By Fraser Lynch, Technical Manager
Our engineers came up with an innovative solution when they were presented with a paint-stirring machine that could run at only one speed.
The machine's owners needed to diversify their paint offering, but the bespoke, single-phase agitator was not up to the job. A cost-effective way was required to upgrade the unit to run at variable speeds to reduce over-agitation of certain paints and to increase it for others.
Electrical engineer Adam Daffern, supported by our workshop manager Steve Ormondroyd, proposed an engineering solution, pictured above.
As single-phase motors have limited and expensive vsd controls, a progressive output three-phase motor and single to three-phase IP66 inverter from Invertek was offered. The existing gearbox was retained as it was perfectly serviceable.
The customer was delighted with this neat and effective solution and was able to adapt to present and future requirements with only 24 hours of down time.
By Steve Ormondroyd, Workshop Manager
The electric motor, top left, from which water is pouring, was located in a pit under a machine in a dye house and hadn’t run for years.
The customer wanted to start using the machine again, so the motor was switched on and ran for around half an hour. The emergency stop button was only pressed when someone reported water splashing out of the terminal box.
It turns out the motor had been flooded at some stage and nobody had noticed. How the windings didn’t blow amazes me.
When tested, the windings were in excellent condition, passing all our electrical tests with flying colours as if it had come out of the factory yesterday.
We also balanced the rotor, fitted new bearings and gave the motor a final test run before giving it a fresh coat of paint and returning it to the customer.
This was the state of the motor (right) we received for repair from a Yorkshire textile dyeing company.
The corrosion was so severe that the nameplate had long since disintegrated, meaning further investigation was required.
But this was no simple stripping down. Our engineers needed to grind it apart in order to access the stator windings as all the nuts and bolts were seized.
One challenge was to establish the speed at which the motor operated. To do this, our rewinder had to look at the winding and use his years of experience to recognise the coil layout and certain other particulars.
He quickly established beyond doubt it was a four-pole motor (1500RPM). The completed job, with new motor and pulley, was then returned to a satisfied customer.
Engineers at Westin Drives are a bright, resourceful bunch. When our service centre required a new winding machine, they sat down to design and manufacture one.
The need to replace our two old machines was driven by a desire to improve efficiency and keep up with the latest standards. And the process brought together a variety of in-house disciplines.
Workshop manager Steve Ormondroyd was in charge of the overall design and build and our technical services team devised and built the control.
Richard Bruffell sourced the new motor and gearbox and our machining department made the coupling. In fact, the only element to be outsourced was the fabrication of the framework.
The machine has two winding heads and can measure the speed of rotation and the number of turns on a coil. Advantages to our team – and therefore our customers – include quicker set up and greater flexibility. For example, we can now wind motors up to 1,000kW.
The sign says 'small repairs' but this was a big one, even for the Westin Drives in-house Hair Salon and Nail Bar.
Hair among our workshop team is generally kept short and tidy, but keen-eyed workshop manager Steve Ormondroyd spotted an exception.
The locks of apprentice repair engineer Jason Kilner were nearly touching the floor. And that would not do.
So Steve – who denies he trained for a time as a beautician – opened his tool kit and took out his clippers.
Soon, a series of long brutal strokes along the fringe and the sides of Jason's head signalled the revival of the Mullet style, widely sported in the 1970s and 1980s by celebrities who should have know better.
Jason says: "The haircut took about 15 - 20 minutes and although it was Steve's first time I think it was a pretty good attempt."
However, after a week – and in a cruel cut to Steve and his handiwork – the mullet was no more. "He was a bit upset when I got my mum to shave it off," says Jason, whose reaction to the new look is seen below.
Several of our young engineers have trained at Huddersfield College’s specialist engineering centre and we are pleased to see our partnership acknowledged with a wall plaque.
The centre, which opened in 2012, is renowned for its high level of teaching and for excellent facilities which include maintenance, fabrication, CNC and mechanical workshops.
After 40 years' service, the spindle motor on the thread grinding machine at Westin Engineering was showing signs of failure with increased vibration.
As the finish quality of ground components was at risk, the engineers consulted the team at Westin Drives.
The motor was removed from the machine and inspected at our service centre, where it was found the aluminium inside the bearing housings had begun to perish.
Given the extent of the wear and age of the now obsolete unit, a repair was not economically viable and the decision was taken to retrofit the motor.
A WEG electric motor was taken from stock and a new SKF taper lock pulley fitted.
As the motor was much smaller and more compact than the original, an aluminium mounting plate was drafted up and machined on Westin Engineering's milling machine.
The replacement high-efficiency motor ran perfectly first time.
Our aim at Westin Drives is to optimise our processes to give customers accurate information about progress on their jobs.
To enhance our service, we have collaborated with the providers of our management system to develop Workshop Routing, a software tool that runs on Android tablets.
It enables shop floor engineers to enter data into the service system to generate customer reports and display the progress of repairs in real time.
Each stage of a repair is included, from booking-in to completion, via bespoke e-forms that feature mandatory and free-text fields. Many of these fields feature drop-down menus for simpler completion. In addition, supplementary information, observations and photographs may be entered.
Customers often require a detailed inspection report to help decide whether a repair is worth carrying out.
Workshop Routing provides this at the touch of a button, and the report can be printed or emailed to customers.
Similarly, the documented repair process can be sent on return of the item. All reports are saved against the job should future reference be required.
The system also incorporates a visual management screen that displays the status of each job and assists us to manage daily workflow and supply customers with accurate progress updates if they enquire.
Engineer Dean Swann operates the new Torrent high-pressure parts cleaner in our Service Centre
Engineers at Westin Drives aim to return repaired items in an excellent condition – and usually cleaner than when they arrived.
The thorough cleaning of mechanical parts to remove grease or carbon deposits prior to repair ensures effective and safe performance.
If a motor is not cleaned thoroughly, for example, a residue of carbon dust could cause internal sparking or a short circuit. So our deep cleaning also prolongs the life of repaired jobs.
Our previous method of scrubbing parts by hand was overtaken this week by investment in a Torrent high-pressure parts cleaner.
Components up to 50kg in weight are placed in the machine’s enclosure and pressure-sprayed with detergent by a protected operator. Parts up to 65×40×40 cm can be cleaned comfortably and accessibly.
Even the most heavily soiled items – from bearing caps and gear boxes to pump interiors and brush holders – emerge looking like new.
Workshop manager Steve Ormondroyd says: "For our customers, the new machine offers a quicker and more effective cleaning service."
Ready to go: two test rig drive motors from a large, local engineering company which were sent to Westin Drives for overhaul and service. Work by our engineers included the provision of new bearings and carbon brushes and skimming of the commutators. After the motors were painted and balanced, they were given a thorough test run and approved for dispatch.