East Lancs boosts production with Eurotherms Link system

paper making: Fibre optic-based drive and control system is flexible solution

East Lancs paper mill has reported a significant increase in production speed on its PM5 paper machine after an upgrade project which saw the implementation of a Eurotherms Drive fibre-optic Link-based drive system.

Used to produce a range of printing and writing papers in grades up to 300gsm, the PM5 paper machine was based around a single line shaft. The problem for the company was that it was reaching a limit of productivity on the machine. With a view to upgrading the machine to boost productivity from 267m/min to 350m/min, while also reducing product changeover times,East Lancs discussed with Eurotherm the benefits of sectionalising the whole machine with variable speed drive technology.

With numerous drives from Eurotherm already installed at East Lancs, the company was well aware of the capabilities of these products.

On the upgraded PM5, 590 series DC drives are combined with Link fibre-optic distributed control systems to provide a highly flexible control strategy.

Link includes configurable analogue, digital and serial I/O modules that can be distributed on machinery to minimise signal and control wiring. The ability of the Link modules to handle all the necessary machine control and sequence on the PM5 eliminated the requirement for PLCs, reducing the complexity of the drive control system. At the same time, with one fibre-optic cable replacing hundreds of wires, installation time and costs were significantly reduced.

The 590 series drives’ inbuilt Link modules allow direct connection to the fibre-optic network for high-speed communications. This gives the operator a highly dynamic response to ensure total control and achieve a consistent quality of paper.

Also connected to the Link network on the PM5 are five touch screen operator stations, positioned around the machine to control and monitor a specific aspect of production.

Gary Ashworth, the project manager, said: ‘The upgraded machine has only been running for six weeks, but we are already seeing benefits. Operators are reporting that the machine is much easier to run, and because the machine is far more controllable we are seeing reductions both in the number of paper breakages and consequent downtime, which in turn has increased our productivity.