Elite Power Transmissions in Ashford Kent has developed and supplied a complete AC replacement for an ageing DC motor and drive on a plastics extruder. The client, also based in Kent, has several extruder lines for thermoplastics and required a quality solution for this tough application. A combination of a 200kW TEC motor and a compact drive solution has proved ideal.  

Rob Banks, Managing Director at Elite commented, “We won the contract to supply this system based on meeting the customer’s cost versus performance criteria, while working within the existing equipment envelope. Our solution required minimal adaptation of the existing motor bed, the drive was fitted within the limited original panel space available and we utilised the original gearbox.”

The replaced motor, an ABB unit had become expensive to maintain due to wear and tear. “DC machines of this vintage typically require replacement brushes and commutators on a fairly regular basis. AC is now far less expensive to run, especially when the cost of downtime is considered.

“The AC solution had to match the main performance advantage of DC which is 100% torque from zero rpm. This suits extruders, so the AC system had to deliver reliable high-load operation and frequent high torque starts. We achieved this by using a tough motor with good power density, in combination with an advanced variable speed drive.

“The replacement AC motor came from TEC, which is our preferred choice. We’ve supplied hundreds of TEC motors over recent years and never had a single quality or performance issue. The T3C model we chose is sealed to IP55 so the dust that must have caused problems for the DC unit was now not an issue. We were able to order the TEC motor direct from UK stock, specifying an insulated non drive end bearing and a force vent fan option, which were included without affecting delivery times.”

Since the TEC motor is compatible with a range of drive options, Rob and his team were able to choose a specific VSD that provided the required performance parameters alongside optimised motor power management for the extruder application. It also fitted inside the cabinet space left by the original DC controls which was tight. The motor bed was updated by the customer and a new coupling was also supplied by the customer.

“Working with a knowledgeable customer makes our job far easier”, adds Banks, “They recognised that our solution was not just cost competitive, but also built to last. Extruders are demanding applications for electrical power, drive and transmission equipment, so quality was paramount. Efficiency was also a factor, and having considered an IE2 option previously, as well as an IE4 solution from us, the best compromise for total cost of ownership was deemed to be an IE3 motor combined with the advanced drive technology.

“Good service counts for a lot and working with TEC makes a big difference for us. I’ve worked with Martin, Scott and the team at TEC since we started Elite and have been able to rely on them not only to supply a good product, but also to be flexible when we need them to be. This confidence allows us to offer a competitive solution to our customer, knowing that supply of the components we specify is assured.”

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