Flexibility Goes Hand-in-Hand with Innovation for Magnetek’s Wireless Controls

Magnetek was challenged with creating a wireless control system for Summit Truck Bodies’ service and maintenance truck cranes. Original crane controls on Summit trucks experienced reliability issues and insufficient battery life, resulting in unstable operations and potentially unsafe working conditions. In evaluating the performance issues, Magnetek was able to adapt our own designs to best suit the needs of the application.

We first supplied ergonomically styled pistol-grip PGT transmitters to replace the poorly functioning wireless systems. Simultaneously, Magnetek began developing a smaller, “mini” product that could easily be integrated into Summit’s truck control systems. Two Mini-PGT transmitter models were designed for these truck applications: a primary control package and a retrofit control package.

The primary Mini-PGT design, packaged with Magnetek’s CAN-2 receivers, interfaced directly with the trucks’ computer systems and communicated radio data through its control module and sensors. Compared to the original systems, Magnetek’s wireless controls enabled precision movement by inches rather than the previous inexact margins.

Paired with our MHR radio controllers, the retrofit Mini-PGT reduced dependence on cables and enhanced flexibility in the work area. Operators were able to move more freely around the trucks, improve sightlines, and were no longer limited to a particular distance, which removed them from potentially hazardous environments.

Advancements in technology ensure that Magnetek wireless controls are able to meet the needs of almost any application—from the simplest of operations to the most complex. Magnetek and Summit continue to collaborate and develop the most efficient, flexible wireless truck crane control systems.

For more information about Magnetek’s portfolio of wireless control systems, visit www.magnetekmobilehydraulic.com.

(Don’t) Make Me Sway: The Lowdown on Sway Control

Sway Control SystemSway Control Systems (SCS) improve productivity by allowing the crane operator to concentrate on load engagement and disengagement rather than focusing on minimizing load swing. An SCS also enhances the accuracy of load placement and reduces material damage caused by incidental contact of swinging loads.

Magnetek’s Sway Control System custom software is embedded in our IMPULSE®•G+ Series 4 variable frequency drives for new or existing crane control systems without the need for external programmable logic controllers or costly height measurement devices.

“Manually operated cranes can account for as much as 20% of the production cycle,” said Aaron Kureck, Magnetek’s director of product management and development. “Utilizing sway control on overhead or gantry cranes can reduce operator fatigue and the need for extensive operator training.”

A crane with sway control allows an operator to use full speed commands for all movements, meaning shorter cycle times. Field tests have demonstrated that sway control improves productivity by 25-50%. Properly designed and adjusted sway control systems can minimize load sway by 85-95%, decreasing the risk of damage and personal injury.

Sway control is able to increase throughput in automated handling systems by allowing higher operating speeds and faster acceleration and deceleration rates than would be possible with a manually controlled system. A fully automated system controls the load, prevents dangerous sway at every phase, and stops the load precisely at the target, every time.

Closed loop systems are best utilized on high-cycle outdoor systems such as container cranes that are subject to external influences like wind, justifying the higher initial cost and maintenance expense.

Open loop systems have an economic advantage over mechanical means or closed loop systems with feedback and are best applied in industrial applications where wind and external influences may be of less significance.

For more information about sway control, visit www.magnetekmh.com.

Spotlight on Success: Hoover Dam Modernization

Hoover Dam

Magnetek’s Material Handling team spent time working inside the Hoover Dam’s concrete structure alongside Precision Crane & Hoist Services of Nevada to modernize the facility’s aging AC static crane controls with state-of-the-art control technology developed by Magnetek.

The Hoover Dam has two power plant wings, one located in Nevada and one located in Arizona. Each wing is 650 feet long and rises nearly 300 feet above the foundation of the power plant. Two 300-ton cranes are located inside each power plant wing and are used to move and maintain the 17 main vertical hydraulic turbines housed within the wings.

The Hoover Dam Power Plant, one of the United States’ largest hydroelectric installations, generates approximately four billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power on average each year, enough to serve 1.3 million people in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Magnetek controls were retrofitted on each of the four 300-ton cranes over a seven-month period, which began in December 2014. The new crane control systems utilize Magnetek’s technologically advanced drives and radio controls, providing crane operators at the Hoover Dam Power Plant with improved productivity, safety, and reliability.

To learn more about Magnetek’s success stories, visit www.magnetek.com/mhSuccess.

The Benefits of Variable Frequency Drives

Benefits of VFDsPerhaps no other technological development in the past 40 years has done more to revolutionize overhead crane design than the AC Variable Frequency Drive (VFD). Today’s Variable Frequency Controls and Flux Vector Motor Controls have become the industry standard for crane control.

AC Variable Frequency Drives provide greater reliability, enhance performance, improve production throughput, prolong equipment life, and reduce maintenance costs, parts, and personnel in a variety of ways, including:

 

  • Reducing the characteristic high starting currents of AC induction motors
  • Minimizing the shock effect on both the load and the equipment
  • Offering features, such as programmable acceleration and dynamic braking that:
    • Produce softer stops and starts
    • Assure smooth transitions between speed steps
    • Reduce brake wear and required maintenance
    • Embedded Anti-Sway control

Crane-specific firmware, drive support tools, and wired/wireless communication with various peripheral devices provide valuable monitoring, status, performance, and diagnostic information.

Features are built-in and individually selectable:

  • Reverse Plug Simulation
  • Stall Prevention
  • Inching Control
  • Weight Measurement System
  • Micro-Positioning Control
  • Static Stepless Simulation

No two applications are the same. Variable Frequency Drives provide users with a variety of operating modes and a wide range of options. Most single-speed squirrel cage motors can be controlled by VFDs, including conical-rotor motors used by many European hoist manufacturers. Multiple control modes (two, three, and five step or infinitely variable speed) allow for changing the operation to suit the needs of specific applications or the desire of individual operators. A wider range of selectable speed choices (up to 1500:1) are available to the user compared to the fixed speed ratios provided by the typical two-speed motors (2:1, 3:1, or 4:1) or micro-drives (10:1).

Safety is built into modern Variable Frequency Drives. They include features that:

  • Reduce the possibility of lifting an over-capacity load
  • Minimize or eliminate dangerous load swing
  • Prevent overheating of the motor
  • Detect and minimize rapid increases in motor torque
  • Provide safeguards that limit unauthorized modification of drive parameters or programming unsafe parameters.

Today’s technology provides a cost-effective means to make your crane more efficient, productive, and safer.

Learn more about VFDs at www.magnetekmh.com.

Spectrum Analysis: Why Does It Matter?

Whether you are looking to diagnose current RF issues, expand your current radio control operations, or commission a new facility, spectrum analysis helps you navigate what’s “in the air,” reducing RF interference and costly troubleshooting. The RF Spectrum in the industrial workplace has been become increasingly crowded. Modern control panels, wireless networks, bar code readers, and two-way communication devices create signal traffic in a facility, all of which interfere with radio control systems.

One of Magnetek’s customers purchased a radio remote control system and after installation, experienced frequent dropouts, impacting workplace efficiency. Magnetek completed a spectrum analysis and was able to diagnose the interference and recommend a solution—a frequency change from the 900 MHz band to the 2.4 GHz band. This solution optimized the facility’s radio communications.

Our Spectrum Analysis Service includes a scan of your entire facility or a single area, indoor or outdoor. An average of 45-60 scans can be completed in up to an eight-hour period, five scans per location. Locations are determined by facility layout with a minimum of one location per operating area, typically three locations per bay. Scans are conducted on all the commonly used operating frequencies. You will receive:

  • Analysis of our findings
  • Scan screenshots
  • Identification of potential interference
  • Frequency recommendations

Whether an existing system or new radio control system installation, Magnetek’s Spectrum Analysis Service is the easiest way to navigate your facility’s airwaves.

For more information, contact your local Magnetek Sales Representative or 1.866.MAG.SERV (1.866.624.7378) or visit http://www.magnetekmh.com/Spectrum-Analysis-Service.

Reel in the Savings with Magnetek Cable Reels

 

Cable Reels

Magnetek cable reels are designed to be mounted on moving machinery and used to supply power for the automatic winding of flexible power or control cables. Cable reels are an ideal power delivery solution for equipment in industries including crane and hoist, fluid power, and marine terminal.

Package them with any of our industry-leading power and motion control products. Spring drive and motorized electric cable reels are available.

Industrial Duty Spring Reels

  • Cost-effective, pre-engineered solution for general purpose overhead material handling applications
  • Available in five sizes

Mill Duty Reels

  • Designed for optimum performance on overhead cranes, monorails, and magnet cranes operating in rugged environments such as mills, foundries, and other heavy-duty industries
  • Available in a multitude of sizes

Motorized Cable Reels

  • Ideal for long travel lengths and high voltage applications, particularly on runway motions
  • Useful for marine terminal equipment, including ship-to-shore container cranes (STS), rubber tired gantry cranes (RTG), and rail mounted gantry cranes (RMG)

For more information about cable reels, visit http://www.magnetekmh.com.

Video: We’re Always in Motion at Magnetek

 

We’re always in motion at Magnetek. Whether it’s material handling, mobile hydraulic, elevator, or mining, we are always working to enhance your success. We place great importance not only on what we do, but how we do it—and our commitment to responsible business practices allows us to promote and support success both at home and in the communities we reach.

Magnetek is:

  • America’s largest supplier of digital drive systems for industrial cranes and hoists. We provide Energy Engineered® drives, radio remote controls, braking and collision avoidance subsystems, motors, and more.
  • The world’s largest independent builder of digital motion control systems for elevator. We specialize in designing and manufacturing highly integrated Energy Engineered motion-control subsystems for elevators, serving the world’s foremost ‘lift’ builders.
  • In underground mining, we focus on coal, building a new generation of digital drive systems that enable mining equipment to recover this resource for refinement to produce “clean coal” energy.

Magnetek is dedicated to meeting your needs, wherever and whenever you need us. Watch our overview video to see where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Learn more at www.magnetek.com.