Posted at Thursday, 21 April, 2022

Who's there when the chips are down? Fenner!

Paul Skade
By Gareth Lenton
General Manager, Power Transmission

I joined WYKO in January of 2000, the dawn of a new millennium and a completely new start for me after spending 2 years backpacking through South East Asia and Au...

Read full bio

While they wait for their next delivery, what song are OEMs nationwide singing? ‘I hope it’s chips, it’s chips; I hope it’s chips, it’s chips.’ The worldwide silicon chip shortage is having a knock-on effect across industry, with inverter deliveries, for example, taking up to 20 weeks. For one manufacturer of refrigeration equipment, that kind of delay would have completely derailed a major project. So naturally they contacted ERIKS Electronics, to see if ERIKS know-how could deliver an alternative solution in time to avert a crisis.

Who's there when the chips are down? Fenner!

The refrigeration manufacturer was building a spiral chiller application for baked products, which needed to incorporate an inverter drive. But that wasn’t the only requirement. The drive also had to integrate with the PROFINET industrial communications protocol, via Siemens Totally Integrated Automation (TIA). And time was running out.

Could ERIKS Electronics beat the clock?


A fast drive, by rail

The first issue was the availability of a suitable drive. As a supplier of Fenner drives, ERIKS Electronics – part of ERIKS Power Transmission – has access to a huge stock of drives, available at speed through the Fenner Quick Build service. In this case, they could source and supply a suitable drive in time to meet the customer’s project deadline.

First problem: solved.

The second issue was the need to integrate this non-Siemens drive with Siemens TIA and PROFINET. Starting from scratch, this could have been a time-consuming challenge. But the OEM customer’s integration journey was shortened, thanks to Network Rail and London Underground.

As part of earlier projects for these customers, ERIKS Automation Project Manager Martin Codona had already programmed a dedicated function block, allowing Fenner drives to work with Siemens TIA version 17. This could be provided to the customer as, essentially, an off-the-peg integration solution.

One step backwards

The PROFINET communications protocol is designed to reduce wiring, accelerate system development and commissioning, and cut costs. Integrating the Fenner PROFINET modules with Siemens TIA was an additional complication, but the module already developed by ERIKS helped resolve it.

However, there was one more hurdle to overcome.

While ERIKS had written the PROFINET module for Siemens’ latest TIA version (V17), the customer was using the previous V16. Faced with the need to rewrite the module as quickly as possible, Martin Codona did the most useful thing he could: he went home.

Working away with another customer at the time, Martin had the PLC / drive test rig at his house. At the end of the working day, he drove home to collect the rig, drove back to the hotel room he was staying in while working on site, then spent the evening rewriting the module for TIA V16, and testing it on the rig.

Once proved on the test rig, Martin sent on the revised module to the customer, whose engineers successfully integrated it into their project.


Safety and savings

By choosing the Fenner QD:Neo inverter, the customer gained additional benefits which will last much longer than their project timescale.

For example, the motor control connection is more reliable, with a single, uninterrupted Ethernet cable. The QD:Neo also features a TUV certified safe torque off function (STO), as standard. This not only enables faster, simpler integration into machine critical safety circuits. It also allows for faster shut down and reset procedures.

The amount of time spent on system maintenance is also reduced, which helps to cut ongoing costs and the Total Cost of Ownership.


Chiller thriller

Despite the challenges and the tight timescale, ERIKS’ OEM customer successfully completed the spiral chiller project by the deadline.

ERIKS supported them not just during the adaptation and supply of the drive and communications module, but all the way to final installation and commissioning of the application. Which is why the customer emailed to say ‘thanks again for the quick turnaround on this and for your support so far.’ And why they are planning to use the Fenner drive for future projects.


For more information or assistance, you can contact one of our ERIKS Specialists using your local ERIKS Service Centre, who will be happy to discuss your options.

#ERIKS #LetsMakeIndustryWorkBetter #Refridgerator #Delivery #ProblemSolving #Efficiency #Saving

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