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Expert solutions

This is a forum wherein readers can write-in their technical queries in the area of automation and drives. Experts from Siemens will answer and provide informative insights to their issues. This section aims at enlightening our readers on the application of the latest technologies and practices to boost their efficiency, reliability and productivity. Below, you find a sample questions and answers for your reference.

We are Belgaum-based sugar producers and have been pursuing various approaches to conserve energy at our plant. First we used energy efficient motors, then installed Micromaster AC frequency variable speed drives. Is there any new technology to further optimise our energy costs?

After installing variable frequency drive (VFDs), the next point of savings should be the applications where energy is being wasted or exhausted due to application needs. For example, look for applications that employ the braking feature of the drive. The conventional AC drive pushes energy generated by the motor while it is in the generator mode into the resistor attached to the DC link. To save energy feed back this energy to the incoming network of the drive.

We have a dusty environment in our plant and wish to use drives which have coated boards. What does a ‘coated’ board actually mean.

‘Coating’ here means that electronic modules/boards or components are coated with a lacquer. The ruggedness of drive units is significantly increased by the coating. You do not achieve formal standardisation according to Standard IEC 60721-3-3 Level 3C2 but can get an advantage of longer life cycle and hence, more productivity.

We are an OEM producing coil packing machines for steel plants. At our plant, all the distributed stations are connected to the controller over Profibus. The coil packing machine is used to pack the metal sheet. There are various stations in a machine to carry out the packing activities. These stations are moving on a rail that uses the ‘Trailing type’ Profibus cable. But we face problems like intermittent bus failures leading to more downtime. Can you suggest any solution for this?

We propose a non-contact type solution based on wireless communication over PROFINET using products like Scalance W and R-Coax Leaky Antenna cable. As this is a wireless solution, the problem of non-consistent communication and trailing cable will be sorted out. This solution is best suited specifically for such moving type application where one expects uninterrupted communication.

We have a distributed manu- facturing setup with 109 manufacturing machines automated by different PLCs & some special purpose machines based on embedded technology that supports OPC communication. We want to capture the important production data from all the 109 machines in a central station and uplink from there for MIS purpose to Plant ERP system.

To meet the challenge of networking different PLC systems supporting different communication protocols to one central SCADA, we propose to use Siemens SCADA, WinCC.

We have an AS-i network supplied as a part of an imported machine and are in the process of ordering spares for the same. The power supply is mentioned as AS-i power supply. Is this a special power supply or can we order any 24V DC power supply?

The AS-i network is an open protocol bus system especially designed for the sensors and actuators level. The highlight of AS-i network is that the data and power for sensors are carried over a single two core cable. The AS-I power supply has a filter circuit that does ‘data decoupling’.

In our planned expansion we are proposing to have intelligent MCC controls for our motor feeders. What will happen to the motor feeders if there is a communication or DCS failure?

The modern motor management systems are independent of the automation system. Since all the protection, control and monitoring functions are built-in the motor management system, even if the PLC/DCS is not working or if there is a communication failure the motor feeders can continue to operate.

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