All the support you need… when you need it

Here at Optima we are always looking at ways at which we can better support our customers. If the problem can be identified remotely and and fixed without requiring a visit to site, then there are cost savings to be made, both in terms of engineering time saved and production downtime losses.
Of course, not every problem can be fixed remotely, but if a more detailed prognosis can be made in the first instance, then preparations for any site visit will be more focused on the problem area. Read our Remote Access Brochure for more information.

Cloud Remote Access

Cloud Access

With this remote access system:

  • Our engineers use the same software they would use if they had travelled to the remote site. The customer does not need to purchase the specialist programming tools or laptop
  • The system uses the existing, broadband Internet connection on site, whether wired or wireless
  • If this is not available (for example at a remote operating plant or location) our 4G Mobile Data Sim configuration provides the communication link required. 
  • Depending on network coverage, the most appropriate mobile telephone network provider can be selected. Our range of high-gain antennas ensure that a reliable data link is always available
  • The system can be configured to send e-mail notifications, when machine faults / alerts occur

We would be pleased to provide you with a custom quotation for your remote access requirements.

Supply of Motor Generator Test Rigs to Blackpool & The Fylde College

AC and DC Motor Test Rig 1

If you want to learn about Asynchronous and Synchronous AC machines, DC Motors, Generator and Motor principles it’s useful to be able to carry out practical work on them.

Step forward Optima who helped Blackpool & The Fylde College fulfil their requirements to have two new state-of-the art installed at their brand new training facility near Fleetwood

Challenges

There were a number of key challenges in the design. On Test Rig 1, the AC Motor would operate in two modes:

  • Prime mover, with the load being applied by the DC motor.
  • Generator mode with the DC motor driving the AC motor.
Synchronisation Meter

When acting as a generator, the AC motor would have to be synchronised to the mains supply before being “switched-in”. This is to simulate a real-world situation on-board ships where back-up generators may have to be manually switched-in.

Design

The panel design incorporated banana type sockets to facilitate the ease of connection of external measuring instruments such as power meters.

The panels incorporated a host of instrumentation to afford total visibility. These included:

  • Machine torque
  • DC Armature Current
  • DC Armature Voltage
  • Single Phase Mains Voltage L-N
  • Single Phase Alternator Current
  • Single Phase Alternator Voltage L-N
  • Alternator Excitation Current

Test Rig 2

Test Rig 2 incorporated the very latest Siemens PM250 Regenerative Power Module and a Soft Starter to the test rig AC Motor. The user has the option to switch between the two. A DC Motor acts either as a prime mover or generator giving ultimate flexibility in operation.

The incorporation of a regenerative AC solution brings the very latest in cutting-edge drive architecture to an educational establishment. There aren’t many drive manufacturers who can supply lower-power regenerative modules.

Overall, the test rig projects were a great success combining the College’s and Optima’s knowledge to product test rigs that will serve students well for many years to come.

Technology:

Videos:

See our Test Rigs in action here:

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

PanelView+1000

New PanelView+1000 with Shiny Bezel!

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”.

Panel internals less old PC and UPS

Panel internals without the old PC and UPS

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

Drive System Retrofit for MasterDrives

Optima’s innovative approach to motor and drive upgrades significantly reduces the installation time and minimises risk to your site. All of our systems are thoroughly tested before they are shipped to site, completely eliminating any “out of box” failures. By replacing legacy equipment, your production machine can be future-proofed with the latest technology features and efficient operation.

Some of the benefits you will realise are:

  • Extended life span of your machine and increased availability due to continued spare parts supply with full support by Siemens
  • Improved productivity through lower energy costs and faster production cycles, through:
    • Simple operation monitoring using operator panel
    • User-friendly diagnostics with the STARTER tool
    • Additional interface options via PROFINET or PROFIBUS
  • Future-proofed due to access to the new world of TIA Portal

Optima’s innovative approach to upgrades significantly reduces the installation time and minimises risk to your site. All of our systems are thoroughly tested before they are shipped to site, completely eliminating any “out of box” failures.

Some of the benefits you will realise are:

  • Extended life span of your machine and increased availability due to continued spare parts supply with full support by Siemens
  • Improved productivity through lower energy costs and faster production cycles, through:
    • Simple operation monitoring using operator panel
    • User-friendly diagnostics with the STARTER tool
    • Additional interface options via PROFINET or PROFIBUS
  • Future-proofed due to access to the new world of TIA Portal

Optima’s approach for upgrades is to:

  1. 1.Analysis of your current machine configuration and potential further customer request
  2. Recommendation on the best replacement scenario
  3. Installation, configuration and commissioning of new  components and creation of circuit diagram and documentation
  4. Acceptance test and machine handover.

If requested, we can also provide training for all your relevant engineers and instruction of the operating personnel

Why Optima?

  1. We’ve been upgrading complex drive systems for over 20 years
  2. We are one of only 7 authorised Siemens Drives and Motion partners in the UK
  3. We provide a complete solution provided by one retrofit supplier including mechanical installation of motors and/or supply of adaptor plates and flanges to suit

About Masterdrives:

Because of their superior functionality, comprehensive performance range and application flexibility, the Siemens Simovert MASTERDRIVES in CUVC, CUMC, Compact form and other variants has been a very successful drive system for single motor and multi-motor applications. The established common DC bus system enabled it to be used on demanding production machine processes across a wide range of industry sectors.

All good things must come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the end of the line for your production machine.

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.