Mechanical and hydraulic fully integrated drive systems offer many benefits in terms of easier procurement, improved performance and ease of maintenance. With this in mind, plant engineers and original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are increasingly adopting a systems approach rather than buying individual transmission components and building their own drives, power transmission engineering company Brevini UK sales manager Dave Brown said in June.
Among machine builders, OEMs and end-users, there is an increasing awareness that they could source complete drive systems rather than build their own.
“Integrated drive systems offer advantages on four levels. First is procurement; it is so much easier to buy from one source rather than multiple sources. Further, the need to do engineering calculations for each component is reduced to specification of the input and output.
“Next is removal of the engineering effort to assemble all the components, testing each one in turn. This can have a significant effect on project completion and time to market. The third advantage is that the drive can be seen as a subsystem and optimised within the overall machine for maximum productivity, efficiency and reliability. Finally there are the life cycle considerations such as regular servicing, replacement of wearing parts, and refurbishments and upgrades in the long term, all of which should become easier,” explains Brown.
In short, an integrated drive or hydraulic system is likely to offer improved productivity, reduced maintenance and downtime, and longer operating life. This amounts to quantifiable added value over the lifetime of the plant or machine.
Brevini has been aware of the increased interest in integrated drive systems over several years and has been proactive in supporting it by developing its ranges of both mechanical power transmission products and hydraulic system components. It has also ensured that its sales engineers are familiar with all the parts and their integrations, so that they can develop optimised solutions for every project they are involved in.
Brown adds: “We have developed our product ranges partly by designing components in-house and partly by acquiring companies that already produce best-in-class components. In some cases, the acquired product ranges have had to be slightly redesigned to fit perfectly with the rest of the Brevini ranges, but this relates to interfaces and other details rather than the fundamental design.
“Thus, we have improved our customers’ buying experience by becoming an organisation with a complete product offering and the technical skills to quickly develop systems that are bespoke to project requirements.”
Looking at an example of the integrated approach, Brevini combined its mechanical and hydraulic products and expertise in a project for the recycling industry. The machine, designed to process and separate waste, requires multiple drives delivering different torque and speed inputs to the drive shafts. From the machine requirements, Brevini was able to calculate and improve an overall solution providing a cost-effective drive system without compromising the performance.
The solution was complete, including everything from the hydraulic power pack to the proportional control valves for programmable logic controller, through to the hydraulic motors integrated with the reduction gearboxes.
In the international rail industry, Brevini has supported a number of projects including converting road-going maintenance and service vehicles to run on rails. Typically, the heart of the drive system is hydraulic, with gearboxes used to improve speed and power output. On such applications, traction control is important, which Brevini achieves using standard available features within its hydraulic motor range – again, improving the solution for the real application needs.
“Of course, customers can still buy single products and get the full support of the entire Brevini Group. In many cases it is always going to be the best way to proceed. But our integrated system work has been increasing steadily over a number of years and we expect this trend to continue as industries all over the world strive for ever-greater efficiencies in all aspects of their work,” says Brown.
Brevini’s UK headquarters are located in Warrington, Cheshire, at the heart of the country’s motorway network. Its facilities include 900 m2 of office space, manufacturing and warehousing for the Brevini products in Warrington and 800 m2 of office and manufacturing space for mechanical engineering company PIV Drives’ helical products in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.
Using advanced software, Brevini’s engineers are able to select gearbox units to last the machines’ total design life. The company’s UK stock of standard parts, owing to Brevini’s modular construction, allows for short lead times for a larger number of variants and sizes.