Where does High Fructose Corn Syrup come from? Horner has a customer that processes corn to make HFCS. This customer processes 230,000 bushels of corn every day that is used in almost every soft drink you purchase. If you look at a label and it has HFCS on that label, it could have been processed at this plant. HFCS does not have to be a liquid product. It is also processed as a dry product. The dry form of HFCS is super sweet, 2-3 times as sweet as liquid, and is processed by running it through a centrifuge made by a company called BMA. Early last year Horner quoted the six 300HP heavy duty regenerative ABB drives that control these BMA machines. After several meetings and the help of Horner Engineer, Tom Wagner, Horner was awarded a contract valued at $350,000.00 to furnish the drives for this project. Thanks to Randy Isley’s great relationship and support over the years, we had a lot of trust with this customer. He’s been calling on them since 1975.

The application these drives were running is one of the most demanding for an AC drive, a centrifuge. If you haven’t seen a centrifuge, it could be described something like a top loading washing machine. Except in this case about 30 times bigger in size. Centrifuges come in all sizes and are used in multiple industries, but for this customer it is processing food products. What makes large industrial centrifuges demanding is that they usually run in very repetitive heavy load cycles over a short amount of time. Translating, the electric motor gets worked very hard to accelerate as fast as possible through the process and then decelerate as fast as possible and start it all over and over and over…… until you run out of material, or something breaks. The ABB regenerative drive is a natural fit for this application. When sized properly, the drive can ramp up an electric motor with only the amps needed to push the load. Without a drive, a motor can pull up to seven times it’s rated current during acceleration. Just by eliminating that inrush current the motors life is extended greatly and allows for the motor to run continuously without overheating due to inrush current. The next advantage for the regenerative drive is when the centrifuge has to decelerate. Big processing centrifuges are typically heavily loaded when filled with material. Of course, when you try to stop something with a lot of weight it requires a lot more energy just to keep it moving. Similar to stopping a car. If you don’t care about how long it takes to stop you can just coast but that takes a long time. So, to stop fast, you need a way to fight all that weight the car has. In this case mechanical brakes. Brakes work great when maintained but overtime they will wear out. Imagine how often you would have to service your brakes if you used them to full capacity every 10 minutes for 24 hours all but two weeks out of the year. That’s a lot of wear and tear. Here is where the regenerative AC drive shines. Instead of using mechanical means to stop the centrifuge. The drive takes the energy generated by the centrifuge load that is reflected back into the drive from the electric motor. The drive uses that energy to use the motor’s own force to stop the centrifuge by reversing the applied motor force from pushing the centrifuge load to pulling against the load to make it stop much faster. The best part of this is it’s all done electrically. No mechanical parts therefore no maintenance required. Four months ago the project was started and the drives Horner furnished are doing great, the customer is happy and we will be able to provide more drives on other pieces of machinery at this plant. Great work from Tom Wagner, Randy Isley and Matt Velandingham!