Many efficiency experts recommend managers should focus on small improvements in their processes that will yield the greatest return on the investment. This advice seems targeted at the challenges faced by many block and paver producers. With many plants operating at less than full capacity, major projects are not very feasible. Yet managers know it’s important to keep improving.
When considering these incremental improvements, managers often review many factors. Their considerations include how the project will: increase operational efficiency and plant safety; impact existing process controls from plant downtime for installation; reduce maintenance; and improve product quality.
In late 2013, Besser Co., an Alpena, Mich.-based manufacturer of concrete plant equipment, launched a revolutionary upgrade for CAM machines. Besser calls its patent-pending machine upgrade technology Advanced Servo Vibration (ASV). ASV is a turnkey package available for CAM machines, such as currently Vibrapacs, Dynapacs, Ultrapacs, and Superpacs models.
Engineers developed the ASV in response to their customers’ requests. Producers had inquired about a cost-effective upgrade for their older production units’ capability to match features found on newer machines. AVS regenerates a producer’s older production unit to current standard operating procedures, without the major capital investment of a new machine.
When upgrading to the AVS system, producers can count on increased reliability, and in turn greater productivity. The AVS upgrade process replaces the block machine’s original mechanical components of clutch and brake with an all-electronic operation. With AVS, machine operators will find adjustments during the operation easier because there are no sheaves or belts to adjust or maintain. Producers also say mold changes are quicker. For example, during a mold change, plant workers first decouple AVS unit’s two arms and swing them outward for full access to the molds.
The AVS system is designed for easy installation. In most circumstances the change out requires about one shift of downtime. Besser engineers have designed the retrofit to be a bolt-together solution. All the ASV components, including mounting hardware, are fastened to the CAM machine’s existing frame. The installing mechanic connects the system’s servo motors to the vibrator using quick disconnect flexible couplings. The system does require the addition of a control junction box near the machine’s controller.
The AVS upgrade results in reduced operating expenses. The new assemblage minimizes wear points by using easy-to-repair rubber-disc couplings, a bolt-in key, and spider coupling in the drive box. Doug Krentz, a Besser mechanical engineer, presented a webinar on the AVS system for the National Concrete Masonry Association’s ICON-Xchange where he reported factory testing of the AVS unit has exceeded 350,000 cycles on the system running in the Besser plant without any failures.
Along with easier mold change, the AVS control system should improve mold life. During starts and stops, the ASV upgrade provides a fully synchronized control between motors on the machine that concentrates more vertical vibration eliminating left-right counter movements.
Other plant efficiencies include eliminating compressed air to operate the machine. In some circumstances, the ASV system has reduced a producer’s energy consumption due to better operator control.
Here is a video of the ASV turnkey package:
To learn more about Besser’s ASV system, visit www.besser.com. Rick Yelton is editor at large at World of Concrete-Informa Exhibitions and is the former editor in chief of TCP. E-mail [email protected].