The Drive for Greater Efficiency
One of the defining trends in drive technology at the moment is the push towards ever greater efficiency and sustainability. Drive technology is used in all kinds of systems, machines and equipment, so it is a trend of major importance that cuts across virtually every industry. Which is why the latest developments in energy-saving solutions for electric, hydraulic and pneumatic drive technology will be there for professionals from all user industries to see at the Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) show at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 (13 to 17 April, Fair ground, Hannover Messe 2015) in Hannover, Germany.
One topic that will feature strongly in the MDA exhibition halls (19-25) - and indeed also in the electric drive technology halls of MDA's sister show, Industrial Automation (halls 14 and 15) - is Commission Regulation (EC) No. 640/2009. Effective 1 January 2015, this legislation sets out new efficiency requirements for electric drives with rated outputs of between 7.5 and 375 kW. Electric motors in these output ranges must now either meet the higher IE3 efficiency level or meet the IE2 efficiency level and be equipped with a variable speed drive (frequency converter).
The relevant industry standard that feeds into this legislation is EN 50598. It follows a holistic approach, focusing on the efficiency of entire electrically driven systems (e.g. pump systems) rather than just on the efficiency of individual drive components (such as motors). EN 50598 defines the new efficiency levels that will eventually form a new industrial standard known as IES (International Efficiency for Systems). The importance of this approach is clear from the fact that electrically driven systems account for 70 percent of power demand in industrial plants. The potential for savings is therefore enormous.
Variable speed control technology is a key way of improving the efficiency of electrically driven systems. Of course, the electric motor itself also needs to be highly efficient. Bauer Gear Motor, for instance, uses permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM), which achieve energy savings of over 30 percent, especially when operated under partial load conditions. Siemens's electric-motor showcase at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 (Fair ground, Hannover Messe 2015) will include synchronous reluctance motors that deliver high efficiencies at both full and partial load, high dynamic responses, and good speed consistency for precision control.
Electric gear motor specialist SEW is raising the sustainability bar even higher with a new recycling and re-use program that it will launch at HANNOVER MESSE. Under the program, users will be able to return the new MOVI4R-U inverter to SEW once it has reached the end of its service life. On return, SEW will carefully test, refurbish and re-use the unit's recyclable parts. Anything that can't be used will simply be recycled.
Mechanical power transmission systems, too, have an important part to play in making industry more efficient, as will be made abundantly clear at the exhibition stands of the gear system manufacturers at MDA (Fair ground, Hannover Messe 2015) . ZF Friedrichshafen, for instance, will present a new hollow-shaft drive that makes machine tools more efficient and flexible than direct drives. And for mobile applications, ZF has developed Terra+, a generator module that can be integrated into the transmission housing of vehicles such as tractors, transforming them into mild hybrids. Terra+ can be used as a power source for onboard electrical auxiliaries and reduces the vehicle's overall energy consumption.
Manufacturers of hydraulic and pneumatic products and systems are likewise investing in efficiency. The German hydraulic cylinder specialist Hänchen, for example, will be using MDA to present a new range of cylinders made of hybrid carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (HCFRP). The cylinders are the result of four years of intensive development work and extensive investment in new production plant. They are 80 percent lighter and 50 percent more energy efficient than metal hydraulic linear drives. Hänchen is running a special CFRP showcase at MDA 2015 where it plans to stage the official market launch of its HCFRP hydraulic cylinders.
Pneumatic systems, too, offer many avenues for efficiency gains and energy savings. Aventics, for example, has developed a new valve system - its AV (Advanced Valve) family. The AV valve system can communicate with higher-level control systems via various field bus systems. It is also compact and lightweight. Aventics CEO Paul Cleaver explains: "The valve unit is only about half the weight of comparable products, which means it can be placed closer to the pneumatic actuator. That fact alone reduces compressed-air consumption by up to 20 percent." According to Cleaver, the overall compressed-air saving achievable from using Aventics's AV electro-pneumatic valves can be as much as 50 percent.
Users of pneumatics systems will no doubt also be interested in finding out how they can make their compressed-air generation systems more efficient. This is the subject matter of the ComVac show, which will be staged alongside MDA at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 (Fair ground, Hannover Messe 2015). ComVac features the latest efficiency solutions from the world's leading compressor manufacturers.
The final piece in the drive efficiency puzzle is control technology - because all drives, be they electric, hydraulic or pneumatic, can achieve enormous energy savings under the steady management of intelligent closed-loop control systems. And the best place to discover these systems at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 (Hall plan, Hannover Messe 2015) is Industrial Automation, the trade fair that shows how advanced automation technology can improve the efficiency of industrial plant and machinery.
Images: R. Eberhard, messekompakt.com, EBERHARD print & medien agentur gmbh
Source: Deutsche Messe AG