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Industrial Automation

A few sample projects using variable speed drives and PLC control in the manufacturing sector. These projects involve the specification, design, commissioning and problem solving of industrial automation control systems for the refit of existing machinery or applied to new equipment. 

Beloit coating machine
Beloit coating machine unwind
Paper Coating Machine Drives and Controls Refit

Reason for refit: Drives and control system obsolete and unreliable.

Site survey, project specification, electrical engineering and control system design overview responsibility for a large Beloit Truflo paper board coating and calendaring machine. Machine control system consisted of 27 DC thyristor converters for the main web transport rollers, unwind and rewind. A further 60 AC closed loop vector drives were used to handle all other web path rollers to reduce product scratching.

Web section control schematic

Design of web transport heavy duty dancer sectional control functions to ensure good web tension at all times. Design of flying splice 20 tonne jumbo roll control system for automatic web splicing at 200 mpm.

Supervision of machine commissioning over the 18 month rolling refit period. Siemens PLC and Parker SSD networked variable speed drive equipment.

Brake Test Rig Control System

Power drive and control system for a 40kW high torque test rig for a large fail safe air brake.

Nidec Control Techniques 110kW Unidrive SP active line and motor modules controlled from a Siemens S7 PLC and touch screen HMI. Drive controlled and monitored over a ProfiNet network.

The control panel, motor and gearbox were re-purposed from a different application. Full electrical schematics together with necessary modifications were undertaken to convert to the brake test rig function.


All software written to implement variable speed drive with controllable torque to test breakaway torques, verify brake performance and allow bed in of brake pads for production use.

Full control of the brake pressure from the PLC controller.


Integrated safety system with emergency stop and multiple intelligent guard switches to cause immediate shutdown of the brake test rig.

Active line module provided low line harmonics and unity power factor operation.


Special control algorithms within the control PLC provided power limitation to allow operation from a low capacity 63A supply (43kVA) under all operating conditions.

Dual drum traversing cable spooler
Twin Traversing Cable Drum Spooler

New machine drive and control system

Project specification and control software for a twin traversing cable drum spooler. Machines act as buffer storage for cable between two processes. Automatic multi-mode operation to suit the end user process requirements.

Siemens G120 drives and S7 safety PLC controlling all functions of the two independent spoolers. Multiple networked Siemens touch screen HMI's providing operator functions.


Open and closed loop control of cable tension during operation. 

Paper converting machine
Paper converting machine unwind
Paper Converting Line

New machine drive and control system

On site drive control system re-design, software and commissioning to address tension control and other operational problems. Siemens S120 drives and S7 PLC controlling the overall machine.

Line drive rolls operating in accurate speed match or load share as required by the machine roll arrangements.

EMC issues resolved causing machine trips and loss of production.

New unwind control to provide improved web tension performance under all operating conditions. Driven unwind with advanced adaptive closed loop control from a machine roll load cell.

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