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Bonfiglioli develops sustainable digital solutions to continuously optimize the plant life cycle



Benefits of the integration of synchronous reluctance motors and dedicated frequency inverters.

Bonfiglioli is constantly looking for optimizations to offer innovative solutions for industrial motion control to increase the machine performance and its competitiveness, high control performance and high energy efficiency. Nowadays, this last aspect becomes increasingly relevant, both because of environmental considerations and for cost savings related to the plant life cycle. 

To address these requirements, Bonfiglioli has developed a Power Drive System in its research centers; this system combines BSR series reluctance synchronous motors with Active Cube frequency inverters with dedicated sensorless vector control. The motor is compatible with the wide range of Bonfiglioli industrial geared units.

This solution is available in two packages, with optimized compactness for small spaces or operation costs reduction respectively, both with excellent efficiency levels (Class IE4 for the motor, and class IES2 for the Power Drive System, according to the actual Ecodesign Standard EN 61800-9-2).

In comparison to conventional motor-frequency inverter solutions, the Bonfiglioli Power Drive System allows minimizing the overall energy consumption in the different operation points. The motor control is realized with a complete mathematical characterization of the motor, which also ensures a simple and reliable system configuration.

The full package integration and the wide range of available software control strategies bring additional performance benefits: accurate sensorless speed control, stable torque control, high torque even at low or zero speed and excellent overloading characteristics. 

Overall, this solution is ideal for a wide range of industrial applications; it can be fully integrated in Industry 4.0 plants, thanks to the advanced drive digital connectivity and Bonfiglioli IOT platforms, presented during the 2019 SPS Italia (District 4.0) in combination with this Power Drive System.

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Specifying geared motors to reduce HACCP risk factors



Geared motors are found throughout food and beverage production sites, used to drive conveyor belts, stirrers & agitators, packaging machinery and other equipment along the production line. The geared motor design lends itself to energy efficiency and reliability, a must for any modern production facility. However, the food & beverage industry also requires strict hygiene compliance, meaning that specialised geared motors are a wise choice for such facilities.

Markus Kutny, Director of Sales Vertical Markets for Bauer Gear Motor, a premier brand of Altra Industrial Motion Corp., examines how specifying geared motors in stainless steel design or specialised finishes can help reduce HACCP risk factors.

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system is an internationally recognised method for reducing risk factors in the production or processing of food. It works on the principle of on-going improvements, encouraging manufacturers to continuously re-evaluate each of the processes in its production line to identify possible hazards and minimise risk. The primary purpose of the system is to protect people from food-borne illness, though it is also recognised as a ‘best practice’ approach to improve quality and consistency in the final product.

Understanding the importance of the processes surrounding the analysis of risk in the production line helps to explain the evolution of geared motor technology used within the industry. Specifically, it explains why the industry requires that geared motor manufacturers invest in R&D for aseptic solutions – developing specialist coatings and even stainless steel variants of their latest products.

Bauer Gear Motor Washdown

Aseptic drives deliver all the benefits of a standard geared motor, while also protecting the drive during harsh washdown cycles and preventing the build-up of microorganisms.

Aseptic drives are designed to deliver all the performance benefits of a standard geared motor, while also protecting the drive from harsh washdown cycles and preventing the build-up of microorganisms. Drives are typically painted using acid- and alkali-resistant coatings that can withstand chemicals with a pH range of 2 – 12. These drives will also usually offer high levels of ingress protection and be designed with a smooth exterior to prevent dirt build-up.

The HiflexDRIVE range from Bauer Gear Motor is an example of geared motors with design evolutions specifically aimed at improving performance in hygiene-critical applications. The range is carefully designed so that fans and cooling ribs are not required, thereby allowing for completely smooth outer casings with non-drive ends that are sealed. This allows the IE4 super-premium-efficiency motor to be offered with up to IP69K rating – which protects against high-pressure washers and steam cleaning. The elimination of venting elements creates a smooth outer surface, which provides a higher cleanability of the motor casing and prevents re-infection of the local environment caused by air movement from a cooling fan.

While specialist coatings perform exceptionally well when correctly applied and maintained, there is always a risk that the coating could become damaged while the motor is in operation. Should this happen, then the contamination resistance of the geared motor would be reduced. Adopting the principles of HACCP, many manufacturers are choosing to specify stainless steel geared motors where they are likely to be operating in an area with risk of mechanical damage.

Bauer Stainless Steel Motor

Stainless steel geared motors meet all of the regulations set out by organisations such as the FDA and NSF without the need for specialist coatings.

Stainless steel geared motors – as found within the HiflexDRIVE range – meet all the regulations set out by organisations such as the FDA and NSF without the need for specialist coatings. As a base material, stainless steel is inherently resistant to corrosion and chemicals, even if it has been scratched or dented after suffering an impact.

For manufacturers or packaging specialists looking to minimise HACCP risk factors when specifying geared motors, there is no question that it pays to choose a specialist solution. The HiflexDRIVE range is available in three sizes ranging from 80 Nm to 330 Nm in standard, aseptic and stainless steel designs; with power ratings up to 6.3 kW depending on the size selected. A two-stage gearbox design allows ratios of up to 109:1, depending on gear type, and allows a wide range of applications to be covered.

Whether the application would benefit most from a stainless steel design or an aseptic coating depends on the sort of working life it will be exposed to. Our engineers help customers to assess their environments and provide expert guidance on the most appropriate choice with consideration to efficiency, reliability, risk and long-term cost saving.

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From another Point of View



STOBER presented the new generation of its servo planetary geared motors at the SPS IPC Drive in Nuremberg at the end of 2019. One of the special features of this generation: Each motor series can be directly mounted in any available size. With this variance, STOBER offers ready-to-install drive solutions for machine tools and packaging machines as well as applications in automation and robotics. In order to ensure that the assembly of the new gear units remains efficient even with an increased variety of combinations, the specialist from Pforzheim relied “on digital” when planning the new production line and gained new perspectives through virtual reality.

With the third generation of its servo geared motors, STOBER has developed high-performance and precise drive solutions that are the most compact on the market in terms of versatility and convince by their enormous variance. The gear units can not only be combined with different STOBER motors in direct mounting, but also with all third-party motors of any size via a one-of-a-kind interface technology. A perfect fit for any application.

During the development of the new drives, the STOBER design engineers faced a wide range of challenges: Compared to the previous version, for example, the performance had to be improved and the components had to be built significantly more compact – at the same cost. A balancing act which STOBER mastered primarily by means of new production technologies and optimized assembly lines. “Especially the work and assembly planning, not to forget the optimization of the ergonomics at each of our workplaces, is one of the most important, but unfortunately also one of the most time-consuming tasks”, says Marc Schneider, team leader in gear assembly at STOBER. “Instead of building physical prototypes on the basis of our CAD or Excel data and modifying them again and again, we relied on virtual reality for the design and optimization of the assembly lines in advance”.

Virtual Reality as an agile development partner

With a VR tool by R3DT, a start-up based in Karlsruhe which STOBER chose, entire systems can be simulated as early as the conception phase. By means of VR glasses environments can be experienced one-to-one. A “simple” principle with great effect: 3D CAD data from workstations, for example, are imported into the VR software along with other relevant key figures and processed. At the push of a button virtual prototypes are ready to be used.

“VR glasses on and we are already standing in the virtual environment at the previously designed workstations. With our hands we can reach for virtual tools, check the screwing – without joysticks or other controllers”, Schneider explains.

Frequent testing allows design errors to be detected in good time; corrections in the design or even in the ergonomics of a workstation can be made directly – even in the early planning phase. For STOBER numerous aspects that needed improvement came to light before real prototypes were built.

The resulting real prototypes are very close to being ready for production. In addition to saving an enormous amount of time and avoiding costly subsequent modifications, Marc Schneider is pleased to be able to involve his co-workers right from the start.

“We are very motivated to make our everyday work more ergonomic. Another advantage is that the VR tool gives the entire team the opportunity to experience and learn about new technologies in early stages. In addition, we can now react more effectively in assembly to the ever-changing product mix that our customer requires. An exciting project!”

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Wärtsilä’s Data-Driven Dynamic Maintenance Planning solution optimises engine maintenance




The technology group Wärtsilä introduces its Data-Driven Dynamic Maintenance Planning (Data-Driven DMP) solution. This latest developed feature enhances the company’s existing Dynamic Maintenance Planning solution by utilising digitalisation and Wärtsilä’s extensive capabilities in analytics. It is an integral part of the company’s Lifecycle Solutions value proposition, and adds further customer benefits and value not possible with conventional DMP solutions.

Data-Driven DMP increases the uptime of assets and reduces lifecycle costs by optimising major overhaul intervals, without compromising operational reliability or engine efficiency.

Furthermore, assets are maintained in prime condition without the need for on-site visual inspections performed by Wärtsilä personnel, since the solution’s digital capabilities reduce the need for such on-site visits. Customer personnel can be trained to take fluid samples and to carry out borescope inspections of engines with remote support from experienced and specialised experts in Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres.

Leveraging the new capabilities and keeping the engines in prime condition eliminates the need for the usual opening inspection of the engine.

“Data-Driven DMP adds a new dimension to our Lifecycle Solutions’ value proposition, delivering greater flexibility and increased cost savings for the customer. Existing DMP contracts can be changed to take advantage of the extra benefits provided by Data-Driven DMP, should customers wish,” says Frank Velthuis, Director Digital Product Development, Wärtsilä Marine.

The technology for Data-Driven DMP is supported by Wärtsilä’s Expert Insight product, which enables proactive and rapid advice and assistance to be delivered to customers from the Expertise Centres. Expert Insight has been credited with taking predictive maintenance to the next level.

Wärtsilä’s Lifecycle Solutions offering is backed by a combination of the company’s extensive in-house know-how along with AI and predictive analytics. It takes a holistic approach to ensure sustainable and reliable operational performance.

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