Meccanica Nicoletti, a leading Italian designer and manufacturer of automated machines for winding and unwinding cable needed to improve winding performance on its latest generation of Automat 300 machines. Based near Padua, Meccanica Nicoletti was founded in 1976 and has since evolved to become a market leading OEM in dynamic cable storage warehouses and rewinding systems, principally for large electrical wire and cable manufacturers.
Their Automat 300 automatic rewinding system delivers fully flexible winding control, accommodating reel diameters up to 1600 mm and cable diameters from 4 to 60 mm (up to 3000 kg in weight). Faced with a recent requirement to increase the winding speed performance of its Automat 300 series machines to 500 m/min, Meccanica Nicoletti conducted extensive tests with several major manufacturers of high performance AC drives..
The tests were performed on ‘soft’ cable processing – with silicone insulation and small reel diameters – at high speed, looking for any signs of damage to the outer coating. Parker proved to be the only supplier that guaranteed the process performance of winding/unwinding and stretch control at very high speed.
As on previous projects, Meccanica Nicoletti partnered with Parker to design and engineer a system that allowed improved reeling of the cable at high speed by replacing the existing pneumatic dancer. From the end of 2014, all automatic systems produced at Meccanica Nicoletti are equipped with a new motorised dancer, which is a solution comprised of two linear belt guides that are connected mechanically and driven by a brushless servo motor – complemented by a suitably configured high-performance AC drive.
Along with an impressive increase in speed, the solution has allowed the minimum working cable diameter to be reduced from 12 to 4 mm. The AC890 family of drives in DC bus configuration, combined with high-performance AC motors, now enables the Automat 300 to deliver a winding speed of 500 m/min – a more than two-fold increase over the previous capability. Furthermore, the specifically designed application software accurately controls feed rates based on the reel and cable diameter, as well as the speed and torque of the motor.
The project increased productivity by approximately 20-25% —attracting many more inquiries from large cable retail customers.