Innovative Infeed Bus System Improves Quality, Lowers Costs

Innovative Infeed Bus System Improves Quality, Lowers Costs

This piece was originally published in the August 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Dale Cyprien, Product Manager, IEC Motor Controls, Siemens

Henry Filters, a division of Barnes International, Inc., is a leading manufacturer of custom industrial liquid filtration systems and chip/swarf processing equipment that encompasses vacuum, gravity, pressure, and magnetic methods. Each system is engineered and manufactured in Bowling Green, Ohio, beginning with raw steel materials and ending with the completely finished products.

Based on size and complexity, custom-engineered systems can be shipped in one or multiple pieces to thousands of facilities worldwide, including to automobile manufacturers and their suppliers; machine tool manufacturers; and the aerospace, energy, and steel industries.

The company has differentiated itself from other filter suppliers by continuously bringing innovation to its portfolio of products.

“We are always looking for creative ways to lower overall costs. We pride ourselves in building state of the art controls systems while maintaining the same high-quality equipment for which we are known,” summarized Steve Vollmar, Henry Filters operations manager.

Modularity Saves Time and Space

A good example of how Henry Filters kept its leading edge while delivering low total cost of ownership took place in 2012, when it supplied an endless belt gravity filter (EBGF) with a polishing media VAC filter (MV) system to the Chrysler plant in Saltillo, Mexico. The system was designed to filter 1,100 gallons per minute to the aluminum block machining process.

The EBGF system incorporates a continuously moving gravity belt loop through which all of the incoming fluid passes. A drag conveyor runs continuously below the belt loop to remove large contaminants from the dirty coolant. After passing through the gravity belt, the filtered coolant enters a larger settling tank where it has time for air to escape and particulate to settle. The coolant in this tank is then pumped through secondary filtration equipment before being returned to the block machining process. The MV filter helps remove very small particulate, helping extend coolant life.

According to Marc Gelinas, Henry Filters control engineering manager, when the company designed the controls system for the Saltillo filter system, it had to accommodate Chrysler’s requirements: using a fuseless electrical control panel, maintaining a short-circuit current rating of 65KA at 480Y/277 VAC, and simplifying the overall panel design.

“Siemens came to us with a new infeed bus system that showed promise to not only dramatically cut material and labor costs but also save cabinet space and increase uptime,” Mr. Gelinas said.

What first caught his attention about the three-phase, power distribution bus was its modularity. Instead of using time-consuming wiring and tagging motor starters, components inside the control box snap together onto a bus with plug-in connectors. The bus is then easily connected to a standard 35mm DIN rail.

“We found it took 20 percent less time to wire the same components inside the machine-mounted panel, when compared to standard design methods,” he said. “On a typical three-door panel for a job like the Chrysler installation, we estimated a savings of 30 hours associated with the wiring and tagging with our standard design.”

The infeed system also saved valuable space inside the panel.

The infeed system has spare capability built into the panel for additional motors. When the company added another motor to the system in 2015, for example, there was no worry about power distribution blocks or other things that typically use up space in the initial design phase. No additional 480V supply wiring was needed—the addition was easily accomplished by snapping in the required base module, plugging in the 480V supply connector, and completing the control wiring. No drilling was required, so there was no worry about metal shavings falling on or into existing components.

Less Expense, More Uptime

Replacing fuses with snap-in breakers reduced material costs and saved up to 32 percent in inventory costs.

“For example, power wire material costs in a typical, traditional panel add up,” Mr. Gelinas said. “The new system eliminates approximately 50 percent of the wire previously used to connect the fuses and other panel components.”

Because the components are modular and quickly snapped onto the bus, time-consuming wiring and tagging has been eliminated in the field as well, not to mention the possibility of installing the wrong fuse.

There are other, not so obvious, advantages. Since the product is often shipped in one piece to its final destination, it may encounter a rough ride along the way (especially from Ohio to Saltillo). Because Henry Filters has greatly reduced the number of 480V wires landed on the distribution block, the chances of wires becoming loose are remote. In the past, technicians at the final location had to painstakingly tighten every lug. Now that the components are snapped into place, there are no more worries about loose lugs.

“Finally, and this is hard to quantify, there is something to be said for a clean-looking panel,” Mr. Gelinas said. “The wires are gone and it certainly makes the panel more attractive for our customers.”

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