Food conveyor machine manufacturer B Corp. was working to develop a new automatic sorting machine. In development, they were facing a major challenge as the new product was going to include a servo motor, which was unfamiliar to them. Mr. S, of the company's development department shared his story with us.
"In the food industry, there is a strong need for automation and machines are constantly required to improve cycle times. At the same time, the market focused on cost. So, when positioning is required in our products, we used stepping motors due to their cost advantages. However, since this new sorting machine handles bigger foods, we decided to use a servo motor with higher torque. We had built up some know-how through our past development with stepping motors, but we lacked experience with servo motors, and none of the team members were familiar with using them," said Mr. S.
After trial and error, B Corp. completed a prototype machine, but they were not sure if they had selected the right motor. Mr. S contacted their motor supplier for advice.
"This new product only sorts foods, so there is no need for complicated movement. We understood the cost would increase by adopting a servo motor, but wanted to build an inexpensive system by eliminating unnecessary functions as much as possible. And, since the machine handles foods, it is necessary to clean it, so waterproof performance of the motor was also a prerequisite.
Therefore, we asked the motor manufacturer for advice, but they only suggested what was written in the catalog. We were at a loss," recalled Mr. S.
Mr. S contacted a SANYO DENKI sales representative with whom he had previously worked on another project. At that time, the sales representative pointed out the possibility of exceeding required performance.
"When selecting a stepping motor, we always ensured a roughly 2x torque margin to prevent step-out. This time, we did the same way with a servo motor. However, the sales representative suggested that the motor may exceed requirements, as servo motors do not require a torque margin."
Mr. S decided to share detailed specifications of the machine with SANYO DENKI and asked for their support in selecting the motor.
Later, a SANYO DENKI technical support team visited B Corp. to measure the torque in a prototype machine. "As expected, the measurement result showed that it exceeded requirements. So, based on the measurements results, they proposed lowering the capacity of the motor from 1.5 kW to 1.2 kW," said Mr. S.
SANYO DENKI also proposed an optimal amplifier by calculating the required rotation speed of the motor from the speed of the load.
"Now that we knew the required rotation speed of the motor, we were able to reduce the maximum speed of the motor by changing the gear ratio from 1/17 to 1/15 of the load. By doing so, we were able to change the capacity of the amplifier from 50 A to 30 A, allowing us to reduce the total cost. In addition, as SANYO DENKI's servo motors have IP65 ratings* as standard, cleaning the machine was not a problem. We really appreciated the accurate support we received from them. We were able to overcome the development delay and release our new product on time," said Mr. S with a smile.
Moving forward, B Corp. plans to actively design their new machines with servo motors.
* Ingress protection rating IP65
Dust protection: No ingress of dust. / Water protection: Protected against water spray from all directions. (IEC60529)