How using smart motor controllers improves manufacturing productivity

How using smart motor controllers improves manufacturing productivity

The old adage “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is no longer relevant to 21st-century manufacturing. Producers face a never-ending challenge of continuous productivity improvement. Moreover, in these difficult times, improvement is further complicated by pressure to minimise capital expenditure (CAPEX). Despite these contradictory goals, Schneider Electric argues that emerging technologies can help.

New generations of smart motor controllers (MCs) are changing the way industry manages motors to improve productivity through improving electrical design from automation architecture to operations.

Smart motor controllers

For example, traditional motor controls protect motors and conductors but do not give warning of a stoppage. The unexpected stopping of a motor in a continuous process can cost thousands of pounds in the wasted raw material. But the TeSys island load management system can detect and warn of impending problems. It lets operators resolve issues before machines stop, to help productivity and minimise scrap.

These devices are also smaller, allowing more extra starters per column and less copper for the main power busbar. Smaller cabinets are cheaper to build and occupy less expensive floor space, benefiting restricted space applications.

Traditional electromechanical thermal overload relays work by creating heat proportional to the current. But they also account for about 35% of the root causes of motor failure. The newest smart motor controllers include advanced protection that can make a big improvement in operation and reduce unwanted trips by solving up to 55% of motor failures.

When a circuit breaker trip is unavoidable, a traditional breaker requires a manual reset on the lever to restart. For remote locations like a water treatment plant, it forces an operator to travel a large distance to access the panel. Using smart circuit breakers allows remote opening of a downstream contactor before the breaker trips, allowing an automatic reset or remote restart. Smart motor circuit breakers with integrated thermal protection are in use in millions of installations.

The TeSys GV4 from Schneider Electric is part of the new generation of smart thermal-magnetic and magnetic motor circuit breakers. Rated up to 55 kW/100 kA, it offers advanced protection, pre-alarms, low heat dissipation, auto reset, and remote restart. The TeSys GV4 range and smart motor controllers help protect an entire machine application while improving plant efficiency and reducing maintenance.


Recent blog posts