Monthly Archives: August 2015

Aluminum Extrusion vs. Welded Steel

Posted August 26, 2015 by eeadmin

Categories: Aluminum Extrusion, Blog

When designing a machine frame for today’s automation equipment, should you use welded steel or structural aluminum extrusion?

machine frame built with aluminumAluminum extrusion vs. welded steel. There are several advantages to using aluminum extrusion when designing a machine frame:

  • Aluminum extrusion is a lightweight and high-strength material. It’s easy to cut and machine.
  • It does not require welding and does not require painting.
  • Aluminum extrusion is easy to assemble and disassemble which means that design changes are simplified and not as expensive.

Welded steel machine frames are made from less expensive steel, but the advantages tend to end there. Welded steel machine frames are a permanent assembly which requires much more effort to change or disassemble. They require special equipment (and specialized labor) to assemble, including a welder. Welded steel frames require paint and associated cleaning supplies. Steele is susceptible to rust anywhere that the paint is not covering. Over the long term life of the machine, welded steel frames require regular maintenance to prevent degradation.

On the plus side, welded steel survives (no fasteners to come loose) in applications where vibration is severe.

Aluminum Extrusion is Low Maintenance

All of those challenges go away when used structural aluminum. And designing your machine frame is as simple or as complicated as your imagination wants it to be. This is because assembly is so flexible and adaptive to change.

To assemble aluminum extrusion, insert a T-Nut and fastener into a T-Slot of the extrusion and tighten. It’s that simple. No welding or grinding is required. A few simple hand tools is all your need to tighten your design. When done, you have a durable, strong, lightweight structure that’s functional and attractive. The high-strength aluminum profiles have a clear anodize surface that is scratch and corrosion resistant. Your structure never needs painting and is maintenance free.

Most structural extrusions have a 2 degree taper that spring locks fasteners as they are tightened. Therefore, fasteners will not loosen, even under heavy vibration.

Aluminum extrusion machine frames need no welding, no painting (unless you want to), and don’t rust. They don’t require any special tools (or a welder) to assemble. Modifications are easy and attachments can be added and removed easily. Multiple automation manufacturer’s attachments can be utilized because of the standard sizes of T-slots.

Structural aluminum extrusion works well where changed might be needed, like the length of a table, desk or machine base.

Structural aluminum extrusion works well where changes might be needed, like the length of a table, desk or machine base. Accessories include handles, casters, feet and others.

Steel may cost less at the beginning of the project. But in the end, structural aluminum extrusion usually makes for lower overall cost per project. Consider structural aluminum as an alternative for shelving, work stations, carts and other projects where lightweight and design flexibility are needed. – Adam Ring

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Yaskawa F7 Drive: Problem I’ve Never Seen

Posted by eeadmin

Categories: Blog, Industrial AC Drive

As one of Innovative-IDM's Houston-area field service technicians, I was called out to look at a lathe.

The customer complained that the lube pump wasn't working. It actually was. But we started the machine and ramped it up, it sounded like the gears were going to grind out of the machine and the DB resistors started smoking. The customer indicated it was probably normal, due to low load and gear selection...I took the opposite view (there is something seriously wrong here) and convinced him to pull the belts. The motor continued to cog (and the DB started to smoke again) at about 1/4 speed even uncoupled.

The motor megged and ohmed normal.

The Yaskawa F7 4045 drive was running in Open loop vector.

I disconnected the DB Unit (it statically checked fine). The cogging continued and the drive OV tripped.

I saved the parameters and switched the drive to V/Hz. The cogging decreased dramatically (however the machine still started to vibrate. No OV trip.) The output waveform looked fairly normal phase to phase, and normal phase to+/- busses.

At about 15hz the DC buss started to get a 100VAC sign wave riding on top of it at ~ 11Hz and linearly increased to 12Hz as the drive was speed up to 20hz, above that the ripple disappeared. The machine vibration also followed starting at 15Hz and disappearing at 20 Hz.

I broke out my Fluke Scope current clamp on, and found the output current waveform to be a normal sine wave below 15hz and above 20Hz.

Between 15 and 20Hz however the Current waveform (on all 3 legs) appears to be the summation of 2 similarly sized ac waveforms.

I discussing the situation with one of our engineers, Steve Lyons, and he suggested that the issue could be the result of the motors rotor wobbling, changing the air gap.

I informed the customer that I'm leaning towards a motor issue ~ 85/15 and that the only way to be certain is to hook up the drive to a test motor.

We will do so at a later date as the customer will bring out his spare motor while he fixes the gearing (he found several issues during a visual inspection preformed while I was dinking with the drive). The machine will be down for a month or so.

I have included a pdf of the "Normal" current waveform VS the "Distorted" current waveform.

I've never seen this before ... if any one has any ideas I'm open for suggestions, experiences, anecdotes...what ever you've got. - DF

Yaskawa V7 data

Yaskawa V7 Trouble Shooting Data

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Handwritten Thank You Cards Make Positive Impact With Customers

Posted by eeadmin

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

In the past 12 months, our employees have handwritten and mailed 2,651 thank you cards to current and new customers. That's an average of about 10 per day, every business day. No one is required to write thank you cards. An attitude of gratitude is of the highest order at Innovative-IDM. When was the last time your staff mailed -- not an email, text or phone call -- a handwritten thank you note to your customer? Does your company provide thank you cards and envelopes to encourage your staff to thank customers?

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