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Automation Technologies 4/2015

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Automation Technologies 4/2015


CONTROL AND DRIVE TECHNOLOGY Simatic sweetens honey extraction The company Harzer Antriebstechnik GmbH based in north-western Germany, specializes in the special purpose engineering and sophisticated automation solutions focusing mainly on drive technology. The company recently began to fit honey extractors with Siemens technology, optimizing the efficiency of the entire honey centrifugation process from the controller through the frequency converter to the operator unit. To harvest the best quality honey, beekeepers use what are known as honey extractors to extract the honey out of the comb by centrifugal force. The key to efficient operation is to ensure the seamless interaction between the controllers, the operator unit and the drive. The production conditions for the different types of honey are defined at the discretion of the beekeeper by simply selecting the spin program and setting the drive parameters. Centrifugation process Harzer Antriebstechnik GmbH honey extractors work using a controller model based on Simatic technology, and a Sinamics G110 frequency converter as a variable-speed drive. During the extraction process, a motor connected to the frequency converter is controlled via the communication module CM1241 (RS485) by a Simatic S7-1200 controller from Siemens. Depending on the extractor and drive type, CPU model 1212C or 1214C is used. Communication takes place using the USS (Universal Serial Interface) drive protocol. The motors have an output of between 0.37 and 2.2 kW with a single phase 230 Volt AC supply. Using a Simatic HMI KTP400 Basic combined button and touch operator panel, the beekeeper selects the spin program and the configuration. It is also possible for the beekeeper to monitor the program sequence and individually modify the set motor speed. An exchangeable cover film protects the panel’s control buttons and switches from becoming gummed up with honey. If maintenance is required, only the controller itself needs to be sent in. Company name: Siemens AG Headquarters: Nuremberg, Germany Employees: 357,000 worldwide Products: Integrated hardware, software and technology-based services for manufacturing companies worldwide About

Harzer Antriebstechnik GmbH Harzer Antriebstechnik GmbH has been producing series control units using Siemens technology in honey extractors by beekeeping specialist CFM (Carl Fritz Mellrichstadt). Until introducing the new control units, CFM worked using conventionally produced controllers which required a good degree of experience and intuition to ascertain precisely the right parameters. By introducing new control units, the company was aiming at a more compact solution with self explanatory functions which was easier to control. The founder Marcus Warlich and his team opted for a Siemens solution. “We have put our trust in Siemens, from the controller through the frequency converter to the operator unit, and the experience has been all positive. Key factors contributing to the success of the solution have been the outstanding reliability and the optimum cost-to-performance ratio of the components, as well as the innovative engineering. Honey extractor A honey extractor is a mechanical device that extracts the honey from the honey comb without destroying the comb. Extractors work by centrifugal force. It comprises of a cylindrical stainless steel drum which accommodates a honeycomb basket with a rotating axis. This is connected to the drive below the drum. Depending on the size of the extractor, the honeycomb basket can accommodate between four and 16 comb frames in which the combs are placed. Once the lid is closed and the spin program has been selected, the drive sets the honeycomb basket in rotation. The centrifugal force flings the honey against the inner wall of the drum. It flows down the wall and is collected at the base of the drum. To ensure that honey is centrifuged out of both sides of the comb, the combs are turned by reversing the motor direction. Finally, the honey is guided through a drain valve into a collecting bin. Photograph: Teaser Fotolia Honey extractors with Simatic technology and a Sinamics G110 frequency converter Honey extractors Extractors are either tangential or radial depending on how the frames are put into the basket. n Radial baskets have the top bar of the frame facing outwards while tangential baskets have one side of the comb facing outward. n Large commercial extractors are radial and rely on the upward slope of the comb cells. This slope allows to extract honey by applying centrifugal force toward the upper edge of the comb (opposite to the direction of gravity while in the hive). n The amount of work during extraction is reduced in the radial type because the frames do not have to be turned over to extract the honey from the other side of the comb. n The smallest extractors hold two frames. The largest commercial extractor holds more than a hundred frames. During the extraction process the honey is forced out of the uncapped wax cells, runs down the walls of the extractor and pools at the bottom. A tap or honey pump allows for the removal of honey from the extractor. n Honey must be removed in time and always stay below the rotating frames as otherwise it prevents extractor from spinning with sufficient speed. AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 4/2015


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