A bright sunny day for you may be a disaster in the making for your VFDs. Air conditioning systems are installed to ensure that machinery such as drives, panels, etc. run within the optimum temperature range. But if the temperature surpasses expected levels, things can go wrong very quickly. Heat dissipation is often overlooked in the case of VFDs or AC drives, leading to devastating downtime. Keeping into account a few factors can greatly help keeping the energy dissipation in check, and reduce the risks of unexpected shutdowns.
The PLC Evolution
Dick Morley introduced the industrial world to the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), a tool that would revolutionize the automation landscape for decades to come. The PLC was seen as a savior in the industrial world, which relied heavily on switch gears and relay boxes for routine activities. The PLC has room for evolution unlink any other automotive device which has made it so susceptible to changing technological standards.
Pumping systems are widely used in a number of industries from mining to petroleum to manufacturing. These systems account for nearly 20% of the world’s energy used by electric motors! A minute dip in their efficiency can put great financial strain on the entire system and risk the machines’ life. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has published a comprehensive list of standards that can help assess the efficiency of pumping systems.
The protection of individual I/O points is as important as the protection of any other control device. The use of fuses is one of the most fundamental decisions that needs to be taken by a protection engineer to ensure maximum safety as well as uptime for industrial assets.
Circuit breakers and fuses are two of the most widely-accepted types of protection. While circuit breakers have the benefit of reusability, the quicker operation of fuses make them an appropriate choice for I/O protection. In addition, fuses are better at blocking let-through energy, providing better protection for downstream devices. Therefore, wherever quickness is a priority, fuses should be preferred over other modes of protection.
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) have been around for over 50 years and have established themselves as the preferred hardware for industrial automation. Several competitors have come along the way in the form of PCs, microcontrollers, etc. but none have been able to dent the reputation of the PLC.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a century old consulting and certification company that is known throughout the world for its stringent levels of certification for electrical devices and components. Industries such as manufacturing, mining, energy, etc. need to follow a certification system for the equipment they procure to make sure their property and personnel are out of harm’s way. Out of the several UL standards that exist, company's that provide electrical components should be UL508A certified.
The 1970s saw the introduction of PLCs or Programmable Logic Controllers, which would forever change the way automation is achieved in industrial environments. Known for its rugged design and scalable implementation, the PLC was adapted by all major manufacturers and to this day is the norm for industrial automation. Allen-Bradley, Omron, Siemens, AEG, etc. became the leaders in PLC manufacturing, and soon the controllers had the processing capability of a computer while withstanding harsh industrial conditions.
Improving Efficiency & Speed in the Automation Industry
Parallel programming has always created issues for the the programming industry. Coming towards the pragmatic workings of the automation industry, the processes are often trapped within a loop that makes use of the same block of code iterative. Software configureable I/O is an up and coming concept regarding automation that can greatly improve the efficiency and speed of a process.
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) have slowly become the industrial norm for controlling the output of three-phase AC motors. By varying the voltage and frequency, VFDs achieve smooth and reliable control of the motor’s torque and speed. From motion control applications to ventilation systems to heavy manufacturing, VFDs have become a staple in the industrial landscape.
Variable Frequency Drives form an essential part of any manufacturing plant. Its continuous operation is necessary for maintaining a plant’s output, and any failure results in a chain reaction, effectively bringing the entire industry to a standstill.