25% Production Improvement from Loadcell Upgrade

That tension indicator on your web processing machine might not seem too important when the machine is running well. However, when web breakages become more frequent and operators are adjusting dials to tease the machine into starting and stopping without causing web wrap-ups or sheet breakages then something is definitely amiss.

Loadcells Old srcset=

New” width=”1265″ height=”630″> Loadcells Old > New

Loadcell failures may remain undetected for years. Even the total failure of one loadcell in a pair may not be picked up as the material may tolerate the higher tension being introduced as a result.

Tension Indicator Unit

One customer of ours had suffered for many years with loadcell drift, requiring the machine to be regularly recalibrated. This was until they finally gave us the go-ahead to upgrade all of their loadcells with units from ABB.

Following installation and commissioning by Optima’s engineers, the results have exceeded their expectations. Productivity on the machine rose by 25%, with web breakouts now a distant memory. Senior management questioned why they hadn’t done this 5 years previously.

You see there is a difference between loadcells. Conventional units rely on strain gauges which can be broken by overload or misuse. What machine owner hasn’t experienced issues with incorrect use of their equipment by operators which can of course occur by accident or mistakes?

The ABB units we install as part of our web transport system upgrades or as a stand-alone improvement are truly a fit and forget solution. From versions that are acid resistant (for use on the wet end of paper machines) to radial and pillowblock types, there is a design and tension rating to suit any application.

The tension indicator units are robust enough to be mounted externally meaning engineers and operators can very easily check the tension reading from either or both loadcells during operation or maintenance. Factor in one-touch calibration and you can see why these units are our first choice.


PanelView HMI Upgrades

Using the latest migration strategies, upgrading a failing HMI panel can cost less than you think. Optima recently migrated a PC-based HMI system to the latest PanelView HMI. 

The project involved removal of the old PC-Based system including UPS, Industrial Computer and separate touch-screen HMI.

Some challenges with this project were maintaining compatibility with the legacy DF-1 serial communications. This did limit the choice of new HMI’s but the new unit fitted will remain supported by Rockwell Automation for may years to come.

Plus, we fitted a shiny new bezel at the time to make it look “as-installed”.

Safety Control System Upgrade

Pilz Pnoz Multi Guardmaster Safety Relays

Optima recently completed an installation for a complete upgrade of a machinery safety control system.

The project required the bespoke manufacture of control backplates and the integration of multiple hardware elements including AC drives, DC Drives, Pneumatics and Hydraulics.

Optima have achieved the Machinery Safety accreditation qualifications as specified by TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH. Other integrators may supply machinery safety systems, but do they have the qualifications to back this up?

Optima can provide the assurance you need that our systems are designed to the correct performance level (PL) or safety integrity level (SIL) that your machine requires. If you don’t know what the PL or SIL value should be , we can also provide independent PUWER reports through our network of surveyors. Whatever your safety requirements are, Optima have it covered.

Completion of Large Motor Test Rigs

Siemens G-Series drives have just been incorporated into a bespoke motor test rig.

We’ve just completed another set of control panels for a large motor test rig using Siemens G-Series drives. The work was carried out at our fully-equipped panel workshop in Blackburn. We’ve two more to build now!

Large AC Motor Test Rig Panel

Large AC Motor Test Rig Panel with Two Siemens G120 Drives

Don’t replace old for old. Replace old with new!

Should you really replace like-for-like following failure of an automation component? Why not consider the opportunity of upgrading to a brand new fully-supported unit? The cost difference may not be what you expect. Quite the opposite in fact. Read on for more information: 

When faced with the complete failure of a HMI TP177A, our customer wished to source an equivalent part from the original supplier.

Obsolete Siemens TP177A HMI © Siemens AG 2019

Obsolete Siemens TP177A HMI © Siemens AG 2019

Two problems were:

1) The obsolete screen was programmed with an obsolete package – Protool

2) The cost of the old replacement screen was more expensive than a newer and fully supported HMI.

After analysing the upgrade possibilities Optima were able to solve the two problems of replacement and obsolescence but with a further advantage to the customer.

Optima were able to convert the old HMI configuration to the new HMI equivalent and supply it to the customer for around the same price as the obsolete part.

New Siemens Basic Panel 2nd Generation © Siemens AG 2019

It is often the case that upgrading hardware can actually work out less in real cost terms than replacing old parts  on a like-for-like basis.

Please telephone our sales department on 01254 272829 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

All image sources © Siemens AG 2019, All rights reserved. Publication and reproduction rights are reserved by Siemens AG.

Weekend shutdown sees pump system upgraded to latest Siemens Sinamics drives and S7-1200 PLC

If you are faced with an ageing and obsolete control system but don’t think you have the shutdown time to upgrade, think again. In one weekend, Optima were able to strip out an old motor control set and replace it with the latest state-of-the-art Siemens PLC and Drive control package. Find out how here:

When faced with the unreliability and ageing Crabtree motor starter sets, a leading manufacturer of waterproofing products turned to Optima for assistance. The existing pump control system was direct on-line and required pump changeovers to be initiated manually.

Old Pump Control Starter Panels

The solution was to replace the existing starter panels with a single panel housing 18.5kW and 30kW variable speed drives with a S7-1200 PLC controlling pump changeover from a 4 inch Basic HMI. This display shows providing pump status, hour run and pump selection buttons and also allows the system to run in fully Automatic or Manual modes.

New Pump Control Panel In-Situ

The installation task had to be completed during a weekend shutdown, requiring careful coordination between production and our engineering team to schedule the works.

Inside The New Control Cabinet

The system was powered up ready to run in full production before Monday’s switch-on.

First Batch of UL-Control Panels Finished and ready for shipping to the USA

Not content with supplying our UK and European customers with quality control panels from our workshop, we thought to look further afield. Far across the Atlantic Ocean in fact. Optima turned our engineering skills to designing a full process control system for a customer in the USA. Here are some of the panels we built for this project.

This is our first batch of UL-Rated control panels completed and ready for storage prior to shipping to the United States. This is part of a fully integrated Rockwell Automation control system featuring ControlLogix PLC’s with Guard Logix Safety and PowerFlex Drives.

Improved Performance And Reliability Following Upgrade From Hydraulic Motors To AC Geared Motors

Hydraulic motors have their place in industrial controls but when precise speed and torque control are required, they can be wild beasts to tame. With unreliability plaguing one paper mill, followed by complete failure of the hydraulic process control system, Optima were able to step in and provide an upgrade solution in double-quick time.

When a major paper producer was faced with increasingly temperamental performance from the existing hydraulic drive control system on their Valmet KL Winder, they turned to Optima for assistance. The system suffered from uncontrolled starting from cold until the hydraulics had reached normal temperature. However, even at normal operating temperature, there were still issues with tension control being unpredictable.

Optima were asked to suggest possible upgrade solutions for the winder. Our solution was to use a Siemens Sinamics drive system, controlled from our own custom-written winder blocks. Optima’s winder blocks are PLC-based and provide all the functionality required of any winding application.

The new drive system was specifically designed to suit the exact material tensions, roll diameters and operating speeds of the winder to ensure both performance and cost needs were met. The actual products run on winders sometimes differ from the manufacturers own design.

A complete new control suite was built to house the new PLC and drive hardware. Installation was managed by Optima.

Final Commissioning was carried out by our own engineers specialising in web transport systems.

Tuning of the fully-compensated system was carried out over a series of product trials on different grades of paper. The drive control system is complex, not just for accurate tension control but also to drive either end of the paper unwind with separate AC geared motors – not an easy task to achieve. Optima’s control algorithms ensure that control of the unwind reel is shared equally between each drive whilst also preventing ‘slippage’ of the driving mandrel within the unwind core.

Optima will be pleased to provide a no-obligation site visit to discuss how we might improve the performance of your existing winder or for a completely new upgrade.

Please telephone: Andy Coverdale or Mark Lane on 01254 272829 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Automax and PLC 5 to PowerFlex Drives and Control Logix Upgrade on Metalliser

In this upgrade, carried out during a planned shutdown, an Automax controller and obsolete DC drives were removed and replaced by new AC Powerflex 753 drives and AC vector motors. The SLC500 rack was replaced by a new Control Logix rack and remote IO on Ethernet. The now redundant PanelMax HMI was replaced by a new InTouch system from Wonderware.

The full scope of work, carried out by our own engineers in-house included:

  • Hardware calculations/rating for drives
  • Customer project specifications for upgrade
  • Project design specification
  • Full Circuit diagrams for the upgraded equipment
  • Test documents to validate the new equipment operation
  • Software specifications and sequence diagrams

Details of a typical metalliser drive control system are shown below. Optima know the metalliser drives process intricately. We have upgraded over 10 metalliser drive systems from various manufacturers and can offer a comprehensive upgrade to bring control of your machine drive system up to the standards of a new metalliser.

Optima will be pleased to provide a no obligation site visit to discuss how we implemented this upgrade and how we can help upgrade your machine to new supportable equipment.

Please telephone: Andy Coverdale, Mark Lane, Michael Hill on 01254 272829 to discuss your requirements in more detail. Alternatively e-mail us at  E-Mail Sales.