Grinder for Recycling Plastics for 3D Printers
American Control Electronics (ACE) is a premier supplier of mission-specific motor controls. Many times, that mission can be accomplished with adaptations of standard ACE products.
Filabot is an ACE OEM customer that manufactures plastic filament extruders used for 3D printing. This application uses a 1 horsepower, 230VAC 3-phase motor in a system used to grind recycled plastics. They sought a way to digitally monitor motor current to detect jams in the grinding process. They also needed the ability to reverse the motor if a jam was ‘detected’. The initial thought was to use a VFD that could output an overcurrent signal to a PLC. The PLC was to command a drive to reverse in order to dislodge a jam. After a couple of attempts to dislodge a jam, the system was to automatically stop and alert the user of a fault. Filabot was pleased to learn that a standard PMF703 series VFD could be programmed to perform the functions they required, eliminating the need for the PLC in their machine design. ACE delivered a drive that only required a single push button to run the motor at a fixed speed, had the current monitoring built in, and ran a custom jam dislodge sequence per Filabot specifications.
The use of a smart standard drive provided Filabot with a reduced component count, lower parts cost and reduced wiring labor. All this added up to a very quick return of investment in the relatively modest custom program fee.