Owing to a global trend in cost efficiency and going green, drive engineering specialist SEW-Eurodrive sales engineer Sean Tibbott foresees the demand for a small, compact and cost-saving variable-speed drives continuing to grow worldwide.
He explains that SEW-Eurodrive’s Movigear Mechatronic integrated drive unit can meet this growing demand, as it reduces installation and start-up efforts and costs, as well as minimises energy and operational costs.
“Saving energy is not only an important contribution to protect the environment, but it can also be measured financially. In many industries, such as automotive, food and beverage, airport logistics or general transport logistics, the topic of total cost of ownership is becoming increasingly more important.”
Tibbott adds that energy efficiency has become a focal point in an integrated approach to energy costs savings and that this inevitably affects the development of modern drive technology, owing to the drive components’ efficiency.
He further explains that electrically powered systems account for more than two-thirds of the industrial power consumption. “This means that the costs for electrical energy input are calculated from the effectively needed mechanical energy plus losses, thereby resulting in the overall efficiency.”
He notes that, irrespective of the type of application or system, energy costs can be reduced only if energy losses during plant operation are kept as low as possible.
“This is why more system operators invest in the latest development from SEW-Eurodrive, such as our Movigear Mechatronic integrated drive unit,” he avers.
The higher purchase costs, compared with conventional drive solutions, are compensated for within one or two years through the saved energy expenses alone, he notes.
The Movigear unit, which has been available to the local industry for about five years, comprises three different sections – an electronic inverter, which is connected to the servo motor which is, in turn, connected to the gearbox section.
“It is essentially a mechatronic drive system,” Tibbott highlights, noting that the integration allows for minimal electrical and mechanical losses through direct contact or connection between the drive components.
However, he adds that, should it become necessary to replace the electronics, the upper part of the drive unit with the electronics can be separated from the connection part quickly and easily.
“Replacing the electronics part takes only a few minutes, as connection cables do not have to be removed, thereby allowing for maximum system availability.”
Tibbott further notes that the integrated drive unit’s low-noise drive system makes for reduced noise levels, making it ideal for areas where workers are present.
“Such integration means there is a minimal margin for error when it comes to installation and commissioning, while the units are virtually maintenance-free, which reduces downtime and labour costs,” he explains.
The Movigear unit is also available in four variants, thereby increasing its adaptability to different plant typologies, which allows for effortless integration with existing programmable logic controller, or PLC, programs.
“This extends our flexibility consider- ably in being able to respond to customers’ diverse requirements and applications,” he adds, noting that the units are ideal for corrosive environments or those where strict hygiene standards have to be complied with.
Tibbott cites SEW-Eurodrive’s delivery of 67 Movigear mechatronic integrated drive units to a major glass-manufacturing facility, in the Western Cape, in September last year.
The project assisted SEW-Eurodrive in establishing itself as a mechatronics supplier in the country, owing to the company’s local manufacturing capability and technical support.
The delivery – from ordering to assembly and delivery – took six weeks to complete, with the components sourced from Germany, and assembled at SEW-Eurodrive’s Cape Town-based manufacturing facility.