AuCom soft starters support excavation of extension to the Panama Canal

Posted by AuCom on 05/09/16 12:16

Running through the Central American nation of Panama, the Panama Canal has been an important conduit for international trade between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans for over 100 years. In 2016 the largest expansion of the trade route since its original construction was completed.

The capacity increase of the new canal has more than doubled, with the maximum ship size able to carry 5000 TEUs (terminal equivalent units). Vessels with capacity of more than 13,000 TEUs will be able to navigate the expanded canal system.

This feat of engineering has an overall program cost of $US 5.25 billion, and has involved shifting more than 50 million cubic metres of material (an Olympic-sized swimming pool has a 2500 cubic metres capacity).

Part of the expansion was the Pacific Access Channel, known as PAC4, which involved the excavation of some of that 50 million cubic metres in the form of a 6.1km long access channel for a set of new Pacific locks. AuCom distributer in the region, El Salvador-based Industrial Systems, has played a role in making the huge project happen.

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Topics: Water & Wastewater, Projects, Soft Start Control, Pumping


Getting 'holistic' with soft starters

Posted by AuCom on 28/07/16 13:22

Mention ‘holistic’ and ‘eco’ in the same sentence and people will think you are talking environmentalism or personal health, but the two concepts are becoming synonymous with modern motor control strategies.

CAPIEL (the European Coordinating Committee of Manufacturers of Electrical Switchgear and Controlgear)’s recent position paper on taking an eco-smart approach toward the use of premium efficiency motors – “Ecodesign requirements for Electric Motors – Towards a System-Approach” - stated that ‘Real-life energy efficiency can only be achieved through a system-approach. Both motor and its control node must match the intended application requirements’.

Motors of all sizes and uses often need large amounts of energy when required to quickly accelerate to full speed and both soft starters and variable frequency drives can be used to reduce inrush currents and limit torque. The decision to pick one, however, is decided by the application, system requirements, and cost implications. It requires a holistic approach.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design, Energy Efficiency


RHONA extend their world with AuCom partnership

Posted by AuCom on 21/07/16 10:19

RHONA logo large.jpg“While the features, innovations, reliability, pricing and delivery times of AuCom products are the key factors to RHONA building successful customer relationships, it is AuCom’s focus on providing the right level of support to RHONA that makes the difference,” - Pablo Neuweiler, Manager of the Commercial Division at RHONA.

Customer: RHONA
Need: A trusted partner to supply quality soft starter products
Solution: RHONA partners with AuCom to supply Chile with reliable soft starter products and support
Outcome: A strong, mutually beneficial partnership

About RHONA

Established in 1943, RHONA has established itself as one of Chile’s top electrical equipment and solutions providers. RHONA is the largest power transformers manufacturer in Chile. It has grown to a team of more than 400 people, spread across six locations.

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Topics: Distributor Spotlight


Selecting soft starters for use with IE3 motors

Posted by AuCom on 14/07/16 12:48

IE3 motors are now mandatory in Europe for new installations between 7.5 k W and 375 kW. This is in line with elsewhere in the world. (And for a time in Europe, IE2 motors with a variable speed drive may be used for drive-suitable applications)

IE3 motors are more efficient than IE2 motors. The improved efficiency results in lower lifetime energy usage and energy costs, which has obvious value. However, other IE3 motor characteristics are affected by the changes made to achieve this efficiency. For example, the starting torque is lower, and the starting current is higher. 

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Topics: IE3 Motors, Energy Efficiency


Pumping & energy savings - It's all about timing

Posted by AuCom on 01/07/16 13:52

When it comes to costs in water-related sectors such as water treatment, wastewater management and irrigation, the energy expense of pumping is a huge factor.

For some water utilities 95% of their budget is consumed by electrical costs. According to Water Online, USA water utilities consume 56 billion kilowatts costing $4 billion per annum. This equates to between 3- 4% of the entire country’s electricity consumption.

Another large pumping-related energy user in the water industry is irrigation.

As an example, analysis of data from the 2008 USDA Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey showed that the average energy use for irrigating crops in Nebraska alone would be equivalent to about 340 million gallons of diesel fuel annually if all pumps were powered with diesel engines.

According to a report by the New South Wales Farmers’ Association, audits of Australia irrigation farms have found that energy used in irrigation can account for upwards of 50% of a total farm energy bill. Although these statistics may seem staggering, there are strategies to reduce these costs.

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Topics: Water & Wastewater, Soft Start Control, Pumping, Irrigation, Energy Efficiency


Making the most of premium efficiency motors

Posted by AuCom on 08/06/16 09:18

We are quite possibly witnessing the beginning of an electric motor market boom as stricter energy efficiency regulations are being rolled out around the world. The higher energy efficient standards were predicted to cause worldwide overhauls of newer motor technology, resulting in significant market growth over the coming years.

According to a market report published by Credence Research “Electric Motors Market – Growth, Share, Opportunities, Competitive Analysis, and Forecast 2015 – 2022,” the global electric motors market is expected surpass US$ 135 Bn by 2022.

IE3 motors are now mandatory in Europe for new installations between 7.5 kW and 375 kW, in line with many other jurisdictions in the world.

At the recent energy efficiency in motor-driven systems (Eemods) conference in Finland the new regulations were presented as necessary to help meet the EC’s 2030 target of cutting greenhouse gas emission levels by 40% compared to 1990 levels, as well as cutting energy consumption by 27% by that date. These proposed changes could affect up to 89 million motors and more than four million variable-speed drives sold in the EU every year.

The new EC regulations are expected to increase growth for the replacement market. The rise of industrialisation and the construction industry is predicted to contribute to an increase in the growth of premium efficiency motors.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design, IE3 Motors, Energy Efficiency


Are you paying for the perception of flexibility in your system design?

Posted by AuCom on 28/05/16 16:02

With an estimated 80% of electric motor applications being fixed speed processes perhaps it isn’t surprising that variable speed drives are consistently being misapplied. Many motor driven systems are being designed with VSDs to add flexibility that isn’t needed, compromising efficiency while adding to capital and operating costs.

US-based JDA consulting engineers (now part of global consulting firm Exp Global.) offer an interesting discussion of this phenomenon in a blog on the Staticworx website. “As JDA's team commissions large, complex mechanical plants, we find more systems where the VSD is practically abandoned in place. Rather than providing the precise control of flow and pressure or reducing energy consumption and demand, the VSDs appear to be "stuck" at a single speed.”

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Topics: System Design, Energy Efficiency


Driverless cars, drones and smarter soft starters

Posted by AuCom on 17/05/16 15:29

The United Kingdom's Department for Transport this week unveiled a new strategy for the country that featured proposals for encouraging driverless cars, drones and even commercial spaceports.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin was quoted as saying "Driverless cars and commercial space flight might seem like something science fiction, but the economic potential of the new technology is huge and I am determined the UK gets maximum benefit."

In the world of industrial motor control we need to deal with fact more than science fiction, but the pressure to automate and innovate is relentless. These trends, embodied in the concept of Industry 4.0, means we have to reimagine the role of established technologies in industrial applications, and that includes the application of soft starters.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design


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