Motor Control Center Uses EtherNet and Significantly Less Wiring

ryanrydellCase Studies

In the 1950s, Motor Control Centers were originally introduced and used by the automobile manufacturing industry which uses large numbers of electric motors. Today they are used within many different industries for a variety of applications in industrial and commercial settings. With the advances in technology, a Motor Control Center no longer just turns a motor on and off. The newest generation of MCCs offer several options for communication, power monitoring/management and safety design; making new MCCs or upgrading an older MCC an attractive option for many companies.

Recently, a large dairy customer came to Quantum for help in completing a motor control Center project at their plant. This customer has been working with Quantum Design for quite some time. Quantum Design and installed the original MCCs for this particular plant and has done a number of upgrades and additions to this plant and others over the years. The MCC was to have an incoming voltage of 480V, a 1200A bus, an option for automatic shutters on all stab openings and they wanted to use Ethernet/IP for communications as well as a power monitoring system. The customer also wanted to use Variable Frequency Drives and fixed speed starters that were wired to external I/O cabinets. The MCC would be comprised of four shipping splits with a total of 13 sections; a rather large MCC overall.

Quantum assisted the customer in reconfiguring the design while minimizing the MCC and drawing changes required.

Originally the customer wanted to duplicate their system by reconfiguring the buckets from a previous MCC configuration. Unfortunately with the increase in power and updated power monitoring system, the MCC had to be larger than expected. Quantum assisted the customer in reconfiguring the design while minimizing the MCC and drawing changes required. With Quantum’s engineering team guiding the way the customer chose the Allen-Bradley Centerline 2100 with Intellicenter MCC with EtherNet/IP.

The Centerline EtherNet/IP MCC offers many benefits such as helping to reduce setup times, enhanced IT integration and increased safety. On of the greatest benefits is that it allows the users to access information remotely. This not only improves safety in the factory as personnel can monitor, troubleshoot and diagnose problems with the MCC without exposing them to dangerous equipment and conditions but it can also save valuable time. Knowing how an MCC is performing from anywhere minimizes the need for maintenance personnel to suit-up in order to enter the MCC and be exposed to dangerous arc flash hazards. Alerts can also be set up to notify key personnel prior to a device failure so they can act sooner and avoid unwanted down times. Using an Ethernet connection also significantly reduces the amount of wire and conduit necessary to wire the machine.

Everything about this system met the customer’s needs except for the standard AB design. As Quantum got deeper into the planning stage, it was determined that the original plan to use the standard Allen-Bradley Ethernet/IP configuration would be too expensive and the lead time too long. To keep costs down and minimize the delivery time, Quantum Design stepped in and purchased the necessary devices and installed them in blank buckets.

Quantum also ran all of the necessary 600V Ethernet cabling. 600V cabling through Allen-Bradley is the first of it’s kind and is designed specifically for high-voltage applications such as this one. It is a large step up from the 300V cable and was developed for areas where there is high voltage cabling used to allocate data communications. Drives and drive power produce higher EMI which could negatively impact communications using Ethernet. It is very difficult and quite costly to mix data communications in the same space with communications that are closely integrated with drives and other high voltage connected devices. This made the 600V Ethernet cabling the ideal choice.

To add the power monitoring option the customer chose directly through the manufacturer would have extended the original delivery time of four to six weeks to twelve to fourteen weeks. Again, Quantum used their resources to purchase the MCC with a blank bucket to keep the four to six week delivery and then bought and installed the power monitoring devices within their own facility.

Quantum also included the automatic shutters on all of the stab openings further increasing safety and securing the MCC. This would allow the bus to be pulled out while the MCC is still online but prevents personnel from being shocked by shutting off access to the arc flash hazard. HMIs for the drives that were originally meant to b eon the inside of the MCC were moved in the plan design and mounted externally allowing access to the device without having to open the MCC. Quantum’s ability to make changes like this during the manufacturing process without impacting delivery is a key reason they were selected by the customer.

This MCC will provide access to real-time data helping the customer to save money and increase efficiencies. The system monitors multiple motor variables and provides peak performance information. The customer can track when peak performance is taking place and use that information to schedule their high-powered runs during off-peak times saving additional money on energy costs. Less downtime due to improved diagnostics through faster troubleshooting can also increase operational cost savings for MCC users.

To fit the MCC in the allotted space in their facility, the customer requested it be delivered using 4 shipping splits for the 13 sections. Many manufacturing plants have space restrictions and do not allow for multiple panels and units to take up space. Choosing an MCC can offer a lot of flexibility within space restrictions. Although they can be large, there is a variety of layout options including corner units that allow the system to turn a corner and back-to-back units. Customers also have the freedom of customizing the color, style and door options for the MCC including whether or not they prefer controls to be on the front of the panel.

Though it was not the plan they had originally started the project with, once installed, the customer was very happy with the resulting MCCs. The Quantum Design engineering team took the time to listen to what the customer was looking for and evaluate the options. They were able to create a custom solution that matched the customer’s exact needs while saving time and money. The job was completed in just around 6 weeks’ time after the order was placed and at a fraction of the cost than if the system was ordered directly from the manufacturer as an engineered system.

The Quantum Design engineering team took the time to listen to what the customer was looking for and evaluate the options.

Over the years, Quantum Design has worked with many different customers to design, install and update MCCs in many industries including agriculture, food and beverage and automobile manufacturing. One of the benefits of working with Quantum Design is the extensive engineering background throughout the staff. Many customers are looking for custom solutions but do not have time to wait for a custom-engineered MCC to be designed and built by the MCC manufacturer nor can they afford the configurations designed directly by the manufacturer. Quantum has the ability to make changes to a pre-engineered MCC to meet a customer’s direct needs giving them a custom-configured system in a much shorter period of time. Certain customers can only use custom-configured panels due to size and process restrictions; Quantum Design is on the few companies that can offer the option of a customized MCC.

With their in-house UL panel shop, Quantum also has the ability to build everything within their facility, making them a one-stop-shop for any controls project from initial conception through design, building and commissioning. As this customer continues to build and improve their facilities they know they can count on Quantum Design to help guide them through projects by creating efficient, time-saving solutions and delivering excellent customer service.