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Faster positioning of 1 tonne beams

Faster positioning of 1 tonne beams

Manufacture of customised flooring systems has been sped up by new feed units with a simple and accurate control system. Steel I-beam sections up to 8m long and weighing over 1 tonne are now positioned with better than 1mm accuracy for the punching of location holes. Separate in-feed and out-feed units with a single controller support the beams and positions them using geared motors and encoder feedback.

Central Storage Systems in Kidderminster has 30 years' experience in the design and manufacture of mezzanine floors. Substantial I-section beams are used to support the floor purlins, and the beams require location holes in webs that can be up to 19mm thick.  Previously the holes were machined manually using a plasma torch or magnetically mounted drill, slow methods that were prone to inaccuracy. Central Storage decided to change to a 95 tonne hydraulic punch and therefore required feed units that would position the beams quickly and accurately.

The new positioning units were designed and built by Cornfield Engineering Systems using drive technology from Lenze. Both in-feed and out-feed units are effectively conveyors each powered by a geared motor. They support and position the beams which have cross sections up to 180 x 500mm. Position feedback is through a 2048 pulse encoder mounted on a 500mm diameter wheel which runs directly on the beam. This was chosen as an alternative to using an encoder on the geared motor in order to avoid small errors from the beam slipping on the belt.

Cornfield took advantage of matching control products available from Lenze. The encoder signal is connected to a high speed counter which is part of the Lenze I/O system 1000. This in turn is linked by a CANopen coupler to the new p300 machine controller with visualisation, a dual-function unit that is available with screen sizes of 4 to 10 inches. Using CANopen connections that are integrated as standard, the single p300 controls the in-feed and out-feed, each with a Lenze 8400 StateLine frequency inverter and a g500-B bevel geared motor with hollow shaft mounting.

Cornfield Engineering Solutions is an engineering partner of Lenze. Director Chris Timbey supervised the design, build and installation of the new feed system at Kidderminster. It has proved itself to be faster than the previous manual methods, easy for the operators and more accurate achieving ± 0.5mm on the position of the holes. The Lenze control system and drives were economic and particularly easy to integrate into the machine.

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