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Ralspeed keeps environCom hammering

9 May 2013

When the 335 kW ac variable speed drive for its hammer mill failed just before the Christmas holiday, environCom, operator of the UK’s largest e-waste recycling plant, called on motor control expert, Ralspeed, for help in finding a fast and permanent solution. Ralspeed’s experienced engineers quickly located the source of the problem and supplied a replacement control panel, complete with a new drive, which was installed and commissioned less than three weeks after the original problem occurred, despite the intervening Christmas break.

The hammer mill at environCom’s Grantham plant is a key element of its operations at the site, which has capacity for reprocessing up to 100,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) per year. The mill is used to break down almost all of the waste handled on the site, which ranges from washing machines and electric toasters to televisions and computers, and when the mill is out of service, this causes serious disruption to the company’s operations.

The failure of the mill’s ac variable speed drive in late December was, therefore, a major issue, and environCom contacted several potential suppliers in an effort to find one that could help with remedying the problem quickly and cost-effectively.

On inspecting the failed drive system, Ralspeed’s engineers discovered that the principal reason for failure was that all of the ventilation channels in the drive power sections had become blocked by the dust produced during the operation of the hammer mill. This had led to the overheating and failure of two converter modules, putting the existing drive beyond economic repair.

Ralspeed adopted the approach of arranging for the panel to be vented to clean outside air via ducting. In spite of the proximity of the holiday season, Ralspeed was able to source the new drive rapidly from Vacon UK, and then worked flat out to complete and test the new panel, which was delivered to the environCom site early in January.

“Throughout this whole project, we had outstanding support from Ralspeed,” said David Baldwin, head of engineering at environCom, “and we were very impressed by the company’s ability to react quickly at what is, for any business, one of the most difficult times of the year. In fact, I think it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to find any other company with the capability and expertise needed to get our plant back up and running in just three weeks – let alone do it at such a competitive price.”

For further information, please contact:

Michael Southworth, Ralspeed Ltd
A1 Hurstwood Court, Mercer Way, Shadsworh Business Park, Blackburn, BB1 2QU Tel: 01254 582345 Email: Web: are not responsible for the content of submitted or externally produced articles and images.
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