VFD Preventive Maintenance!

Several Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) were sent into Deltas’ shop for repair. The clients’ complaint for them was that they were failing with an “Overtemp” fault. This is a very common fault/failure on all brands of VFDs. With only a very few exceptions, all VFDs have cooling fans, usually multiple cooling fans. All cooling fans have a finite life span. This lifespan is measured in run-time hours. It is typically several thousand hours, which usually translates into 3-5 years of 24/7 operation. Of course this rating is in a clean environment. The VFD depends upon air flow created by the cooling fans moving air across its’ heat sink fins to dissipate the heat generated by the high power components. The fans and the heat sinks on these VFDs sent if for repair, were completely blocked. Zero air flow was passing through these units. Consequently, they failed on “Over temperature”. Fortunately, the circuitry that detected the over temperature condition, protected the VFD from further damage.

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These units, as the photos illustrate, show just how badly the units were blocked. These units required above what Delta typically refers to as a “Level 2” bench cleaning/P.M. service.  These may have been a “Level 4” if such a level existed! They had to be completely disassembled, vacuumed, brushed, washed and scrubbed to get all of the foreign matter removed. Then they had to be reassembled and tested. This was to say the least, a very labor intensive process. That translates into a higher than normal cost for the client as well. Since these were large, high horsepower units, it was cost effective to perform the service. In this case, a more frequent preventive maintenance service would have prevented the complete shutdown of these units and would have not incurred the added cost of a bench level cleaning. Delta provides preventive maintenance (P.M.) plans tailored to the specific needs of our clients. Contact Delta at 804-236-2800.

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Machine Conversion With WEG CFW 11 & Motor

A Delta client had an aging production machine, that was in need of a total gearbox replacement or rebuild. This machine had a small 1 horsepower D.C. “pony” motor and speed controller to Jog the process during set-up and feeding, and a large 75 horsepower A.C. main motor that was running full speed “across the line”.

WEG CFW 11 & motor

Lee Gleason, a Delta senior field service engineer, suggested that the client remove the gearbox completely, remove the small pony motor and install a WEG CFW-011 variable frequency drive and a WEG motor to replace the current main drive motor. This would eliminate the worn out mechanical gearbox completely, the D.C. pony motor, its’ D.C controls, the old inefficient main drive motor, plus allow the operator to have complete control over the machine speed. All of the way from a slow Jog to the full production speeds, plus the operator would have a reverse in case of machine jams.

The client accepted the proposal and the project moved forward over a planned shutdown time. After the start-up and commissioning the operators enjoyed the “one button” control and the ability to adjust the production speed as dictated by varying materials and conditions. Additionally, the inherent soft start functionality of a VFD, allows for a tremendous reduction in mechanical wear and tear on the mechanics of the machine and eliminates the peak in-rush of A.C. current which could result in additional peak demand charges from the local power provider.

WEG blue machine

The client was so pleased with the completed project, that they decided to repaint the entire machine WEG blue!

This project was a huge success, in machine maintenance, power consumption, production up-time and operator satisfaction and ease of use.

Contact Delta for all of your VFD and motor needs.

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Modicon Network Certifications

From the day after Christmas on through fours days past the New Years holiday, two teams of Delta Engineers were busily working long 12+ hour days testing, repairing and certifying Modicon remote I/O and Modbus Plus networks during a plant holiday shutdown. This project included over a dozen production lines, each with both, remote I/O systems and ModBus Plus systems.  Almost all of the Modbus Plus systems had multiple (up to 4) segments. This made for a total of 59 separate and individual certifications performed.

All of these systems had been experiencing issues and required repair. Many previously unknown issues and problems were found and repaired.  Additionally, dozens of undocumented changes, modifications, replaced/updated equipment, spare connections and hidden splices were located, documented, and repaired where necessary.

Upon bringing the plants production lines back up, after being down for 10 days, all of the newly certified systems came up with no issues or errors.

Shown here is the collection of certification reports, one for each line and system, that were provided to the client. The documents show and detail the repairs, all of the test results and any recommendations for the network. These reports prove to be invaluable in times of additions, modifications or troubleshooting.Certification reports

Call or email Delta Automation for more information or a quote on certifying your networks!

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Delta Salutes our Veterans

Delta Automation is Honoring, Supporting, Celebrating and Saluting our Veterans of all services by displaying green!      Thank you! From everyone in the Free World!


“All Gave Some……….Some Gave All!”

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Delta Provides Supplies for Childrens’ Church “Drive in Theater” Movie Night

A local Church was sponsoring a movie night for the children’s program with the theme of “Drive In Theater Night”. The volunteers decided to build mock ups of cars to simulate the whole experience of a drive in theater. Delta was able to provide many large slightly used shipping boxes that the staff and the children were able to transform into “cars”. The cars were aligned in rows as was the fashion of the drive in theaters of old. The children enjoyed the program and were amazed that folks actually used to watch movies like this!drive-in boxes drive-in boxes1

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Delta Adds an Additional Outside Sales Representative, Brent Yager


Brent Yager has recently joined the Delta sales team to assist in the growth and expansion of ours sales territory. Brent’s sales background includes a multi-state sales territory responsibility representing products to clients in the commercial, industrial and government sectors.

Please contact Brent or anyone here at Delta for any of your needs.

804 878 7484  cell  or email: Byager@deltaautomation

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Introducing Deltas Newest Sales Representative, Win Bradley

Win, (Winfred) Bradley, a native of Richmond, and a former Navy submariner comes to Delta with a wide array of skills, including some software development, e-commerce sales and face to face customer relations experience.  Win will fill the roles of outside sales with some inside time as well. Please contact him at 804-921-9273 or wbradley@deltaautomation.com.


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Delta Automation Supports Our American Veterans

Joe @ McGuire's VA Gig (Medium)One of our employees, operations manager, Joe Sarver, put his alter-talent to good use as he lent a musical helping hand to entertain a room full of most appreciative men and women military veterans from all branches of the service including the US Coast Guard.

Joe performed a one hour, weekday afternoon Valentine’s benefit concert with the Tommy Witten Quartet at the Sitter-Barfoot Veterans Care Center of McGuire Veterans Medical Center located in Richmond, VA. Much to the delight of the vets, the band played requests and concluded the concert with a medley of theme songs for each branch of the service represented there. A fun time was had by the veterans, the medical staff, and the band!


Pictured above is Joe posing with his venerable 165 year old bass, below the Veterans facility.

McGuire's VA Hospital Center (Medium)

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Read About IDECs New Line of Solid State Interface Relays



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Some of the Top Things That Cause VFD (drive) Failure

Inverters, drives, VSDs, variable speed drives, variable frequency drives – the category of products used to control an electric motor’s speed and thus reduce energy usage in a variable speed application has more names than Prince. Although, I suppose when you think about it he only has three really, if you include his decision in 1993 to become known by a symbol instead of a word.

Capacitor wear – Working like a dog

The first reason for inverter failure is electro-mechanical wear on capacitors. Inverters rely on capacitors to provide a smooth power output at varying levels of current; however electrolytic capacitors have a limited lifespan and age faster than dry components. This in itself can be a cause of inverter failure.

Capacitors are also extremely temperature sensitive. Temperatures over the stated operating temperature, often caused by high current, can reduce the life of the component. However, as the electrolytes evaporate faster at higher temperatures, capacitor life increases when they are run at lower than operating temperature.

Happily, keeping a consistent maintenance regime and regularly replacing capacitors avoids most problems that failed capacitors can cause.

Overuse – Too much of a good thing

Using inverters beyond their operating limit, either by choice or due to oversight or lack of knowledge, can contribute to inverter bridge failure. Using any component at a rating higher than its operating limit will decrease its lifespan and lead to failure, so avoiding this issue simply comes down to checking that all inverters are being run correctly.

Over- and under-voltage – The power you’re supplying, it’s electrifying!

The next two issues that can cause inverter failure are over-current and over-voltage. If either current or voltage increases to a level that the inverter is not rated for, it can cause damage to components in the device, most frequently the inverter bridge. Often this damage will be caused by the excess heat generated by the spike in voltage or current.

Over-current can be avoided with fuses or circuit breakers but avoiding over-voltage can be tricky. Sometimes voltage spikes are man-made, but they can also be caused by lightning or solar flares which are difficult to avoid if, like us, you live on planet Earth.

Ultrasonic vibrations – I’m picking up good vibrations

The final problem on the list is one that contributes to the mechanical stress placed on an inverter. Ultrasonic vibrations originating in the cores of inductive components cause friction, adding to the unwanted heat generated by the device and further damaging components in the inverter.

Another item that causes issues are failed fans. Although heat was mentioned in another category, these items fail often enough to warrant being specifically mentioned.

This article was originally published in the January issue of Automated Magazine.


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