Tatham (www.tatham-uk.com), a textile machinery company, has entered into a joint venture with ABB (www.abb.com) to develop a technology that will offer increased production speeds with optimized product weight distribution for cross-lapper control.
The cross-lapper uses a light weight fiber web, which it accepted from the carding machine, to build a heavier web in layers. The cross-lapper then overlaps the layers through a group of reversing mobile carriages and conveyors that turn the material through 90°.
ABB’s machinery drives and servomotors are harnessed by Tatham’s TSX control system with various panel combinations, depending on the current cross-lapper configurations used.
Tatham’s system is connected to the main process control using Profibus, through which an ABB AC500 PLC delivers positioning data to the drives that gives control signals for the speed control of the servomotor.
“We chose ABB drives because of their versatility, power and competitive pricing,” said Tatham’s Senior Electrical Engineer Jim Kelly.
“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 added.
“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.”
Aside from ensuring fiber savings, the TSX control system is also energy efficient. Prior to installation of the ABB drives the cross-lapper utilized 60A peak, but after the installation the current has been significantly reduced to 15A.