Switch to Unidrive M100 AC Drive Increases Profitability

A global producer of environmental cleaning systems has attributed an increase in profitability to the introduction of variable speed drives from Control Techniques.

Cold Jet® is the world leader in developing innovative, environmentally responsible dry ice cleaning solutions that help companies reduce maintenance costs, enhance product quality, prolong equipment life and improve productivity and worker safety.

Cold Jet's extensive line of dry ice cleaning systems are used in a variety of industries, making productive use of recycled carbon dioxide while eliminating the need for chemicals and water in the cleaning process. In addition, the company's dry ice production equipment is used by every major gas company worldwide to produce the highest density dry ice available.

The company, with its global headquarters in Loveland, Ohio, and international operations in Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico, has more than 220 direct employees and 100+ contractors and distributors. Cold Jet achieves year-over-year growth and acquired a major competitor in 2016 to grow its market share even further.

The basis of Cold Jet’s technology is dry ice blasting. Its flagship pellet dry ice cleaning product, the Aero, utilizes the patented SureFlow system which features an isolated, insulated hopper that reduces sublimation, as well as a radial feeder to provide smooth cleaning performance. As a cost savings measure, Cold Jet replaced its existing drive solution on the Aero with a Control Techniques Unidrive M100, reducing the production cost by around $100 per machine.

The feeder is the core of our Aero product,” said Neal Williams, Electrical Engineering and Controls Manager at Cold Jet. “It regulates how much dry ice passes into the blaster unit and, consequently, the level of blasting aggression.”

An AC variable speed drive is used to control the feeder and, during the redesign, Cold Jet took the opportunity to replace its existing drive system in order to achieve cost savings.

We considered a number of AC drive suppliers, but with Control Techniques’ Unidrive M100, we were able to achieve the same level of performance as our existing drive, but at a better price – some $100 less per unit,” said Williams. “I also had experience with Control Techniques’ products in the past, so I knew the quality of the technology.

The Unidrive M100 AC drive has been designed as a value product, offering quality and performance for general open loop industrial applications. It offers an easy-to-use LED keypad and a concise parameter set. The Unidrive M100 also uses an SD card with AI-backup to clone and transfer parameter sets. Its open loop V/Hz mode is quick to configure and features automatic tuning.

Despite its compact dimensions – the Unidrive M100 is among the smallest in its class at every power rating – the unit offers robust design for industrial environments and was deemed ideal for the Cold Jet Aero.

It proved straightforward to incorporate into our design, and required just a couple of changes to our schematics before we were up and running,” said Williams. “We have shipped more than 100 Aero units since the redesign and have encountered zero issues from either service or production. The Unidrive M100 is the first Control Techniques product we have used, and we would definitely consider their technology again for future projects.