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Squeezing the most from your drive

01 May 2012

How best to puree fruit containing stones, or to separate fish from bones? And how to remove sinew and gristle from meat without waste? In the food industry, so-called soft separators are used to gently separate such materials, and these now rely increasingly on modern drive technology to ensure both economical running and consistently high product quality.

The Baader Type 605 soft separator
The Baader Type 605 soft separator

The Baader group is a leading manufacturer of machinery and processing plant for the food industry. The company has been developing machines for the clean separation of food products, like those mentioned above, for more than 40 years, and now builds high throughput, high reliability soft separators for the processing of many disparate food products.

These machines feature a ‘squeezing belt’, which is chain driven by a geared motor. This transports the product to a perforated drum, squeezing the soft components through the perforations, while the solid particles remain outside of the drum. A special device allows the yield/quality ratio to be adjusted according to the processor’s needs.

This separation technique provides consistently high product quality with minimal temperature rise - an important factor that ensures no deterioration in the cell structure of the source product. Just as importantly, unwanted solid components, such as bones and stones, are kept out of the end product during the processing cycle.

In several Baader models, helical bevel geared motors from Nord Drivesystems are used to drive the squeezing belt. A good example is the company’s Type 605 high volume processing machine, which can achieve 3,000kg/hour depending on the perforated drum hole size (which can range from 1.3 to 8mm diameter as standard), the product being separated, the feed temperature and selected pressure.

Custom drives
Nord provides robust helical bevel gear motors for Baader’s soft separators, namely the company’s SK 9016.1, SK 9022.1 and SK 9042.1 models. These drives owe their robustness and long life, in part, to their ‘Unicase’ gearbox housings, which are single-piece castings with integrated bearing seats. The design eliminates all sealing surfaces that might otherwise deflect as a result of radial forces. The high-efficiency gear units with durable, wear-free gear teeth also confer high reliability, which is essential for these high volume processing applications.

Nord’s consultation services for customers and users was another factor in Baader’s choice of geared motor supplier. For example, the company was also able to advise Baader during the latter’s preparation for the switchover to IE2 motors. Baader’s separator technology product manager, Martin Schaarschmidt describes Nord as a reliable, competent partner that is willing to supply drives customised for specific duties. In particular, he pays tribute to the willingness of Nord’s experts to consult at every stage of a project, allowing Baader to focus on its core machine building competency.

Efficiency classes
Since June 2011, electric motors must fulfil the stricter energy efficiency requirements of the IE2 efficiency class. Nord has been supplying IE2 motors for some time, and these offer various advantages over previous models, including improved efficiency, higher start-up and breakdown torque, decreased slip, and better thermal performance. This has a positive impact on service life as well as operating costs. Moreover, these performance improvements will often allow the user to specify a smaller motor frame size to achieve the same objectives.

Nord also addresses the market for IE3 motors, which were introduced in the USA towards the end of 2010. This class of motor must ensure an efficiency increase of at least 10% over that of the IE2 class. The company achieves this by replacing aluminium with copper in the squirrel cage construction, considerably reducing rotor losses. In addition, further measures such as the use of sheet lamination material with lower specific core losses, larger conductor cross-sections in the windings, flux-optimised windings, and smaller windings, have helped the company in its endeavours to achieve IE3 rated motors. Even further increases in efficiency can be achieved with permanent magnet motors or motors operated in combination with frequency inverters.

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