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Control Techniques Manufacturer Showcase

Established in 1972 in Newtown, Wales, this industrial part manufacturer owned by the Nidec Corporation continues to provide high quality AC Drives and motor control management products today. In this post, we will be showcasing some of the classes and parts Control Techniques has to offer.

Unidrive
The Unidrive line of products from Control Techniques includes devices like brushless AC servo motors. The Unidrive Classic series drives are available in five different sizes and twenty-six different models, allowing you to fit one of these devices in almost any existing automation system. This series of drives have enough built in parameters to meet most task demands.

UNI2403 by Control Techniques

The Unidrive Classic series offers complete I/O configurability, advanced position control, programmable logic functions, regeneration mode for four-quadrant operations, high speed communications for quick feedback, preset macros for simplified operations and more.

Focus DC
The Focus DC line of products are solid state analog DC drives built to last reliably in almost all environments. This family has regenerative models and different enclosure kits available to offer a wide range of custom configurations. Optional kits for these drives include ones that offer toggle switches, signal isolation, M contactor kits, dynamic braking and tachometer feedback modules.

Commander SE
The Commander SE line of products offer flexibility in many automated systems by being the top choice for microdrives. They are built to be rugged machines that can stay physically stable and constantly sit at correct temperatures. These devices are shipped with shipped with firmware that makes first time setup and installation as easy as possible, including the parameters that immediately meet the needs of most drive applications.

Commander SE products by Control Techniques

The Commander SE series offers full control of all levels of parameters, visualization of terminal connections, multiple motor speed preset settings, open loop vector control, fully configurable analog/digital Input/Output settings, sequenced switching between multiple parameters and communications via DeviceNet, PROFIBUS DP and Interbus S.

Unidrive SP
The Unidrive SP series comes in both free-standing and modular forms. The SP modular offers all the benefits of the normal Unidrive SP system along with more intense system power configurations. It is easily able to be connected together to create almost any custom setup necessary. Parallel drives are used together for higher powered motors. These drives are built to last and are flexible.

Some additional modules include SPMA AC in / DC out Drive, SPMC AC in / DC out Rectifier, SPMD DC in / AC out Inverter, SM Control MASTER, SM Control SLAVE, SPM Power Selector.

MRO Electric and Supply offers a variety of new and refurbished Control Techniques devices. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Product Spotlight: Square D EDB34030 Circuit Breaker

The Square D EDB34030 is a three pole, 30 Ampere circuit breaker. At 277V, this miniature breaker is reliable, sustainable, efficient and safe.

Part Number: EDB34030
Item Weight: 3.6lbs
Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.1 x 4.5 inches
Voltage: 480V
Amperage: 30A
Trip Rating; 875A
Mounting Mode: Bolt-on
Interruption Rating: 18kA

Square D EDB breakers by Schneider Electric are available in a range of amperages varying from 20A to 60A. This particular model, the EBD34030, is 30A.
This breaker is set apart from other breakers because of its compact size at 9.7 x 6.1 x 4.5 inches, while the typical breaker is around 8 x 8 x 12 inches. As a bolt on mount, it is preferred in commercial and industrial applications where vibrations might be considered an issue. When installing, be sure to use the recommended #12-#6 AWG AI or #14-#6 AWG Cu Lug wire. This breaker is ideal for NF series panel-boards to offer superior overload and short circuit stability by utilizing thermal magnetic protection. It is also HACR rated, UL listed and CSA certified.

MRO Electric and Supply stocks Square D circuit breakers, including the EDB34030. For more information or to request a quote, please contact us at 800-691-8511 or at sales@mroelectric.com.

What are circuit breakers?

A circuit breaker is a preventative safety device that detects and stops a circuit if the current is insufficient or in excess. These devices help insure the stability of the electric current in our buildings. Unlike fuses, breakers are reusable and can be consistently relied upon to break a circuit to protect us from potential electrical fires.

How do they work?

A breaker is comprised of a few basic components. A switch is connected to an electromagnet that allows electricity to flow from the bottom to the top terminals.

Source:
http://spmphysics.onlinetuition.com.my/2008/06/uses-of-electromagnet-circuit-breaker.html

With current running through the electromagnet, it becomes magnetized. If the current is suddenly increased, the magnet becomes strong enough to pull down a metal lever attached to the switch linkage. By doing so, the contacts are broken and the electricity is powered off.

What’s the difference between certain breakers?

Residential Circuit breakers- Used in common household wiring to protect electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and fans. Electrical panels can also be designed to have one breaker controlling one specific or multiple outlets in a room that shut off when overloaded.

Industrial Circuit breakers- Used with much larger electrical current applications for warehouses, factories, and other large industrial locations. They can be used to insure safety of the plant equipment, lighting, business systems, air conditioning and wiring.

Voltage– Describes the ‘pressure’ of the electricity. The most common voltages of breakers are . Most household voltage is 120V, with larger appliances around 240V.
Amperage– Measures strength of the current in amperes. Common amperages include 15A, 20A, 25A, up to 6000A.
Pole number– Describes the number of completely separate circuits that can be protected by a circuit breaker at the same time. These include single-pole, double-pole, triple-pole and tandem pole breakers.
Installation location/External Design– Breakers can be designed to be indoor or outdoor based on the application. Different enclosures can be made to withstand different weather conditions.
Interrupting Mechanism– Other breaker designs include air circuit, oil circuit, vacuum circuit, MCB, MCCB, GFI, GFCI and AFCI breakers. While these all serve the same purpose of breaking electrical current in the event of unstable electric power consumption, they have different means of interrupting the current.


Visit MRO Electric and Supply’s website to see all of our available Circuit Breakers. If we don’t have what you need listed on the site, contact us at sales@mroelectric.com or (800)691-8511 and we will be happy to help.

Considerations for buying automated parts

What are automated parts used for?

Automation is crucial in manufacturing and is the backbone of our industries. Robots can automate highly variant, dangerous and exhausting tasks in a high-quality and cost effective way. By increasing productivity at a lower cost, maximum cost efficiency is reached, which is ideal in a business setting.

What should I be looking for when buying automated parts?

There are a number of things to keep in mind when buying automated parts for your warehouse or setup. Below is a basic guide with questions to ask yourself to make the process a little easier.

Is there a warranty? If so, for how long?

Protect your investment on your automated parts. Warranties are important in insuring that your part is functioning as intended and in getting what you paid for. Make sure you check under what instances a warranty can be claimed and how long the warranty lasts. Are there detachable parts within the automated component that are covered? MRO Electric and Supply offers a minimum 12-month warranty on all listed parts.

Is the part compatible with the machinery that is already there?

There are a multitude of environments that certain parts can be more oriented towards, including in aerospace and automotive manufacturing, food processing plants or laboratories. It is essential that the part be used in the correct application to be effective. It is obviously important that the automated component works with the setup already in place. Some additional compatibility questions to ask yourself before buying:

Does the weight or form factor impact its compatibility? Is space an issue?

Many people are eager to buy large parts for their warehouses without considering the space to put them. Consider the part and its intended configuration. Include additional equipment that comes along with the part like peripherals, fencing, light curtains or mat guards.

Will the condition of the part affect its lifespan in this application? Is there a newer, better part for this application?

Check to see if the part is new, used or refurbished, and if the condition will affect its application. Many industrial parts are discontinued as new technologies evolve, and while these legacy parts are still useful, newer components might work more efficiently or effectively. Check to see if there are any advantages or disadvantages to older and newer generations of your part and weigh your options.

Visit MRO Electric and Supply’s website to see our selection of automated parts from manufacturers like Yaskawa, Modicon, Control Techniques, Siemens, and FANUC. If we don’t have what you need listed on the site, contact us at sales@mroelectric.com or (800)691-8511 and we will be happy to help.

ATS48 Soft Start Troubleshooting and Introduction

The Altistart 48(ATS48) series of soft starters by Square D allows for consistent start/stop rates that are independent of motor loads. These devices are more advanced than the standard drives that cannot control the applied motor torque. Featuring contact wiring and control, the soft starter allows for near-seamless integration with existing operations. Many preset parameters are included with the device and they cover a large spectrum of operations. Additional parameters may also be loaded up to meet specific needs. Available power ratings include:

  • 3 – 200 HP @ 208VAC, 60 Hz
  • 5 – 250 HP @ 230VAC, 60 Hz
  • 10 – 500 HP @ 460VAC, 60 Hz
  • 15 – 600 HP @ 575VAC, 60Hz

The ATS48 series features a dual configuration of two motors which allows for a cascaded start/stop in many operations. Using the Torque Control System(TCS) the unit can minimize wear on gears which allows for less time servicing the unit.

The Altistart 48 series takes advantage of the PowerSuite™ software for programming of your drive or soft starter.  With this software, you will be able to monitor and document all of your operations. Configurations are easily saved via hard disk, CD-ROM, flash memory, etc. Using Ethernet technology, the user is able to configure and monitor operations on the go, and a constant feed of information allows for real-time opportunity to modify and adjust configuration files on the fly.

Troubleshooting can be an issue for people when so many different things are going on. It just isn’t feasible to stop operations every time an error occurs. Below is a list of fault codes for the ATS48 Soft Start series that will help determine most issues:

Fault CodeDescription
nLP
rdY
Soft start without run command and:
• Line power not supplied
• Line power supplied
tbSStarting time delay not elapsed
HEAMotor preheating in progress
(Use SUP menu to set up monitoring
parameter. Factory setting: Motor Current.)
Soft start with run command
brLSoft start braking
StbWaiting for a command (RUN or STOP) in
cascade mode
CFF Invalid configuration on power-up
CFI Invalid configuration
CLFLoss of Control Power
EEFInternal memory fault
EtFExternal fault
ErFLine frequency out of tolerance
InFInternal fault
LrFLocked rotor fault
OCFOvercurrent fault
OHFSoft start overheating fault
OLCCurrent overload fault
OLFMotor overload/ground fault
OtFMotor thermal fault detected by PTC probes
PHFLoss of line or motor phase
PIFPhase reversal fault
SLFSerial link fault
StFExcessive starting time
ULFMotor underload fault
USFLack of AC line power on a run command

MRO Electric and Supply carries all models of this unit and has a fast and easy repair service to get your unit fixed and back into your hands as soon as possible.

Benefits of Upgrading Your HMI to LCD Technology

Human Machine Interfaces, or HMI’s, are used extensively throughout the world to control and monitor automated machinery.  These devices provide touchpad and visual interaction to control manufacturing processes and perform daily tasks.  One of the most recognized HMI devices is the Automated Teller Machine (ATM).  These ATM devices intuitively interface with users through a keypad and monitor to readily transact bank deposits and dispense cash withdrawals.  They provide reliable 24-hour access to our daily banking needs.

siemens

Various HMI devices are common throughout industry.  Many older HMI devices contain the original Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor technology.  This older technology burdens the users and owner with several disadvantages:

  1. High Energy Consumption – The CRT technology is not considered energy efficient.  It requires more power to operate than the newer LCD technology.  CRT screens consume 3 – 4 times the energy when compared to the LCD screens.
  2. Expensive to maintain – CRT repairs are becoming more specialized and expensive as the workforce transitions to the newer technologies.
  3. Obsolete Components – CRT technology is outdated and beyond its life cycle.  Components required to support repair are becoming obsolete and expensive if available.
  4. Avoid costly new operator interface packages – MRO upgrades to LCD technology maintain the interface packages with your existing equipment (frames, communication connections, power sources, etc.).  Updated HMI’s from MRO are plug-n-play.
  5. Better Reliability – Heat generated by the CRT technology often shortens the life of the electrical circuit components.  CRT monitors tend to have a life of 18,000 to 20,000 hours.  LCD monitors provide more than 100,000 hours life.
  6. Clarity of Picture, Crisp Image – LCD’s make the screen burn often associated with CRT’s a thing of the past.  LCD image display is much clearer for the operator and will not fade.

MRO provides an HMI service to update your old CRT displays to LCD technology and new keypads.  This approach is a low-cost upgrade to superior technology with no risks. Visit our repair page, call us, or email us for an instant quote on fixing, swapping, or purchasing your new HMI device.

Our top HMI manufacturers include:

Workforce Automation and Robots

FANUC Robotics

Workforce Automation and Robots

Automation has been in mind for not just decades, but centuries. Whether we’re talking about those who worked in flour mills or those who dealt with windmills, automated processes have always been on inventors’ minds. While automation would technically result in job losses, the increased prevalence of robots and robotics parts (FANUC Robotic Parts found at MRO Electric)  in the manufacturing, packaging, and engineering space would result in interesting implications for consumers, employees, companies, organizations, etc.

Does Workforce Automation Result in Job Losses?

Many are convinced that automation will come and take over a majority of the work done by humans in the next few decades, and some feel as though their jobs are safe. Let us take China for example. China is one of the most dominant manufacturing hubs in the world, supplying a huge chunk of the world’s electronics products. Over the past few years, Chinas’ factories cut human workforce by an astounding average of 50%, due to the increased prevalence of robots.

Are there Advantages of Workforce Automation?

Although there is definitely a negative side of workforce automation, do positive sides exist? Customers could experience, to an extent, cheaper and more effective services and products. This would be due to the cost savings of the autonomous robotics, which yield a one-time fee along with other basic upkeep costs. Lower production costs would also make it possible to build items in the U.S. vs overseas, which many would prefer.

 Automation Limits?

There are limits to mostly everything, and automation is no exception. Short product life cycles that quickly become obsolete and ability to entertain fully-custom projects do not fit into an automation system. For example, paying for a large number of robots to build an electronic product that will become obsolete in less than a year would not be a smart decision from a business standpoint. The ability to be flexible and custom is imperative when concerning several products in several different markets.

What does Second Machine Age Mean?

Robotics in machine automation is becoming a larger part of the workforce as time goes on. Some companies plan to simply increase production levels with the help of robots and robotics parts while keeping their employee count the same and reassigning their workers to other positions within the company. With the addition of robots and robotic parts in the workplace, workers will be needed to maintain robots, calibrate and monitor them, analyze data and more.

The rise of robots and robotic parts is unavoidable in several niches. Today’s technological prosperity is changing tomorrow’s workforce for good. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC Robotics parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Lastly, be sure to check out our articles on boosting factory automation productivity here.

LCD Retrofitting Benefits

LCD Retrofit

LCD Retrofitting Benefits

Part 1: CRT to LCD Retrofits

Many professionals in the automation space that have a CNC Machine (such as FANUC CNC parts found here) in their shop deal with pesky issues from time-to-time. One common issue for those who use CNC machines would be CRT monitors that begin showing their age. Several of our customers have been in this situation, feel as though they’re left with two choices: repair their CRT monitors, or replace them.

To be clear, those are not the only two options. The main reasons:

1.) it’s often time-consuming to pinpoint a CRT Replacement part.

2.) It is not cost-effective to have the CRT monitor repaired.

 Our alternative to the two options: an LCD retrofit (found in FANUC Displays and Controls) .

The advantages of retrofitting or upgrading a CRT monitor with an LCD retrofit are:

    • Improved screen visibility
    • Increased life of CNC Machine
  • Decrease amount of electricity used during operation

Part 2: Floppy Disk to USB Drive Retrofits

Another outdated piece we have encountered in the machine automation space? a floppy disk.  

Floppy disks are still in use today for some, often causing issues. By implementing an updated, customized USB flash drive, several issues can likely be avoided. What is now a slow and obsolete tool, the floppy disk is still in use with some of our clients and causing problems.  Our recommendation is a new custom-built USB flash drive solution.

Upgrading to a USB drive is usually a straightforward process. No changes or system configurations are necessary during this process, and yes, it will work on CNC machines and other devices that still use the floppy drive.

Nobody likes the costs of downtime including those in the machine automation space.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC products available, including LCD Retrofit products. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Siemens’ Update Broadens Toolset for Digitization in Machine Shop Environments

Siemens CNC

Siemens’ Update Broadens Toolset for Digitization in Machine Shop Environments

The most recent update from Siemens’ NX software coalesces the next generation of tools concerning additive manufacturing, CNC (computer numeric control) machining, robotics, and, last but not least, quality inspection to enable the digitalization of part manufacturing within a single, cohesive end-to-end system.

Up-to-date automation competence for computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), including robotic programming, adaptive milling, and tooling design, provide innovative, industry-specific technology to help deliver high-quality products to the market in less time. The new NX Machining Line Planner tool, combined with integrated NX CAM software for feature-based machining, provides new capabilities for industries with high-volume production of complicated parts, such as automotive and industrial machinery. The latest version of NX continues to support end-to-end solutions for additive manufacturing, helping manufacturers realize the goal of using 3D printing for industrial production.

Part manufacturers proceed to face increased pressures from modified market expectations, with customers who require optimized accuracy and faster response times. In order to remain competitive, many part manufacturers look to digitalization, which connects all of the steps of part manufacturing planning and production with a single source of information, or a digital thread. Implementing a digital strategy can enable part manufacturers of all sizes to take greater advantage of automation, adopt 3D printing for production, and ultimately expand into new market opportunities and reduce time to delivery.

State-of-the-art automation enhancements within the latest version of NX provide powerful ways to expand production efficiency and decrease cost. Robotic programming technology provides the ability to automate complete manufacturing cells, including programming robots to perform machining. Adaptive milling and tube milling are new capabilities that provide innovative ways to automate CNC machines and accelerate cutting of complex parts. Adaptive milling is a high-speed cutting method that leverages automation within NX to decrease machining cycles by up to 60 percent while extending tool life. Tube milling streamlines the 5-axis programming process by eliminating preparation and minimizing inputs, utilizing advanced capabilities to create ideal tool paths and minimize errors in machining on the shop floor.

Mold and die manufacturers can now accordingly dictate tool production costs through integration between NX and the Teamcenter portfolio. Engineers can now use NX to automatically recognize features and parameters on the desired part, and provide pertinent information to Teamcenter, which can precisely calculate the tool cost. The newly integrated capabilities of Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions can enable tool manufacturers to win more orders and increase profit margins through automated costing and accurate quotations.

New to this version, NX Machining Line Planner, combined with integrated NX CAM, enables the feature recognition, distribution, balancing, programming and simulation of operations over multiple setups and machines. Particularly helpful for industries with high-volume production of complicated parts with many features, NX Machining Line Planner uses a digital twin of the complete machining line and NX CAM feature-based machining technology to optimize the entire process. NX Machining Line Planner, combined with the power of the digital twin, offers a truly unique solution that enables automotive and machinery manufacturers to reduce planning time and increase overall production results.

The newest version also inflates the new additive manufacturing solution in NX by including the new module, NX AM for HP Multi Jet Fusion, which is certified by HP and powered by Materialise, to prepare print jobs for HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printers. The NX software module will allow customers to develop and manage parts in a single software environment for Multi Jet Fusion printing solutions, avoid costly and time-consuming data conversions and third-party tools, and improve their overall design-to-finished-part workflow efficiency.

Additionally, Siemens develops applications for additive manufacturing process simulation in Simcenter 3D, a crucial tool to help manufacturers industrialize additive manufacturing by printing components the first-time-right. These simulation applications are an integral part of the Siemens’  additive manufacturing solution. Increasing productivity is one goal for most of those in the automation space (check out boosting factory automation productivity here). MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Siemens products available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Maintaining Automation Machine Tools

Maintaining Automation Machine Tools Maintaining Automation Machine Tools

Properly maintaining automation machine tools and machine parts (such as Control Techniques Unidrives found here) is the only way to avoid issues from a performance and durability perspective. Whether it’s an attachment, cleaning or routine check-up, keeping machinery tools up-to-date is imperative. Monsterous losses could very well occur from a business and production standpoint if maintenance is not prioritized, which nobody wants to run into.

Machine Tools’ Lubrication:
 Lubrication is one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to any automation machines. Generally, regularly inspecting lubrication levels is a great place to start. If you notice decreased lubrication levels throughout a period of time, be sure to schedule a weekly check-in and carefully monitor. Regularly protecting machines’ motors, including oiling and greasing of their moving parts, cannot be avoided.
Sharpen Key Parts

When concerning machine tools that feature components engineered for cutting, slicing, or chopping, ensuring their parts maintain their sharpness is a must. Consult with a specialist to determine if the machines’ parts are in proper condition, and also be sure that their parts are sharpened properly also.

Verify alignment specifications

Another strategy to maintain factory automation tools and parts (such as the Modicon Quantum CPU 140CPU43412A) is to ensure you’re aware of the appropriate verification of alignment specifications. Product or component misalignment may be detrimental to a machine’s performance. By performing a handful of test jobs to check the tools’ alignment, you’ll be able to adjust accordingly.

Examine the cleanliness

Ensure all machine tools are cleaned daily or weekly, depending on the user guides’ instructions. Machines often collect a large amount of dirt and filth when operated, which may result in long-term issues if not tended to appropriately.

Understand Correct Power Mode 

By routinely inspecting the working mode of machines and setting them to the appropriate power mode, issues can be avoided such as overworking a machine or running a machine too slowly, which could cause debris. Refer to the machine’s operating manual to understand appropriate power modes associated with specific machines.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Modicon Quantum CPUs and Control Techniques Unidrives products available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.