Based on growing market demand in China for eggs, a leading OEM for egg farming systems was searching for new technology which would increase its operational reliability and efficiency. Big Dutchman-China, which is located about 30 minutes by fast train from Beijing, builds modern lines which are installed at egg farms all over China. To improve the lines, it began exploring the market for equipment that offered both better motor control and stronger local service in case of need.
In egg farms, to ensure the best possible animal welfare during the process, hens that produce the eggs are supplied with a steady stream of feed and fresh air, while at the same time waste products and oxygen-depleted air must be removed. To do this, a series of conveyors and fans which are driven by electrical motors are used to move feed and fresh air in, and manure and exhaust air out. And of course, the fresh eggs must also be safely conveyed out to the packaging department.
Proposing ABB general purpose drives
To get more stable and efficient control of these air and material flow processes, Big Dutchman-China asked ABB for suggestions about how their variable speed drives might help. Robin-Yu Lou, ABB’s Sales Engineer in China for drive products explains how things developed.
“Big Dutchman-China was looking for a drive that could give them higher operational reliability and user friendliness, and that was also well supported with good local service if needed,” he says. “After discussing exactly what their egg lines needed to do and explaining both what our VSDs offered and the capabilities of our extensive after-sales support team in China, we proposed our general purpose ACS580 drive as a solution.”
Robin accurately calculated that this drive would be just right to handle the various egg line operations, thus giving the requested high reliability, functionality and user friendliness, but without being too powerful or expensive for the application. In addition, ABB’s local channel partner could provide valuable after service and most technical support needs, if required.
Proven track record and easy to use
After comparing the benefits of the ACS580 versus other drives, Big Dutchman-China agreed to try ABB’s suggestion and has been very happy with it. In addition to local support, the key technical arguments that favored the ACS580 were its long track record of reliable operation, easy commissioning and use due to the intuitive control panel, its compact footprint to fit small spaces, and the ability to customize solutions to meet both Big Dutchman’s needs and those of its customers.
Furthermore, Big Dutchman-China liked the fact that the ACS580 would not be much of a work burden on their engineering team, since the drive has high reliability and is intuitive –making it easy to install and use. And, in case support was needed, ABB’s channel partners and ABB itself would both be ready and able to help.
Over 200 drives already deployed
Hank Zhang, technical manager at Big Dutchman-China, says that more than 200 pieces of ACS580 drives have now been installed on their equipment and it has been a big success.
“As a result of adopting this drive, operational downtime on the egg production lines is estimated to have decreased by around 90%,” he states, “and commissioning time is reduced about 30% due to the easy-to-use features. In addition, the fan and conveyor speeds can be controlled more accurately, providing a more comfortable environment for the chickens. Also for some of the conveyors and fans where it makes sense, only one drive is controlling multiple motors, thus achieving stable and synchronous speed control while also saving on the investment costs.
Critical processes like ventilation to provide oxygen require the highest reliability since failure can lead to high mortality. The superior robustness of the ACS580 is essential for ensuring failure-free climate control and oxygen supply. An additional positive feature of the ACS580 is its DC coil for harmonic mitigation and increased lifetime of the capacitors. Since farms are normally far away from communities, and thus the distribution transformers, the mains supply grid is often weak. Drives without mitigation technology will cause mains disturbance which can negatively affect other equipment. So, by using the harmonic-mitigating ACS580, other equipment on the egg farms like climate and feed computers also become more reliable, which is positive for both safety and productivity.
Reliability and local service are a winning combination
By offering a superior product in terms of quality and support, ABB has established a solid relation with Big Dutchman in China that both parties are happy about. This has resulted in better peace of mind for both Big Dutchman-China and the egg farmers themselves, since they see this drive can handle the various applications with high reliability and that expert support is quickly available if needed.