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Decentralised drives bring energy savings and operational benefits

13 November 2015

SEW Eurodrive’s Movigear mechatronic drive system combines high-efficiency gearing, motor and drive electronics in a single unit. We take a closer look at this decentralised drive product.

Coca-Cola’s Austrian bottling plant modernisation involved the installation of 40 Movigear decentralised drives

The energy consumption of motor driven equipment is clearly dependent on the efficiencies of its drive train components. Energy losses due to inefficiencies will have a big impact on costs, and savings can only be achieved if these losses are reduced to a minimum. With Movigear, SEW can provide a complete drive system that combines energy savings with operational benefits and cost-cutting features.

The modularity, flexibility and simplified system design of Movigear decentralised drives eliminates the need for control cabinets, saving floor space, reducing costs and the labour intensive, time-consuming process of wiring of motors, sensors and actuators. In addition to its energy saving capabilities, Movigear’s modularity and flexibility offer significant advantages in terms of operational effectiveness.

A good example of this is provided by the food and beverage industry. Beverage sales are not consistent throughout the year; they vary widely according to the season, rising sharply during the hot summer months, when bottling operations must run to their full capacity.

The flexibilities that SEW's decentralised drive technology brings to plant design means that it can be quickly reconfigured to process different drinks, bottle types and bottle sizes, as production requirements change to meet market demands. For example, a Movigear equipped system can be switched with ease from filling 0.5 litre beer bottles to bottling and packaging 0.3 litre mixed drinks.

Maintenance, too, is simplified; fault finding on a decentralised modular system is quicker and easier than troubleshooting one involving remote control cabinets, separate electronics and its attendant cabling.

So, savings may be gained not just from reduced energy consumption but across the board, from simplified design, planning and installation, to operational benefits and reductions in life cycle costs. With Movigear, the user can start cutting energy costs immediately, as well as taking advantage of the operational cost saving benefits too. 

Movigear saves energy for Coca-Cola
When Coca-Cola HBC, Austria (Coca-Cola’s licensed Austrian bottler) planned the modernisation of a transport line handling Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite drinks products in 0.3 to 2.5 litre capacity PET bottles, the company’s key objectives were to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The transport line links the bottling plant to a palletising system via a shrink wrap packer.

Wien Energie GmbH was appointed to plan the modernisation and was involved with the initial energy consumption calculations.  The new line was equipped with 40 Movigear units, with all necessary power supply and communications handled by SEW’s Single Line Network Installation (SNI) technology, which enables energy and communication transfer via a single four-core cable.

Unlike traditional decentralised installations, with SNI there is no need for separate bus communication and 24V supply cables. As a result, significantly less cabling is used compared with a classically wired central installation, giving typical reductions in cabling workload of around 60 percent. What’s more, SNI technology facilitates diagnostic services from any network gateway within the company or anywhere in the world via the Internet, secured via user-defined authorisation levels in the configuration and diagnostics software.

With the new system installed, Coca-Cola reported a substantial 75 percent saving in energy consumption over that of the previous drive system. That is equivalent to 41,000kg of CO2 annually, and through these savings alone, the investment paid for itself in less than a year. Having studied the plant’s energy consumption statistics from the start, Wien Energie was able to verify and confirm the figures achieved.

Hygienic design
Another important feature of Movigear is its hygienic design, which is a high priority in the food and beverage industries, particularly in sensitive production areas. To meet these requirements, great emphasis was placed on the surface design of Movigear, as some older drive technology products can make it very difficult to clean production systems as thoroughly as required.

Standard drive components are often equipped with cooling fins within which dirt and debris can accumulate, leading to bacteria colonisation and possible transmission by air currents to other parts of the plant. It can also be difficult to remove dirt accumulations completely due to the poor accessibility of the drive components within a system.

Another problem occurs if the drive technology cannot withstand the aggressive cleaning agents and disinfectants used on some food and beverage production lines. This can damage surface finishes, breaching hygiene guidelines. For this reason the surface design and geometry of Movigear units were developed along Hygienic Design guidelines, while its fan-less drive design prevents air currents from spreading bacteria throughout the plant. With a surface coating that protects reliably against corrosion, Movigear is equipped for operation in wet areas and can withstand tough cleaning processes.

A special pressure compensation membrane protects the electronics against moisture by compensating the vacuum created by the wide fluctuations in temperature that occur during the cleaning process. This prevents critical suction effects from acting on the seals. And, if the electronics have to be replaced at some point in the future, the upper electronic section can be disconnected quickly and easily from the connection section by simply loosening four screws. As a result, it only takes a few minutes to replace the electronic section without dismantling the connection cable, thus ensuring maximum system availability.

In addition to the food and beverage sector, SEW's decentralised drives range can be found in a wide variety of applications, including materials handling, automotive production and airport logistics services such as baggage handling systems. 


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