An Ethanol plant in Michigan had experienced severe noise on their plant Distributed Control System, (which is Device Net) being generated by the installed VFD’S since the plant was built. The noise issue was a direct result of running all of the entire plant communication lines in the same cable trays as the power lines to energize their plant’s production equipment. The harmonic line distortion created by the VFDs required a minimum of 8 units that had to be manually started at any given time. Since this is a Hazardous and Explosion Proof area the customer was extremely concerned for the safety of their workers. Operators were unable to transmit signals to various areas of their operations to start equipment while some areas were intermittent at best. The cost to re-run all the lines separately was estimated to be in the mid six figures.
The customer decided to give the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors a try after a meeting that Terry Thorne, (Horner Industrial Sales and Marketing Manager), and I had regarding a proposed Toshiba Medium Voltage Drive package. We had an opportunity to discuss the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors and MegAlert winding protection products during the visit. This was before we had become a distributor and we didn’t have any information to provide the customer. After our visit, my contact at the Ethanol plant contacted me regarding several questions he had after going online to get additional details about the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors. I was able to share the information from a test installation we performed at the largest Children’s Hospital in Indiana. I also mentioned to my Ethanol plant contact that some major drive companies are now starting to offer the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors as an option with their drive products. The Ethanol plant decided to take a chance with the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors because they felt that this option was viable and it was a fraction of the cost to having to run all new communication lines.
The Ethanol plant provided a complete list of all their 47 VFDs, their locations and sub names, the HP of each drive along with the length of the wire runs from the VFDs to the motors. Horner Industrial was instructed to supply all of the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors necessary to reduce the noise and to also supply the necessary labor to install the units on their equipment. The project, including labor and materials to complete the work amounted to $43K, (a vast savings over having to rewire the entire plant). Two of Horner Industrial’s Field Service Technician’s did the complete installation in a total of 3 – 8 hour day shifts on site which was excellent time considering it was the first Horner installation of this product.
The installation was completed well ahead of the Ethanol plant shutdown schedule. When the shutdown ended and the plant personnel started up the plant, every unit in the plant was able to be started over their network communication system, even those that they were never able to start before! This plant believes that the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors have been able to reduce the noise produced by the VFDs by at least 95%, (note: this percentage is undocumented and an estimate provided by a plant representative). The plant personnel are so impressed with the results that they contacted their corporate engineering department who is planning on making a trip to the plant to see the installation and verify the results. Once verified the plant plans on using the CoolBLUE®/NaLa absorption inductors on all VFDs installed at all plant locations and on all newly installed VFDs in the future.