Reaching New Heights
An automated warehouse is a breath-taking sight, as reams of pallets are automatically scanned and retrieved for delivery, but not all automation systems are made to endure extreme environments. Here’s how Technidrive and WEG partnered to help Moffett Automated Storage (MAS), design a vertical lift for extreme temperatures. Industrial elevators are usually propelled by electric motors, with the aid of a counterweight system. When these industrial systems are in varying conditions, the equipment must withstand extreme temperatures and heavy loads.
MAS, an automated storage firm in Ireland, worked with Technidrive on their first international project in Dubai. The project involved creating a system for a three-storey, 30-metre-high building with an 85 pallets per hour throughput. The automated storage system was required to lift and lower pallets, operate in temperatures between -25°C and +40°C and move pallets weighing over 1,500Kg, at a rate of 1-metre per second, between a height of 6-metres and 30-metres.
MAS used a drive system from an existing supplier that no longer met their current project requirements. Technidrive and MAS considered all aspects of the system and redesigned the drive system based on actual needs and specification. Technidrive chose WEG to supply an 11Kw electric motor, and a Variable Speed Drive (VSD), along with the relevant programming software. The VSD, also known as an inverter, plays a significant role in this application. The inverter allows the storage system to accelerate and decelerate at high rates to accommodate the high number of pallets required per hour. The weight of the cart varies due to diverse product ranges, Technidrive and WEG worked together to develop an autocorrection suitable to carry out the needs of the system.
Technidrive had to consider regenerative energy, returning to the inverter caused by lowering the load. The high energy produced required dissipation through the DC Bus of the inverter connected to the brake resistor. The original brake resistor was not large enough, which would have caused overheating problems. Technidrive was aware of the regenerative energy the pallets would create and designed a suitable brake resistor, adding thermal protection, ensuring no overheating issues would occur.
As a result of Technidrive, WEG and MAS working together, a unique system has been engineered. MAS currently uses this automated system in Dublin and Dubai; two further projects are expected in Amsterdam and London; the application is global and can be recreated anywhere in the world.