Gravimetric feeder line features Allen-Bradley controls

Rockwell Automation announced that feeder and meter manufacturer Schenck AccuRate is now incorporating Allen-Bradley products from Rockwell Automation into its line of Mechatron gravimetric feeders, claiming end users can achieve increased levels of accuracy. The company says its customers have consistently specified Rockwell Automation controls for their machines, and both companies share an interest in the growing development of mechatronic design principles.
By Control Engineering Staff January 24, 2008

Milwaukee, WI Rockwell Automation announced that feeder-and-meter manufacturer Schenck AccuRate is now incorporating Allen-Bradley products from Rockwell Automation into its line of Mechatron gravimetric feeders, claiming end users can achieve increased levels of accuracy. The company says its customers have consistently specified Rockwell Automation controls for their machines, and both companies share an interest in the growing development of mechatronic design principles, making the supplier-OEM relationship a natural fit.
For machine builders, mechatronic design requires organizing a cross-functional design team in which each of the disciplines is represented, instead of having separate design teams (mechanical, controls, software, etc.). Rockwell says forward-thinking machine builders even include their automation supplier in this collaborative effort, engaging them early in the process.
“To provide the most advanced automation to our customers, we continue looking for ways to effectively link the mechanical world to the controls engineering world,” said Gary Kuehneman, director of business development and marketing, Schenck AccuRate. “Teaming with Rockwell Automation took us in the right direction because the company knows how to effectively incorporate different engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, software and controls—and has an industry-leading portfolio of integrated controls available in the market.”
The Mechatron feeder is controlled by Schenck AccuRate’s patented Disocont integrated controller. The Disocont is a dynamic, weight-based controller with patented control algorithms that enhance feeding accuracy and is part of the Rockwell Automation Encompass Program, a third-party product referencing program.
The Rockwell Automation solution consists of Bulletin 800 F-series switches, terminal blocks and Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 4 variable frequency drives that integrate seamlessly with Schenck AccuRate’s control platform. Heat sink thermal protection in the drives allows the feeder to operate at lower speeds, helps extend the overall life cycle of the drives and, ultimately, lowers maintenance costs for the end user.
“The biggest challenge that many of our customers face is training machine operators. When we implemented new technologies on this feeder, our goal was to make the application as easy to learn and use as possible,” said Kuehneman. “In the end, the move to Allen-Bradley products was largely customer-driven, as our end users exhibited a high level of recognition and knowledge of Rockwell Automation products.”
Schenck AccuRate plans to expand its relationship with Rockwell Automation and utilize the company’s industry knowledge and standards expertise by standardizing its extrusion process applications, its alternative fuel delivery systems, and other feeder product lines on Allen-Bradley controls.
—Edited by C.G. Masi , [senior editor