ABB drives help achieve precise textile control 04 April 2011

Specialist textile machinery firm Tatham has partnered with automation giant ABB to develop technology to provide higher production speeds with improved product weight distribution for crosslapper control.

In this industry, the crosslapper accepts a light weight fibre web from the carding machine and uses it to build up a heavier web (the batt) in layers. The crosslapper overlaps the layers via an arrangement of conveyors and reversing mobile carriages that turn the material through 90 degrees.

Tatham's TSX control system now harnesses ABB high performance machinery drives and servomotors, with several panel combinations available, depending on the user's existing crosslapper configuration.

The system is linked to the master process control using Profibus, via which an ABB AC500 PLC provides positioning data to the drives that issue control signals for servomotor speed control.

"We chose ABB drives because of their versatility, power and competitive pricing", says Jim Kelly, senior electrical engineer at Tatham.

"Together with ABB, we developed control software based on their drives' programmable function blocks, which meant we had a system that provided precise positioning … resulting in total control of the batt profile," he adds.

"Heaviness of the batt is a function of the speed it is laid down at, and using the ABB PLC, drives and servomotors allows us to vary this precisely, giving a much more accurate and controllable build up of the layers," he adds.

As well as ensuring significant fibre savings the TSX is very energy efficient. Before a recent installation the crosslapper used 60A peak but, following the installation of the ABB drives, current has been slashed to 15A.

Brian Tinham

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