Growing competition, and ever increasing social and political pressure, lead manufacturers to constantly seek ways of reducing energy consumption and other environmental aspects; as well, of course, of reducing costs. The new VLT FlexConcept from Danfoss is therefore expected, very quickly, to create huge changes in this sector, reducing costs by a significant margin.
The issue, traditionally, is that dependence on one drive manufacturer can engender a lack of flexibility in the workplace, leaving, for instance, stacks of spares for different bits of equipment. Meanwhile, this exponentially growing need for energy efficiency, allied with different motor technologies and plant designs, has only added to the number of frequency converters and motors in production plants
Take, for example, the food & beverage, chemicals, or pharmaceutical industries. The production plants for these industries might include specific local production conditions, for instance aseptic plant areas. These areas will themselves then entail particular protection needs, such as resistance to moisture and contamination to meet hygiene compliance; or, for equipment often cleaned, further protection against detergents and disinfectants.
In these cases, plant operators will have needed to stock a variety of spare parts, whilst also ensuring their maintenance crew are familiar with a baffling array of installation and control concepts. It will also require a range of motors and frequency converters.
The key solution is electric drive technology
Frequency converters optimise plant efficiency. With these drives, motor designs significantly reduce energy consumption, whether those motors are standard, geared, high efficiency or permanent magnet. As a result, a great variety of motor manufacturers and motor types and frequency converters are now available. Deploying the new VLT FlexConcept can lead to up to a 70% reduction in the overall variants in the plant, with associated benefits in terms of both staff training, and the cost of inventories.
Let’s look specifically at conveying systems. In linking the different machines in the plant, these systems function as the veins and arteries of your operation.
However, at the moment their varied requirements necessitate various solutions. Your business may have dry areas, for instance for loading and unloading, and then wet areas for washing, and even sensitive filling areas, needing aseptic conditions. Each of these will therefore need a specific solution. In larger operations this might run to over 30 distinct designs, perhaps further distinguished between centralised and decentralised designs.
This rather ad hoc approach to the installation of systems leads to inefficiency and waste. A large business will find they have no end of different systems, each trying to relate to the other, and each with their own documentation. And this documentation will need to be kept up-to-date. And as indicated, this also necessitates the storage of various spares, as well as the employment of maintenance staff to service the different kinds of equipment, who all need to be trained in the various equipment.
Reduce maintenance costs
In the current economic climate there is therefore a pressing need to simplify everything – incorporating new technology to reduce the service and maintenance burden. This will then reduce the effort involved in terms of both time, and cost. Such measures will boost operation, cut staff levels and make the business more effective in trying economic times. It will also fulfill the need to meet energy efficiency requirements.
Danfoss are committed to their philosophy as a clean-tech company, constructing all components for optimum energy efficiency. That holds true for the VLT FlexConcept. Whether operating a new plant, or modernising an existing site, the components in this solution all comply with latest EU regulations on motors and motor efficiency.
The clue is in the name. The VLT FlexConcept allows for a high level of flexibility, in both the choice of plant structures, and components, whether for dry, wet or aseptic areas. In terms of the latter, where hygiene is key, the VLT FlexConcept is the only solution that currently offers EHEDG-certified components.
All components link up to ensure optimum efficiency. As detailed, the VLT FlexConcept will reduce the number of variants in the plant by up to 70% and often will often supply end-to-end solutions for conveyor applications with just a few variants. In essence, your stocks of spares will therefore be much smaller than is currently the case, and the efficiency of the plant will be greatly improved.
The flexibility comes from the open system architecture of the VLT FlexConcept. In essence, components can be easily combined with existing solutions from other manufacturers. This is a great help when refitting the plant but equally, when it comes to maintenance, the use of standard components means you will no longer have to replace those components from that specific manufacture (although compatible components are obviously required).
So, a flexible, efficient, simple, optimised solution that will enable your plant to operate much more effectively… logistically…. intelligently!
If you’d like to know more about the Danfoss VLR Flex Concept and how it cne increase the efficiency of your production system, please contact us.