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ABB has brought out a winch control program for ABB industrial drives ranging from 0.55 to 5600 kW.

It is suitable for control system configurations in the marine environment.

It incorporates built-in programmable logic controller (PLC) features, enabling the drive to be used without any external PLCs.

The winch application can be programmed within the PLC that communicates with the ABB industrial drive via fieldbus gateways.

The ABB industrial drive is certified for marine use and when combined with the winch control program, it can replace traditional and costly hydraulic winch controllers typically used in anchoring and mooring.

This eliminates high maintenance costs and performance inefficiencies while improving operator safety and overall system reliability.

The ABB industrial drive contains the Direct Torque Control (DTC), which enables the drive to achieve full torque at zero speed without the need for a feedback encoder.

The ABB industrial drive’s digital I/Os and the winch control program allow the winch to be operated directly from three control stands located typically on the port, starboard and upper deck of a vessel.

This lets the operator control the speed of the winch while in a harbour, from anywhere on the vessel.

Winch-control enables a control stand to be operated with the other two stands disabled or with all three stands active at the same time.

From each stand an operator can start and stop or raise and lower the winch.

Protection functions are built into the program to safeguard everyone working near the winch.

An anchor mode can be selected from each control stand, allowing the winch to raise or lower an anchor.

The in-built protection functions include slip detection, which detects any high load on the chain should it become snagged when raising the anchor.

Such a high load creates a speed difference between the winch drum and the motor shaft and activates a load switch.

The speed/torque of the winch motor is immediately reduced to a level set by the winch manufacturer.

This prevents damage to the motor shaft, winch drum or clutch between the drum and motor.

A further protection feature is anchor-in protection.

As the anchor is being raised and reaches the end of its limit, winch control detects the anchor winch speed and motor torque level and the relative length of the chain.

It automatically slows down the winch, allowing the operator to manually complete the task, controlling the joystick to the zero position.

When mooring a vessel to a harbour or pier, the tension within the mooring ropes can be controlled manually from any of the three control stands using winch control, while staying in full view of the rope movement.

Without winch control, there is a risk that the force within the rope becomes too high, breaking the rope.

As this is a speed control application, winch control detects the high force in the rope through changes in the torque, and controls the speed accordingly.

The routine that prevents the rope breaking is peak torque protection; this detects severe tightening of the rope and immediately sends a signal to adjust the speed, saving the rope and protecting the winch system from overload.

The speed and torque is reduced to a level that the operator can control before the mechanical brake is applied and locked or changed to auto mooring mode.

The program features an integrated brake control logic, which uses torque memory and pre-magnetising to open and close the mechanical brake, safely and reliably.

Additional safety is achieved using brake feedback status from the brake hardware to the drive’s I/O board to monitor brake status compared with drive run/stop status.

The drive also features adaptive programming.

This allows winch features to be changed or modified on-site without having to wait for further software upgrades from the manufacturer.

For example, overspeed monitoring and speed-match can easily be achieved with adaptive programming.

ABB Automation Tech – Drives and Motors

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