June 2020

Advanced IO-Link encoders streamline machine controls Maintenance Matters Problem Solver 16 | Plant & Works Engineering www.pwemag.co.uk June 2020 S ICK has released advanced variants of its AHS36 and AHM36 IO-Link absolute encoders that can harness valuable diagnostic insights for better machine control and availability. With versatile programming options, they make it easy to integrate data from encoders into localised and ‘edge computing’ configurations to improve the efficiency of automated plant. All SICK’s AHS36 14-bit (singleturn) and AHM36 26-bit (multiturn) IO-Link absolute encoders achieve quick, easy and economical higher-level fieldbus integration via an IO-Link Master. Now, the AHS36 and AHM36 IO-Link Advanced variants enable machine designers and end users to use diagnostic information, such as temperature values, to streamline machine control and optimise maintenance regimes. Darren Pratt, SICK’s UK product manager for encoders and industrial instrumentation, commented: “SICK’s IO-Link Advanced variants offer exciting new possibilities to access so much more than just the position and speed information that encoders are traditionally known for.” He added: “They make it simple to generate real-time data to optimise service intervals, prompt alarms, as well as integrating with predictive maintenance systems. “Using SICK’s intuitive SOPAS configuration software, it’s easy to set up the AHS/AHM36 IO-Link Advanced encoders and to set operating limits for a wide range of parameters. It’s easy to integrate that data using standard PLC programs to directly control machine operations, while machine technicians can fine- tune the encoder settings on site without specialist know-how.” Two banks of eight programmable CAM switches enable the free programming, via SOPAS, of up to 16 individual position ranges on the encoders. Limit values can be defined to set alarms or switch processes, for example the position at which speed is limited, axes slowed down, or actuators triggered. SICK’s AHS36 and AHM36 IO-Link Advanced encoders’ digital inputs and outputs also enable triggering using simple push-pull I/O, which can be used to create Smart Tasks such as an overspeed switch independent of the PLC. A choice of two motion timers help govern service and replacement routines, especially useful for mechanical plant that is subject to wear, for example gear trains, chains or toothed belts. The absolute timer tracks the total motion time of the encoder over its whole life, while the relative timer can be reset after an inspection or maintenance routine has been completed. With a wide operating range of between - 40°C and +85°C, SICK’s IO-Link Advanced absolute encoders monitor their temperature and can be used in environments close to these extremes. For further information please visit: www.sick.co.uk P ower generation plants rely on boiler feed pumps to deliver a reliable and consistent flow of water to the boilers, which create the steam that powers the turbine, which creates electricity. After 45 years in service the boiler feed pumps needed to be replaced and Sulzer says it managed to achieve a return on investment of just over two years. Reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfill is an important environmental consideration and one that is being supported by waste-to-energy plants, which use the material to create electricity. These plants help to increase sustainable energy production and they are supported by Sulzer, which offers many products and services that can improve efficiency and reliability. A major UK waste-to-energy plant was experiencing considerable reliability issues with its six boiler feed pumps. Routine maintenance involved a complete refurbishment every two years and the costs for this work were increasing. Sulzer only became involved after one of its turbine specialists was discussing current issues with the maintenance manager. Dale Jarvis, business development engineer with Sulzer, explained: “I had been working with this plant for some time, providing support for the steam turbine, and during one visit the discussion turned to the boiler feed pumps. Knowing that Sulzer has considerable expertise in boiler feed pumps, I invited one of my colleagues to visit the plant and see what we could offer.” The plant has six boiler feed pumps that have been operating since the site was commissioned over 45 years ago. Over the years, the pumps have been regularly maintained, but more recently, they have required major refurbishments to keep them operational. Having established the specifications of the old pumps, it was possible to source new pumps that would exactly match the original performance characteristics of the old pumps but with improved efficiency. Sulzer’s proposal was to replace two pumps each year, allowing the plant to spread the cost of the project and also appreciate the benefits of the new pumps before committing to the next stage of the installation. The financial benefits were obvious from the outset. The cost of each new pump was only marginally more than the refurbishment costs of the equipment it replaced, giving a return on investment of just over two years. Sulzer has so far installed four of its MBN50 high pressure 9-stage pumps, which are primarily designed for power generation applications and provide efficient and reliable service in this demanding environment. The performance of each pump has been tailored to the application to ensure optimum efficiency and reliability. For further information please visit: www.sulzer.com 45-year-old boiler feed pumps replaced for cost of refurbishment