In 2006, Corporate Maintenance Manager J.R. Sell bought drives to run 11 different extruder manufacturing lines at Dura-Line’s Mountain Grove, Missouri facility. The company is known around the world for their high-quality HDPE conduit, smoothwall, polypipe, and pressure pipe.
Today, in 2014, only 1 of those original drives is still running without repair or replacement. “The only drive that never failed was the Yaskawa drive,” Sell said. “We still have the very first one we bought in 2006, and it still runs fine—we haven’t put a dime into it.”
Why Dura-Line Switched to Yaskawa Drives
“Sell’s facility switched to the Yaskawa drives because they performed so reliably over time. But the drives also turned out to be less expensive to run than the older DC drives, which require more maintenance—resulting in more downtime,” said Ken Albin, a Senior Account Manager for IBT Industrial Solutions who has worked with Sell.
“The Yaskawa vector drives are very competitively priced, and are more reliable than the DC drives,” Albin said. “They can operate it without a tachometer or a closed loop system. That cuts the total operational cost and materials costs, with no compromise on quality.”
Because Dura-Line makes different sizes, grades, and thicknesses of pipe and conduit on the same production line, they needed a variable speed drive. “We retrofitted Yaskawa AC drives to existing DC drives, and the new drive costs less than repairing the old DC drive,” Albin said.
Yaskawa Drives Ideal for Pipe Extrusion Manufacturing
“An extruder line must have many systems working in concert to perform well,” said Jon Prince, the Electrical Business Group Director at IBT. “The heat, pressure, speed, and production fill rate are all important. Every variable must be perfectly set.”
Prince said the AC motors are very compact, so they’re an ideal replacement for the older DC motor/drive packages. They also offer better electrical efficiency, greater power density, and reduced overall operational costs.
“Yaskawa is a leader in AC drive technology,” Prince said. “Their drives are well-suited for demanding, constant torque applications.”
Better Control, Lower Cost
Jim Wright, Electrical Product Manager at IBT, said that not only are Yaskawa drives and AC motor packages are less expensive to operate than the older DC motors, they also offer better control.
“With a Yaskawa drive, you can run it at any speed you want to,” Wright said. “You might want to ramp up slowly to a certain speed, or run at half-speed for production reasons. You can even operate your motor above max speed if necessary.”
Wright added that benefits of the Yaskawa drives for this application include:
- Less frequent maintenance
- Additional I/O for port control
- Safer than DC motors
- Less expensive overall
IBT Performed Installation
Prince worked directly with Dura-Line to help them start up Yaskawa drives on their extruder manufacturing lines in Mexico. His team at IBT offers a complete motor drive retrofit, including: motor, drive, couplings, drive train, programming, and startup.
“We help the customer install it, program it, start it up—and we make sure it runs correctly for their application,” said Wright.
“We now use Yaskawa drives anywhere we need a motor,” Sell said. “That includes extruders, pullers, and coilers. IBT works with us to get good pricing and delivery wherever we need it, at all of our locations.”