Improved efficiency for German sheet metal tech company with ABB’s electronic compact starters

2018-05-17 - Straightening-machine manufacturer dramatically cuts space required for its starters, while slashing costs.

Lorenz GmbH Anlagentechnik, a machine manufacturer specializing in straightening technology, has been using a new HF-series electronic compact starter from ABB since early 2017. The device provides significant space and storage savings, while offering reduced maintenance effort for customers.

© Copyright by photographer Axel Heiter

Straightening machines play a critical role in sheet metal processing. They prepare and optimize sheet metal, which is unrolled directly from the coil, for subsequent process steps. To eliminate stress and curvatures, the sheets are bent back and forth between the rollers several times. This is a perfect application for the HF series, which is used for frequent direct and reversed switching of motors.

Excellent results are obtained on high-precision straightening machines, which are designed for low elongation and are equipped with roller deflection. The machines by Lorenz offer just that. “The entire development process for these machines has been built on decades of our experience in the field of straightening technology,” says Klaus Lorenz, managing director, who has been at the company’s helm since 2006. The family business develops, manufactures and installs customized machines and systems. Around 30 to 40 of them leave the gates of the Friesenheim plant in Baden each year. The customer base for these machines incorporates the electric, automotive and consumer goods sectors.

© Copyright by photographer Axel Heiter

In addition to manufacturing machines, Lorenz also produces furniture fittings, and its retrofit offer for older systems has created yet another important pillar for the company. “Being an owner-operated business, the decision paths are short here,” Klaus explains. “Therefore, we are able to introduce innovation quickly. The new compact starter from ABB is a good example of this. Once we were convinced of its advantages, we put the device to use in all our manufacturing operations shortly after its launch.”

Dramatic savings in space, costs and time

The HF-series electronic compact starters, available from ABB since the end of 2016, are innovative hybrid starters for motors up to 3 kW/400 V. Ron Kimmig, ABB sales representative for industry/engineering for the southwest region of Germany, takes care of Lorenz and suggested that the company consider the product. “With a width of only 22.5 mm, the devices take up as much as 75 percent less space in the control cabinet,” Ron notes. “Yet, they provide direct start, reversing start, overload protection and safety functionality for emergency stops. Consequently, installation time is significantly shortened. Moreover, the risk of wiring errors, when compared to the installation of individual components, is drastically reduced.”

In all, the electronic compact starter for installation on DIN rails is available in five versions to achieve these capabilities. “Today, we use nearly all the versions,” reports Sascha Gruninger, head of the Automation Department at Lorenz.

When compared to contactors, the electronic compact starter requires considerably less space. In addition, fewer components are needed, since many of the functions are already integrated. This is demonstrated not only in lower costs for the technology, but also smaller control cabinets.

Reduced hydraulic requirements

Yet another advantage, thanks to the additional safety function, is that many of the axles and much of the functionality can be implemented using electric motors, instead of the hydraulic technology used before. Sascha continues: “This translates to better precision, reduced need for hydraulic oil, reduced wear and the ability to use low-wear energy-efficient asynchronous motors”.

A range of valuable savings

Sascha also considers the electrical current range as very favorable. It is considerably wider than in conventional motor protection circuit breakers. The HF-series is available in three ranges: up to 0.6 A, 2.4 A and 6.5 A for motors or 9A for resistive loads. This not only makes planning easier for him, but it also means that he does not need to store as much material.

“The device gives us savings in space and storage,” Sascha explains. “Since it allowed us to switch from a hydraulic to an electric drive, we had much less piping work. Customers have a more compact control cabinet and less maintenance effort, thanks to the maintenance-friendly electric motor. In addition, they save energy because of the reduced use of hydraulics. The electric compact starter from ABB came to us at just the right time.”

Beyond the savings Lorenz has gained from ABB electronic compact starters, company leaders have indicated that having access to a central delivery partner and ABB’s technical support and service are their major reasons for choosing ABB. By going straight to ABB technology, Lorenz GmbH Anlagentechnik has rolled out unparalleled benefits.

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