classic | mobile


SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide

Technews Industry Guide - IIoT 2018

Technews Industry Guide - Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation


How drives are revolutionising the printing industry
March 2018, Motion Control & Drives

Whether it’s for actual printing press machinery or supplementary systems, such as inserters, reel stands and cart loaders, many in the print industry are taking steps to replace DC drives with AC drives in a number of core processes. The latest variable speed AC drives offer advantages that include an attractive price-to-performance ratio. For example, matching a variable frequency drive with a high-efficiency asynchronous motor as part of a complete three-phase main drive on an offset printing press will yield many benefits, not least high performance and reduced energy consumption. However, there are more factors to consider here. Take compatibility for instance. Many print shops will have an entire range of DC drives employed by their machinery, which are considered the driving backbone of the presses. So when beginning a transition project to AC drives, always check for complete compatibility between the two.

Further factors to check include Ethernet and EtherCAT interfaces, as well as the availability of various optional modules and interface units that allow the drive to integrate seamlessly with existing systems. Such modules might include those offering feedback, communications, applications (onboard PLCs), I/O and enhanced safety functionality.

When selecting suitable AC drive technology, ensure it has onboard real-time Ethernet and can provide high-level motor control. Ultimately, any drive for print industry applications should be capable of optimising system performance, ideally through integrated motion control for 1,5 axes. This is vital for high speed, round-the-clock operations, such as printing shops.

To ensure superior motor control, engineers should seek out drives with high bandwidth algorithms to suit various motor types. This enables maximum machine throughput in every application and with every motor, from standard closed-loop induction motors to dynamic linear motors, and from energy saving permanent magnet motors to high-performance servo motors. Furthermore, flexible speed and position feedback interface can support a wide range of feedback technologies from resolvers to high resolution encoders.

Inherent drive flexibility should also help design engineers looking to create centralised and decentralised control systems as required, while versatility can be assured by AC drives offering Safe Torque Off (STO) functionality and both analog and digital I/O.

Another common reason why printing shops are seeking out the latest AC drive technologies is the obsolescence of existing drives. In such instances there exists real opportunity not just to avoid any potential for production downtime, but upgrade to AC drives offering compact dimensions, a flexible interface and an in-built PLC; perfect for machines such as inserters, which feature a lot of rotating equipment and fast-moving grippers.

For inserters, motion has to be perfectly synchronised, which is where the on-board PLC comes into play as it eliminates the requirement for I/O. However, check that programs are fast and easy to develop, and ensure the software is user-friendly and conforms to industry standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages. This way it will be possible to build highly flexible and productive systems.

Of course, open-platform technology should be at the heart of any successful drive solution. With this in mind, check that the drive supports a wide range of industry standard technologies and protocols, not just IEC 61131-3, but open fieldbuses and networks including Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet and Profibus, as well as Ethernet protocols including PTP protocol for clock synchronisation to IEEE 1588 V2. This open approach provides significant benefits to machine builders and OEMs, as well as engineers and end-users who many want to expand the system in the future.

Compatibility is again a prerequisite with inserters in order to avoid excessive machine hardware changes and code modifications to the controller. A high degree of compatibility also streamlines the replacement process into a short period of time. Further benefits for busy print shops include a flexible interface on the AC drive. This design capability allows printers to use different Profibus modules or different encoders, for example, thus simplifying communication with other equipment. Also, the interface can determine what motor is deployed and link to it immediately, which means print shops are not restricted to using one motor type.

The demands placed on modern printing machines are increasing almost continuously. Today’s print shops are looking to maximise performance, print quality and machine availability (uptime), while at the same time reduce scrap and waste. This is why increasing numbers are turning to technology suppliers with industry-leading know-how of drive and automation solutions, in particular AC drives.

For more information contact Ryan Chetty, Nidec Industrial Automation Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 462 1740,

Supplied By: Nidec
Tel: +27 11 462 1740
Fax: +27 11 462 1941
Share via email     Share via LinkedIn   Print this page

Further reading:

  • Case History 161: Differences between PLCs and DCSs – a discussion from a practical control point of view
    July 2018, Michael Brown Control Engineering, Motion Control & Drives
    Eliakim Musikiti read one of my articles in SA Instrumentation and Control and emailed me to ask what the differences are between PLCs and DCSs. I started replying to him and then thought that it would ...
  • New drive range for energy-intensive applications
    July 2018, Schneider Electric South Africa, Motion Control & Drives
    In difficult economic times, rising energy prices have an increasingly negative impact on production costs. This is seeing energy-intensive industries under increasing pressure to improve energy efficiency ...
  • NASA relies on maxon technology
    July 2018, DNH Tradeserve, Motion Control & Drives
    NASA’s fifth Mars rover will collect soil samples, seal them and deposit them on the Martian surface for future collection and transport back to earth. Swiss drive specialist, maxon motor, will supply ...
  • Vacuum tube lifter for starter batteries
    July 2018, Tectra Automation, Motion Control & Drives
    The new Schmalz vacuum tube lifter, JumboFlex Battery provides a complete solution for the ergonomic and safe handling of starter batteries. It ensures the reliable commissioning of starter batteries ...
  • Festo’s human-robot collaboration with artificial intelligence
    Technews Industry Guide: Industrial Internet of Things & Industry 4.0, Festo, Motion Control & Drives
    BionicWorkplace Alongside serial production, there is a trend in industry towards the customisation of products. A key role when it comes to production in batch size one, besides the digital networking ...
  • Phase Change Material (PCM) compressed air dryer launch
    July 2018, Artic Driers, Motion Control & Drives
    The incessant need to reduce energy consumption is an ever present fact for all plant engineers. It is estimated that compressed air production and compressed air treatment amount to approximately 30% ...
  • Position sensor detection for ­hydraulic cylinders
    July 2018, Instrotech, Motion Control & Drives
    Siko’s SGH wire-actuated encoders measure cylinder stroke as well as speed in hydraulic cylinders with impressive efficiency, flexibility and robustness.       The technology SGH sensors use a wire draw ...
  • Linear encoders for future-proof position measurement
    July 2018, SICK Automation Southern Africa, Motion Control & Drives
    More and more vehicle manufacturers, integrators, and operations managers are setting their sights on top quality innovations. Everyone wants the added value that came to be standard within industrial ...
  • Disc couplings for high torque ­applications
    July 2018, SKF South Africa, Motion Control & Drives
    SKF’s range of disc couplings in a variety of configurations offer cost-effective, lubrication-free service in medium to high torque applications that require torsional rigidity. They consist of two hubs ...
  • Case History 160: More problems with control
    May 2018, Michael Brown Control Engineering, This Week's Editor's Pick, Motion Control & Drives
    In a recent assignment to sort out problems being experienced in a petrochemical refinery, I came across the following two examples:       Drum pressure misbehaving The first was with the control of an ...
  • SEW-Eurodrive cuts costs in ­materials handling supply chain
    May 2018, SEW-Eurodrive , Motion Control & Drives
    The latest trend in materials handling has seen sectors such as warehousing, packing and pick-and-place use cheaper components for light load conveyor applications in order to reduce total supply chain ...
  • Kinetic sculpture interacts with water and light
    May 2018, Beckhoff Automation, Motion Control & Drives
    A fascinating play of water, light and motion.

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.