Encoders…The Weakest Link

Repairs for Damaged EncodersTalk about out of proportion!   It struck me today as ironic that an entire manufacturing plant’s production can literally be held hostage by the failure of one relatively inexpensive part:  an encoder.

When motion control is important to your production, then your encoder is a key component… and yet, often the weakest link.  Encoders are repeatedly exposed to shock, dirt, vibration,  and high temperatures that test their toughness.

If you can afford it, make sure you buy the latest and greatest encoders.   These have built-in diagnostics systems that monitor the device’s functioning and lets you know when maintenance is needed before it becomes a production disaster.

Wireless encoders, Quadrature to USB, High Resolution Linear Encoders, and the newest Absolute Encoders are making all kinds of headway into the future of motion control so do some research on what will work best for your application before you plunk down your money.

That said, there’s a lot of rotary encoders out there doing their job 24/7.  If yours seems to be headed for the title of “Weakest Link” here’s a handy list of what might be going wrong with your encoder:

  • Worn-out Ball Bearings

How to tell:  Entire drive unit becomes irregular as the frequency inverter tries to compensate for the loss of several pulses.  This is usually due to poor installation of the bearings resulting in premature wear.

  • Loose Contact

How to tell:  You get random faults.

  • Dirt/Dust Particles

How to tell:  The encoder produces one pulse too few.  Why?  Dust particles on the incremental disc fools the rotary encoder into detecting two increment lines as just one.  Use an encoder with an external plug connection to help avoid this.

  • Moisture

How to tell:  Sporadic failures.  Moisture may have gotten in through the cable gland.

  • Overheating

How to tell:  Usually total failure.  Hot exhaust air from the motor fan passes over the encoder causing it to overheat.

The good news is that many encoder problems are economically repairable.  ACS Industrial’s dedicated encoder repair tech team has all the manufacturers covered including BEI encoders, Heidenhain encoders, Dynapar, Allen Bradley, Fanuc, Sumtak, Tamagawa, Yaskawa, Fincor, and many others.

Siemen Announces New and Better Spindle Motors for CNC Users

Check Out Siemens New High Performance Spindle Motors or Get RepairsNew gadgets are always cool and fun and I love letting you know about new stuff.  If you are looking for more dynamic responsiveness, smoother operation, and lower vibration levels, then Siemens may have just the new spindle motor for your applications.

The family of Siemens 1PH8 high performance induction motor drives and servo motors are now available in a wide power range from 2.8kW to 1340kW.  With a combination of induction and high-powered servo technologies they give a much greater degree of efficiency and precision.

Although designed specifically for the requirements of a main spindle on a CNC-equipped machine tool, these new induction motors have tons of other applications for heavy-duty markets such as crane and hoist elevation; extruders and injection modeling machines; metal-forming and welding machinery; assembly line robotic articulation; printing presses; materials handling gantries; rolls and web handling on packing machinery; and much more.

Happily, the 1PH8 motor spindle line is fully compatible with the Siemens Sinamics S120 drives platform and feature the Drive-Cliq serial interface and electronic nameplate recognition for simple plug and play start up.

Even better news for those who have earlier families of Siemens motor designs, these can be easily upgraded to the new 1PH8 series.

If you want more information on these new spindle motors, go straight to www.usa.siemens.com/motioncontrol.

If you need Siemens spindle motor repair, then you have also stopped in at the right place.  Our tech service team is ready to repair virtually any piece of Siemens industrial electronic equipment you may have and our customer service team is ready to help you get the repairs you need.  Visit our website at www.acsindustrial.com or call us at 800-605-6419.

5 Simple Ways to Avoid Shipping Disasters

Picture this:  A cardboard box containing the large Yaskawa circuit board repairs arrives on my loading dock just as expected.  Unexpectedly, the box, marked “Fragile”, has a hole in one side, a corner is crushed and it rattles ominously.  Shipping disasters can be avoided, even with overly aggressive delivery services.

Do the delivery guys and gals really have it in for us?  Do they go all Dr. Evil and laugh insanely as they drop kick the packages marked “Fragile”?  Nah.  Not really (well, maybe a few).  But there really are some important tips for successful shipping no matter which carrier you prefer:

  • BOX: Choose the RIGHT BOX.  Old or new, always choose heavy corrugated cardboard boxes that are not damaged.  If you have the original box so much the better.  It will have specially molded pieces inside to cradle your electronic equipment properly.  If your item weighs more than 30 pounds you should use a double-walled box or you can double box the item.  The box should be large enough to allow for plenty of packing material.
  • PACK: Use A LOT of good packing material and pack the box tightly.  Use 3 inches of cushioning on all sides.  Bubble wrap and foam are usually good choices (it would be difficult to use too much) for cushioning and if you are shipping multiple items wrap each one separately covering all sides of the object.  Completely fill the box so no empty space is left.  You want to prevent movement because movement results in damage during shipping.
  • SEAL:  Tape up Every Seam.  Use good, 2 inch wide pressure-sensitive shipping tape or 60-lb- grade water activated tape and seal every seam leaving no flaps flapping.  Don’t use cellophane tape, duct tape, masking tape, string or twine.  They either fail or get hung up on automated processing equipment.
  • LABEL: Fill it Out Fully & Neatly.  If you are hand writing the shipping label PRINT and be neat about it.  And don’t leave any blanks – the shipper is not a mind reader or a hieroglyphic reader.  Attach the label firmly to the outside of the box in a plastic sleeve and put a packing slip or label INSIDE the box too in case the outside label gets damaged or torn off.
  • STRANGE BUT TRUE: A final tip to the wise shipper, labels marked “Fragile”, “This End Up” or use of “UP” arrows are a fail!  These are often ignored or seem to bring out the worst in some people.  Better to just pack your item very well, complete the shipping documents clearly and leave it looking rather plain.

Remember that the shipping world is an industrial one full of none-too-delicate automated equipment. They move an amazing amount of stuff around the country in practically a nanosecond – a Star Trek transporter would be just that much cooler.

If you have had some “interesting” shipping experiences (who hasn’t?) you will have fun reading a recent Popular Mechanics article where they experimented with three major U.S. shippers (you know which ones!) and recorded the results.  Check it out here:  http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/tests/which-shipping-company-is-kindest-to-your-packages

What did you say?! This Commercial Just Got Really Loud and I Couldn’t Hear You

Whilst scanning various electronic news sources today there was the usual malicious mayhem and predictable political posturing when…wait a minute…what should behold my wondering eyes but  “The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation act”?   Is this a Jerry Seinfeld joke?  No, it’s truth!

Seems Congress has voted, unanimously I might add, to require advertisers to reduce the volume of television commercials within one year.  Loud commercials bring bipartisanship? I’m not sure whether to howl with joy or be dismayed…don’t they have bigger things to worry about?  Can anyone say jobs?

Whatever congreIndustrial Electronics Can Be Repaired and Save You Moneyss does, or does not do this year, ACS Industrial Services will be a constant.  For every two steps forward the economy takes, it seems it takes one backward.  This makes caring for and repairing your existing plant assets more important than ever.

Keep up with the maintenance and remember services like circuit board repairs, power supply repairs, and drive repairs usually cost less than purchasing new and are well worth the effort.

PS:  By the way, if, like us, you are a proud electronics geek then this wreath is the ultimate in Christmas décor for you.  Check it out at  http://www.boingboing.net/2010/12/06/geeky-wreath.html

Buying Gold?

Got gold?  Seems like everyone from entertainer or enlightener Glenn Beck (you choose which)  to hedge fund legends George Soros and John Paulson have been touting buying gold these days. 

Maybe investing in gold is right for you, or maybe not, but either way I've got a pot of gold for you!  That will be the money you save repairing your industrial electronics versus trashing them and buying new.   This month you can save even more at ACS when you get your industrial electronics repaired.  

For the entire month of December 2010 we are offering a 15% discount on ALL repairs, that's right, all of them, from encoder repairs to servo motor repairs to circuit board repairs and everything in between. 

In our experience, repairs for most industrial electronics run about 25-50%  of the cost of buying new. Just knowing this can help you decide whether to choose repairs over new.  

Just mention this blog article when you speak to one of our customer service team members or print it out and attach it to your Free Evaluation/RMA form to include with your item when you ship to us.  Now that was easy, wasn't it? 

Back to ruminating on gold…I wonder if  WikiLeaks' Julian Assange has bought any gold recently…I'm thinking he's gonna need a lot!

ABB Acquires Baldor Electric for Billion$ and Other Industrial Manufacturer News Bits

money bagIn case you missed it, Swiss-based ABB will acquire Baldor Electric Company  beginning December 2010 in an all-cash deal.  The $4.2 billion deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

Why?  For ABB, this transaction fills in a gap in ABB’s automation offerings by folding in Baldor’s successful NEMA motor line and will better position the company as a major player in the industrial motor market, including high-efficiency motors.  It will also bump up ABB’s mechanical power transmission business and will significantly broaden ABB’s access to North American industrial customers.

No small potatoes itself, Baldor employs approximately 7,000 people and reported revenue of $1.29 billion (that’s a “b” folks) in the first nine months of 2010.  The U.S. market for high-efficiency motors is expected to grow as much as 15% in 2011 due to new regulations effective in December 2010.

Sounds like a win-win for ABB and Baldor Electric, both respected companies.  Additional good news that comes out of this marriage is the potential for new jobs as ABB will  locate its motor and generator business headquarters for North America in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

While we’re talking expansion, Yaskawa America’s Drives & Motion Division has released a new motion controller, the MP2600iec which provides motion control of 1 or 1.5 axis along with machine control.  It supports all five IEC61131-3 programming languages:  Ladder Diagram, Function Block, Structures Text, Sequential Function Chart, and Instruction List.

Quick facts about the new Yaskawa controller:

  • Monitors via 15 discrete inputs, 11 discrete outputs, one analog input and one output
  • Interfaces with automation, monitoring, and control systems via discrete I/O, EtherNet/P, and Modbus/TCP digital networks
  • Optional OPC server that allows for the transfer of real time data from the machine process to the factory network.

This is just interesting and useful info I am passing along to you…I don’t have any stock in ABB, Baldor, or Yaskawa and don’t sell new equipment.

What I do have is an outstanding tech team that provides expert industrial electronic repair when you need service.  This includes motor repairs, motion controller repairs, drive repairs, Yaskawa repairs, Baldor repairs, ABB repairs as well as repairs for most other manufacturers and industrial electronic equipment.  Need help?  Call our friendly customer service team at 800-605-6419 or check out our website at www.acsindustrial.com