A leading manufacturer of tissue and paper-based consumer products has upgraded to Control Techniques Unidrive M variable speed drives.
Soffass SpA, based in Porcari, Italy, is part of the Sofidel group of companies. It produces a range of products including Regina, as well as a wide selection of other products aimed at the global consumer tissue paper market. These include toilet paper, kitchen towel, napkins, paper tablecloths, handkerchiefs, facial tissues and sheets for medical and industrial use.
The company is a long-term user of Control Techniques variable speed drives. However, with mature products such as Commander SK
and Unidrive SP
moving into the next stage of their lifecycle, the benefits of upgrading to the latest industrial AC drive technology, Unidrive M
, were clear.
Unidrive M is capable of fully replacing and enhancing Commander SK and Unidrive SP installations. It offers full mechanical compatibility in terms of dimensions and weights, and when retrofitting surface mount drives existing mounting holes can be reused, negating the need for additional drilling. Furthermore, Unidrive M offers the same power and control wiring philosophy and the same menu and parameter structure. Indeed, parameters can be transferred from Unidrive SP and Commander SK using Unidrive M Connect software, or via a smartcard (Unidrive SP only).
The maintenance team management at Soffass, lead by Giuliano Dinelli (Maintenance Manager) and Luca Manfredini (Electrical Engineer), was keen to tap into the extra benefits offered by Unidrive M, and were able to do this quickly and easily thanks to a number of key design features.
“Previously we used Commander SK and Unidrive SP drives with the SM-Applications and SM-Safety modules, and even though we knew these products would continue to be supported for the next 10 years at least, we thought it provided a good opportunity to take advantage of Unidrive M,” said Giuliano Dinelli, converting maintenance manager at Soffass. “As a result of the upgrade we now use Unidrive M200 drives for asynchronous motor control in the conveyors, and Unidrive M700 drives in the remainder of the applications.”
Among the principal uses for Unidrive M at Soffass is the embosser, where paper veils are matched together to make the final product thicker and softer. The drives also control the print units, as well as the winder/unwinder, which delivers materials to further stages of the process.
“We have complete trust in the Unidrive M platform and wanted to upgrade for many reasons, not least the ease of programming, set-up, commissioning and cabling,” says Mr Dinelli. “Furthermore, we liked technical features such as synchronous Ethernet, on-board AMC and the multi-protocol encoder connector. This multi-axis system with multiple controls is the perfect fit for our converting machinery at Porcari. In total, we have now purchased around 100 Unidrive M drives from Emerson.”
Such has been the success of the upgrade programme that Soffass is now considering the use of additional products from Control Techniques and its sister company, Leroy-Somer, in future projects. Specifically, the company has earmarked the adoption of permanent magnet (PM) motors as they can offer energy savings in equipment such as paper mills, where power requirements are typically high.
“We like Control Techniques because its products are reliable and easy to use,” concludes Mr Dinelli. “In addition, Control Techniques has supported us in the design and development of the machines, and responded positively to our demands in terms of throughput and budget.”