SEW-EURODRIVE launches high-tech drive solution at Electra Mining

SEW-EURODRIVE’s geared motors.
SEW-EURODRIVE’s geared motors.

One of the star attractions at SEW-EURODRIVE’s stand at the Electra Mining Africa 2022 exhibition is the company’s new-generation MOVI-C all-in-one modular drive solution, which makes its African debut at the show.

In essence, MOVI-C is a suite of products that automates drive applications, whether they be simple or very complex. It is ideal for optimising or expanding existing automation systems or for rapidly implementing new automation projects where flexibility, rapid deployment and cost-effectiveness are key.

A true 4IR solution that offers huge productivity benefits to users, MOVI-C can be used in a wide range of applications where processes and operations need to be automated – for example, production lines or packaging operations. “It can be applied to any situation where the speed, acceleration and torque and position of drives needs to be regulated and controlled,” says Dylan Enslin, SEW-EURODRIVE’s MAXOLUTION engineer.

He adds that MOVI-C can be used to implement standards-based single-axis or multi-axis applications or customised and/or particularly complex motion control applications or automation solutions.

“Generation C is a big step up from its predecessor Generation B, with better control, higher efficiency, added flexibility and a much-improved interface,” he says. “It represents the future of automation and we see it having a big future in South Africa, and further afield on the African continent.”

MOVI-C has four main components – the requisite engineering software (MOVISUITE); advanced control technology (MOVI-C Controller); cutting-edge inverter technology for motor control (MOVIDRIVE); and decentralised drive technology (MOVIGEAR and MOVIMOT). Together these components represent a single end-to-end modular automation system, all available from SEW-EURODRIVE with no necessity for any add-ins from third parties.

All the components can be fully integrated into any automation design, fieldbus technology or network standard. There is complete freedom of configuration when it comes to the communication technology as MOVI-C is compatible with protocols from Profibus and Industrial Ethernet through to Modbus, Profinet and EtherCat. Another benefit is the EtherCat CiA402 protocol.

SEW-EURODRIVE has used MOVI-C to automate operations at its brand new Aeroton facility in Johannesburg, which now acts as the hub for its African operations. The complex includes a factory which significantly expands SEW-EURODRIVE’s manufacturing capability and which will ultimately assemble most products in the SEW-EURODRIVE range.

The main production conveyor at the new facility is based on MOVI-C. The installation includes the MOVIGEAR mechatronic drive system. The MOVIGEAR units – which combine an energy-efficient IE5 motor, gear unit and corresponding drive electronics in a single housing – control and drive a conveyor line used in the assembly of gearboxes. The modular nature of the installation means it can easily be extended in the future should the need arise.

Installation of MOVI-C at the Aeroton facility has resulted in a 40 % productivity gain compared to the less advanced, more manual systems for assembly used in the past, says Jacques Kemp, SEW-EURODRIVE’s Geared Motor Production Manager. “This increase in productivity stems from MOVI-C’s ability to eliminate ‘wasteful’ activities, which were previously carried out manually but which are now being done by machines.”

Kemp points out that automation should not be seen as a means of reducing employee headcount. “We have not replaced a single worker – quite the opposite, in fact. Instead, we’ve empowered our existing employees to be far more productive. This is what MOVI-C does.”

The installation not only demonstrates SEW-EURODRIVE’s confidence in MOVI-C but it will also allow the company to show its customers the system in operation in a ‘real world’ application.

As Enslin says: “It showcases our abilities very effectively. It will allow customers to see MOVI-C in action and judge for themselves the efficiencies that can be achieved when SEW-EURODRIVE’s advanced drive technology is installed in a production environment.”