Intelligent Motor Controls Boost Safety, Energy Savings

Nov. 14, 2007
Rockwell Automation's Automation Fair 2007 visitors explore a range of Intelligent Motor Control (IMC) solutions.

“Intelligent Motor Control is all about fact that motors represent the biggest asset in most plants and account for the largest energy use,” said Cheryl Lange, Rockwell Automation commercial program manager. “Protecting them and keeping them running efficiently is important.” 

Indeed, visitors to Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair this week can explore a range of Intelligent Motor Control solutions on the exhibit floor, including drives and controllers designed for increased safety and energy efficiency. Rockwell Automation’s approach to Intelligent Motor Control centers on the Premier Integration drive configuration features available in RSLogix 5000 version 16 software. With it, users of Allen-Bradley PowerFlex drives can consolidate drive system configuration, operation and maintenance into a single environment. According to Lange, this capability reduces programming, installation and overall ownership costs by minimizing the number of required software tools, providing faster startup, improved accuracy and easier drive system maintenance.

“What Intelligent Motor Control technologies give users is the ability to use operating data to protect their motors. The information is there, but users didn’t have access to it. Intelligent Motor Control allows people to use the operating data to make better decisions,” she said.  Intelligent Motor Control solutions are also scalable, added Lange. “Through the use of open controls in the integrated architecture platform, we can give users access to real-time data seamlessly.”

Rockwell Automation's Arc Flash Services, designed to help keep employees safe from electrical arc flash and arc blast releases, were among the capabilities highlighted on the exhibit floor.
Energy Savings

The Intelligent Motor Control Solutions/Integrated Architecture  combo also has important energy monitoring and management tools, added Lange. The Load Profiling tool measures and records energy use and stores the information so users can later verify electric bills, negotiate rate structures and identify opportunities for managing demand and reducing energy costs. Distribution System Monitoring aids in equipment maintenance by identifying equipment that may be approaching failure, and can automatically reconfigure the electrical system topology, shed loads or increase generator output to save both energy and possibly the equipment. The Power Quality Monitoring tool identifies the cause of motor and drives failures, information which may be used to negotiate better service from utilities and identify the need for power correction factors.

Motor Control Centers

The portfolio of products on display includes electronic overload protection relays, soft starters, variable-speed and medium-voltage AC drives and controllers, high-performance and high-power drives, standalone controllers, prepackaged turnkey solutions and complete drive systems, including the CENTERLINE family of motor control centers. “Customers have different requirements,” said Lange. “They may need one or all of these solutions. Intelligent Motor Control takes all those different technologies and applies the communications capability of Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture to them.”

One of the star features of the booth is an addition to the CENTERLINE family—the 2500 MCC. The CENTERLINE 2500 is designed for use in Latin American, the Asia Pacific region and EMEA. It is built to IEC standards and has a metric design. The system will be a boon to global companies with operations in multiple countries, said Sarah Larson, Rockwell Automation product marketing engineer. It comes with a built-in DeviceNet communications system and can deliver data remotely with the doors closed, an added safety feature. Companies can use the hardware designed for specific countries and monitor it with the same software universally.

Arc Safety

Another highlight is the CENTERLINE 2100 motor control center with ArcShield. This is an enhanced version of the CENTERLINE 2100, outfitted with arc-containing features. ArcShield is tested in accordance with ANSI C37.20.7 IEEE guidelines and helps provide type 2 accessibility—shielding at the front, rear and sides of the enclosure in the event of an arc fault. The 2100 MCC with ArcShield also has special door latches that allow pressure relief and keep the doors from detaching during an arc fault. Additional options include IntelliCENTER software, DeviceNet ports, blown-fuse indicators, exterior windows on unit doors, infrared inspection ports and finger-safe component barriers.

The ArcShield medium-voltage (up to 7,200 volts) arc-resistant motor control center is also on display. Its design redirects arc flash energy out relief vents at the top of the unit. The cabinet and doors are reinforced with 12-gauge steel, multipoint latches and robust door hinges. It also maintains type 2 protection as outlined in IEEE C37.20.7.

The key message at Booth 645, concluded Lange, is that “with Premier Integration and PowerFlex, customers have a central software platform and can seamlessly integrate motor control into their manufacturing applications.”