Real-time AFC motor monitoring

THE ability to accurately monitor the power draw of armored face conveyor (AFC) motors in real-time has some major benefits, one being the ability to more accurately control load sharing between motors.

Angie Tomlinson

Published in the May 2005 American Longwall Magazine

Rockwell Automation has just released its new motor, which, together with DBT's controlled start transmission (CST) drive system, will do just that.

The jointly developed integrated control drive system (ICDS) monitors a range of operating parameters including vibration and operating temperatures, with obvious maintenance spin-offs.

Monitoring the real power being used - a function of the voltage and current - is the key parameter. This information is fed back into the algorithms embedded in DBT's control system PMC-D to control the pressure on the hydraulic clutches in the individual CST drive and thereby allow very accurate load sharing between up to four motors on an AFC.

The “signature” of each individual ICDS motor would be established during final assembly and testing, said Rockwell marketing specialist John Kowaleski.

"This baseline data will then be used to monitor any changes in the signature of each motor, which will be used for predictive maintenance. The system offers improved reliability along with the elimination of a lot of wiring and cabling," he said.

The first US customer has bought three ICDS motors for delivery at the end of the year.

In tandem with the two-year ICDS development, Rockwell has also released a new optimized AFC motor frame that is shorter but has a larger diameter. The new size of the 680-frame motor reduces the amount of overhang of the typical AFC motor and forms part of the above-mentioned order.

In related news, the company has sold the first of the newly released G750K CST belt conveyor drives following its debut at last year's MINExpo show. The first order is for three units for a new slope conveyor in Mexico, each driven by 700hp motors.

Mike Smale, business manager, mining industry, said Rockwell had also completed the re-engineering of its other drives. The 750K, 1120K and 1950K CST drives have all been re-designed and re-rated at 1000K, 1500K and 2500K respectively, he said.

He added this was a true re-rating of each drive transmission's capacity - made possible by utilizing modern design techniques to optimize and balance the design strength across the units.

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