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Greater efficiency saves time and money in manufacturing transformers. Special machine builder Straus knows this only too well. The spacers that used to be delivered in strips – resulting in high logistics costs and a lot of waste – now come on a roll. Straus developed and built the necessary machinery to do this. The standardised control cabinet SST from Festo made the job a lot less stressful.
Wherever there is high voltage, good insulation ensures that energy flows along fixed lines. Just like crash barriers on motorways, spacers keep the windings of transformers at a safe distance. Oil in the gaps cools the electric converters and ensures effective performance. Spacers used to be produced manually, which required a lot of time and effort. But now a new system from Straus GmbH has automated and accelerated the manufacturing process for continuous rolls. The standardised control cabinet SST from Festo has made a major contribution to the operation of the machine. Its simple and intuitive operating concept together with automatic detection of peripheral equipment enable quick and flexible commissioning.
From manual to automatic
Straus GmbH sees itself as a small-scale think tank in special machine construction, setting itself ambitious challenges ranging from product design and the creation of functional models to prototypes, small-series production and 3D printing. When developing the new production equipment for spacers for transformer windings, the company managed to transform a previously non-automated process into a reliable handling system. The new production method uses a press board rod to bond tensile and cover strips in several individual steps before winding them around a reel. The standardised control cabinet SST controls all pneumatic drives in the machine and picks up all cylinder positions and signals from the through-beam sensors in the material storage area.
The company broke new ground with the development of the handling system, yet had little experience when it came to the control components. The special machine builder considered whether to enlist the help of an external control engineering company or to develop a solution themselves. The standardised control cabinet SST from Festo rendered this decision unnecessary, as it did not require programming in the conventional sense using programming knowledge. Simple parameterisation with a graphical user interface was all that was needed. It was thus possible to change and expand the processes in the machine at any time without much effort. “The SST enabled us to test processes directly at the machine without external control experts, and to keep refining them until we achieved the desired result”, explains Martin Straus, General Manager.
Martin Straus was able to concentrate fully on his core business and benefited from significant time and cost savings in the intensive development phase. Apart from the simple step sequence of the system, for which the SST is tailor-made, the compact control cabinet also provided solutions for functions that had not been planned beforehand, such as winding the finished band. “Even after the system was completed, I was impressed by the flexibility of the control system, with all of the necessary components in a standardised control cabinet”, says Straus.
Area of business: Special machine construction, product development, functional model, prototype and small-series production, 3D printing design service