In the summer of 2018, Engineered Lifting Systems was contracted to travel to a rather remote location in Panama to help a Magnetek user with a Hydro-Electric overhead crane.
The country of Panama has many Hydro-Electric plants scattered over the country. These plants provide the majority of the electrical power for the country. The plants are generally smaller than what we think of here in the United States (Not like Hoover dam) but are an important part of the Panamanian power grid.
This crane was having trouble with the operations of the main and aux hoist from the Magnetek Series 3 drive. Yes, there is one drive for two functions on the crane, main and aux hoists.
After being contracted, Mr. Dane Vance and Eric Brown flew down to Panama City first, then a small plane into a city in the interior of Panama. From the hotel each day we got to see a little bit of the country of Panama!
Once at the plant we got on the crane and started to diagnose the problems they were having. The main problem was in the drive set up and resulted in a large load being dropped. The switching from Motor 1 parameters to Motor 2 was not set up correctly, so both the main and the auxiliary hoists were running (or trying to operate) from the Auxiliary motor parameters. This would allow the Main hoist to operate; however, under a large load the motor could not hold field.
In addition, the original crane manufacturer had undersized the Main hoist brake. This was not an advantage when the motor could not hold field under a large load. After Dane figured out what was wrong, the adjustments to the programming were made. The hoists were both tested and returned to the plant.
Prior to leaving Panama, we had to go visit the Panama Canal!
A quick note, the Series 4 drives no longer support the “Motor 1 – Motor 2” set up. If you are currently using one (1) Series 3 drive in the “Motor 1 – Motor 2” mode, you will want to pursue a redesign of that control circuit. In many cases it will necessitate upgrading to two new Series 4 drives.
Dane and I want to thank Jaime, You were a fantastic host and we look forward to working with you again.