NEWS AND NOTES FROM DELTA AUTOMATION, INC.
News and Tech Tips on Programmable Controllers, Drives and Peripheral Hardware Support.
We here at Delta have had a long, blank, dreary, hallway wall since we moved into this building some 6 years ago. Just last week, we added a huge (8.75 feet X 13 feet) world map to that wall. In addition to just being a visual attraction, it is also a dry erase board. We will be able to make notes, identify where we have clients and indicate where we have responded to service needs all over the globe. It has already become a focus and gathering point whenever a location is in question.
Last week a facility maintenance contractor contacted us about repairing a VERY old Johnson Controls HMI panel for a swimming pool at a local country club. This unit’s push buttons were only working intermittently. No replacements were available from the manufacturer or any of its’ distributors around the country. A used, untested, and no guaranteed unit was found on E-bay for $3000.00! The client certainly didn’t want to pay any where near that amount of money for this old of a unit. When asked if we could repair it…..We told the contractor that we would certainly “give it a try”!
He brought the unit over. The case was cracked and broken into many pieces. Upon examination, all of the unit’s push buttons were just worn out and not working. We found that we had some very similar replacement push buttons in stock. Each buttons case took some grinding and filing with a Dremel tool to properly fit, but they worked! All of the units buttons were replaced and then some serious “body” work was required to be done on the exterior case of the unit. With some epoxy and a lot of technician patience, the unit came back together. Having no way to completely test the unit, we contacted the client and informed him about what we had done to his unit. He picked up the unit, reinstalled it and it worked perfectly! This repair was performed in less than one day, and WELL under the used unit cost.
The 140XBE10000 Back-plane expander and Cable allows you to add a second back-plane to a local or remote drop. The cable (P/N 140XCA71703/6/9, depending on length) can be 1, 2, or 3 meters long respectively. The back-plane expander modules are identical, with the module located in the rack containing the CPU or RIO adapter considered Primary. The cable ends appear to be identical; however, the cable end with the label closest to it is considered the Primary end. This end MUST be connected to the Primary XBE module, and will not work when reversed. There is no indication if the cable is installed incorrectly. Also, the cable must be installed before applying power to the back-planes. For further information, please refer to the Quantum Automation Series Hardware Reference Guide (840 USE 100 00).
Delta Automation Inc is open and our repair team as well as our sales and field service are in full operation and working on our customers’ equipment and performing without interruption. We are taking all precautions to keep our employees safe. Some of our customers are putting their repair needs in their shipping/receiving areas for us to pick up to limit contact. Some of our customers are choosing to ship their repairs to us. We at Delta Automation Inc, will work with all our customers and follow any restrictions we are given. During this very difficult time for everyone, we are standing by to help you in any way we can.
With the recent actions of some states to close all non-life-sustaining businesses, we want to reassure you that Delta is not impacted. Delta is a critical supplier of infrastructure as defined under Department of Homeland Security Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Delta provides equipment to facilities in every Sector of the Critical Infrastructure through Health Care & Public Health, Food Preparation and Agriculture, Water Management, Energy Generation, etc. Our products are the backbone of the operations that are going to help sustain critical services during this pandemic.
We’re confident in our ability to continue to deliver our products and services, and we want to share Delta’s commitment to you and the steps that we’re taking to protect all of our customers, partners, and employees:
- We’re carefully monitoring the rapidly changing situation, following guidance from both the CDC and Federal, State health authorities.
- We’re encouraging our team members to follow health authority best practices like frequent hand washing, social distancing, and staying home if they’re feeling ill.
- We’ve significantly increased our remote support capabilities, while at the same time maintaining our strong field response capabilities in coordination with our partners.
- Ensuring that team members working remotely use company-issued secure computers complete with end-point protection and connection to our network using a secure VPN.
- Ensuring dedicated safety processes are in place for field service representatives, following the latest Federal, State and Local health authority guidelines and regulations.
While it is difficult to predict the impact of the COVID-19 situation, Delta’s top priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners, and communities. We understand the challenges facing our customers and we aim to support their needs in any way we can.
Delta received a call mid-afternoon last Friday with an emergency need for six obsolete, Modicon B246 output modules. Our stock was checked and there were plenty of these units in stock. However, these units have a very high failure rate component in them, so each unit would need to be properly tested before we could ship them overnight to the client. The latest that we could have them ready to ship was 6:00. It was already 3:00. As luck would have every unit had at least one of these components bad. A quick triage was performed to determine which units could be repaired the quickest. We informed the client that all of these units needed repair. The client said that they could live with just 4 units overnight and the remaining two on Monday. Our repair technicians went to work. They repaired and tested four of the units. They were packed up and shipped in time. The client received the units early the next morning and they kept his equipment in production. This is the type of service that Deltas’ clients have come to depend upon when they need it most!
In late July, Delta Automation hosted an industrial Drives and Controls Rolling Roadshow. It is a great show piece presenting the industries newest drive products. Although primarily focused on AC drives, it also featured a DC drive as well. The onboard demonstrations were the true stars of the show, particularly the Ultra-Low Harmonic Drive setup, comparing a drive only, a drive with a line/load reactor, a drive with an active (dV/dT) filter to the ULH drive. The results were demonstrated visually, real-time, on a harmonic disturbance analyzer.
Customers were able to walk through the truck speaking with the representatives and interacting with the demos at will. Lunch was provided and we were pleased to have such a great customer response to the event. The weather was hot and humid, but thankfully the storms held off throughout the show.
Last weeks multiple massive thunderstorms caused major power dips, voltage spikes/surges, voltage fluctuations, phase losses and generator switch-overs. All of these electrical events can create havoc upon sensitive electronic devices. VFDs are no exception.
During these storms with all of the electrical activity occurring, 4 separate, critical VFDs running air handling systems throughout the hospital unit failed. Clean, filtered air flow is a necessity in these locations. Delta was called to evaluate these failed units on an emergency basis. The hope was that Delta could quickly repair these VFDs. Unfortunately, all 4 of the units were damaged beyond any economical repair. Delta immediately provided 4 new replacement VFDs and had them all retrofitted into the old VFD panels, up and running, overnight.
This is a good article from the U.S Department of Energy discussing the effects of VFDs on non-inverter duty rated motors. It discusses the insulation class recommended, in this article, “class H” is suggested. I previously had been recommending at a minimum, “class F” motor insulation. The article further discusses the use of load reactors and dV/dt filters to reduce the damaging effects upon motors, and mentions that these issues are especially high when running multiple motors on one VFD.
Typically when clients ask about running non-inverter duty rated motors with a VFD, they want to know if the motor will fail. The answer is: eventually. I inquire about the criticality of the application. Is this an application that demands constant up-time? If so, then it is wise to replace the motor when installing the VFD. Some VFD/motor manufacturers will extend their warranty if both are replaced simultaneously. If the application lends itself to some down-time, such as a multiple pump application, then run the motor until it fails, to maximize its’ initial ROI. This may be weeks, months or years later, but it will eventually fail. However, the best practice is still to be certain that the motor is rated for inverter duty to insure the longest lifespan. As the above article states, a work-around to this dilemma, rather than replacing the motor, is to install a load reactor or dV/dt filter between the VFD and the motor(s). Especially if there are multiple motors and/or the motor leads (commonly called “T” leads) are longer than about 100 feet. In these two particular applications (multiple motors or long leads), a reactor or filter is a good practice even when the motors are rated as inverter duty. Different VFD manufacturers recommend different maximum cable lengths before requiring reactors or filters. Check with the manufacturers recommendations to be certain.
Students and faculty from ECPI’s Megatronics program visited Delta Automation to get a view of what opportunities may exist in the field after graduation.
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Delta Automation, Inc., located in Richmond Virginia, is an Industry Leader in Industrial Electronics Remanufacturing (depot type repair), On-Site Field Service, New Equipment Sales, and Mature Equipment Sales. Our focus is on Programmable Controllers (PLCs), Drives (VFDs), Control Screens (HMIs) and Peripheral Hardware Support (to include, Software & Firmware). With over 50 years of Repair and Support, we proudly offer our services.