functions are imported and processed locally in the Movigear drive system. This reduces response times as well as bus loads, and the freed-up resources of the higher-level controller can be used for another purpose.
The whole mechatronic drive system – not just one individual component – offers amazing potential for optimising systems. All Movigear’s components are developed systematically, which makes them extremely reliable. The efficiency of all components – gear units, synchronous motor and electronics – contributes to reducing the overall and operating costs of a conveyor system. Other advantages include the compact design, high degree of protection and low noise emissions. The hygienic surface design of the mechatronic system also makes it ideal for applications in the food industry.
Fast conversion, perfect results
When Coca-Cola Hellenic Austria decided to modernise transport line 2a of its bottling plant in Vienna, the top priority was to reduce energy consumption significantly and get the system up and running again quickly and easily after the conversion. With detailed calculations, SEW was able to show that the transport system could attain the highest level of energy efficiency using Movigear. SEW sector manager Tobias Nittel explains: “The individual mechatronic components may be slightly more expensive than conventional solutions, but these products provide the customer with clear added value that quickly translates into financial benefits: lower energy consumption, reduced installation costs, shorter commissioning times and simpler maintenance and diagnostics. Cleaning is easy, too; less water and detergent are needed”.
In under six months, the responsible employees at the beverage company successfully organised the conversion of their beverage line – from filing the budget and taking care of the technical planning all the way to fully utilising the narrow time window for the conversion. At the beginning of 2010, everything was ready: transport line 2a, with a total of 39 standard geared motors including the control, had to be replaced as part of the modernisation. Thanks to the new overall solution, Coca-Cola Hellenic Austria was able to reduce the energy consumption of its transport line by a sensational 75% (compared to the technology previously in use). These savings were achieved by multiple measures carried out in parallel and the investment was recovered in less than one year.
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