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Case Studies - Variable Frequency Drives

ABB drive cuts costs for wooden toy company

A 30 kW Comp-AC drive from ABB is helping a wooden toy company reduce the noise in its workshops, as well as save over $700 a year in energy.

Community Playthings is a company run by the Beechgrove Community, a religious community near Sandwich, in Kent. For the past five years, the company has produced wooden items such as workbenches, blocks and toys for sale to schools.

Community Playthings approached ABB Drives Alliance member MKE Engineering Group in Sittingbourne as it was experiencing problems with the dust extraction equipment in the workshop. The workshop has an extractor fan for removing wood dust from the air through ducting, previously based on a 30kW motor driving a fan. It ran at a constant speed, regardless of the number of machines working or the amount of dust in the air.

The manager of Community Playthings explains: “The system was too powerful for present use and created a lot of noise.”

MKE Drive Systems recommended the 30kW drive from ABB. Gary Palmer of MKE says: “Each woodworking machine in the workshop now has its own vent, connected to the air extraction ducting. When the machine is switched on, the operator opens the vent, causing the pressure in the ducting to drop – when the machine is switched off, the vent is closed and the pressure rises.

“The drive uses a pressure differential sensor, ensuring that the correct air pressure and volume is maintained in the ducting, to avoid damaging the ducting and wood dust settling in the ducts.”

The noise in the workshop has now been substantially reduced, and with the energy savings, the system will pay for itself in 14 months.

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