Improving energy efficiency

Nov. 1, 2009
Conserving energy on a system-wide basis starts at the component level. Check out some of the latest green offerings and expert tips that will help your

Conserving energy on a system-wide basis starts at the component level. Check out some of the latest green offerings and expert tips that will help your next project save money and preserve precious resources.

Gearbox achieves 97% efficiency

The new generation of the V-Drive gearbox is available in two versions: V-Drive+ and V-Drive economy. The V-Drive+ (+ stands for more torque) replaces the classic version of the V-Drive and features high positioning accuracy and low backlash of less than 3 arc min; optimized hollow-flank teeth generate 50% more torque and 97% efficiencies. It is available in three output options: VDH (hollow shaft), VDS (smooth/keyed/involute shaft), and VDT (flange). The V-Drive economy is a frugal solution for low-duty applications and features torsional backlash of less than 8 arc min in two output options: VDH (hollow shaft) and VDS (shaft, smooth/keyed).

Wittenstein Inc.
(888) 534-1222

Drive system offers high efficiency, long life

The W Magnet Drive System incorporates the W Magnet Drive inside the motor, which is controlled by the CFW11 variable frequency drive. Compared to standard induction motors, this motor is 52% lighter and 47% smaller. The motor is fitted with NdFeB magnets inside the rotor, instead of conventional aluminum alloy squirrel cages, allowing higher efficiency levels and a smaller frame size. For optimum energy efficiency, the CFW11 drive used with the new drive system features a vector control algorithm that enables control without an encoder or position sensor. The drive system meets both NEMA Premium and EPAct High Efficiency standards.

WEG Electric Corp.
(800) ASK-4WEG

Designing energy efficient, sustainable machines

With energy costs rising an average of 6 to 8% each year, manufacturers are starting to specify that the machines they purchase from OEM partners be as efficient as possible. End users who two years ago didn't bother to track energy use in their factory now look for every opportunity to improve efficiency ratings. Those savings drop directly to the bottom line, so it's crucial that every new piece of equipment run as efficiently as possible.

Machine builders and manufacturers should leverage a few motion control best practices that include mechatronic design, servo technology, and direct-drive technology to help machinery run more efficiently and support sustainability goals.

  • Good mechatronic design is an essential part of the efficiency equation. Machine builders can use mechatronic software to build virtual prototypes, analyze energy usage, and optimize overall machine function. An energy analysis can often help eliminate transmission components, line shafts, pneumatics, and hydraulics. As a result, machine builders can significantly reduce total cost of ownership for the end user through reduced energy consumption.

  • Highly efficient servomotor and drive technologies are becoming more commonplace in many industries thanks to steady reductions in equipment cost. Permanent magnet servomotors require up to 25% less power than induction motors and can operate over a wide speed range. They also are suitable for applications requiring rapid acceleration because of their dynamic performance and ability to efficiently capture regenerative energy and share it, via servo drives, with other servo axes over a common dc bus.

    Many manufacturers have started using servo technology to help eliminate pneumatic or hydraulic systems, two of the most expensive sources of energy in a factory. By adopting an entirely electric approach, manufacturers can avoid significant energy losses associated with pneumatic air leaks and the high recycling costs associated with hydraulic fluids. In addition, by implementing a servo control system in your machine's design, the precision of your application is greatly improved, which can reduce scrap due to inaccurate positioning.

  • Designing a machine with direct-drive technology is another upgrade that can help improve motion system efficiency. While a worm gearbox is generally the most inexpensive transmission option in terms of initial investment, typical losses of 30% or more increase input power requirements. These losses also generate more heat, friction, and noise, resulting in higher operating and maintenance costs. Because motors have to be sized to account for losses, gearboxes often require the use of larger motors. Replacing a gearbox with direct-drive motors can improve operating efficiency from 60 to 90% on average, and allow machine builders to use smaller motors, which draw less energy.

Similarly, direct-drive servo technology coupled with mechatronic analysis can be used to eliminate line shafts, timing belts, and other mechanical power transmission components used to power machines. By replacing a line shaft with several individual servomotors electronically geared together, automation engineers can help customers realize a 20% reduction in energy losses on average.

This month's tips provided by Bob Eng, senior account manager, Rockwell Automation.

Drive optimizes energy use

An M5 frame size is now offered as part of the VLT Micro Drive family. The new size measures 11.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 in., and covers the three-phase 380 to 480 Vac, 25 to 30 hp range. An “automatic energy optimizer” function makes the drive consume less energy — and offers up to 150% more torque for up to a full minute.

Approximately 100 parameters can be set to optimize energy efficiency and operation. Additional features include built-in ac and dc brake functions that help the drive transform kinetic energy from the application into braking power.

Danfoss Drives
(800) 432-6367

Micro valves conserve energy

Newly released miniaturized MV micro valves offer short cycle times, low energy consumption, and simple operation. The electrically actuated 3/2 pneumatic valves are screwed directly onto actuators, eliminating the need for hose connections. This reduces both interfering contours and assembly expense. The miniature valves are maintenance free, take just seven msec for a switch process, and offer a lifespan of 900 million switching cycles. Valves are available in 1.5, 2.5, and 3.0 mm. At 87 psi they achieve a flow rate of 2, 5, and 9 CFM.

Schunk Inc.
(800) 772-4865

Compact motor delivers power density

With the DC-Micromotor series 2237…CXR, a new generation of graphite-commutated motors is now available. The CXR series is based on the CR design, for long life and robust operation. In its compact format, 37 mm long and 22 mm in diameter, the drive outputs its full dynamic range with continuous torque of 11 mNm in many applications. Easy speed control and positioning are provided by speed controller SC 2804 or motion controller MCDC 3006. A range of accessories incorporating matching-diameter gearing and three-channel encoders is also available.

MICROMO Electronics Inc.
(800) 807-9166

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