What are the key developments in the new generation of SEW’s decentralised drives?

Tobias Nittel: Over the past 10 years, SEW has pioneered new levels of efficiency and reliability in baggage handling, reducing energy consumption, limiting noise and extending the service life of systems. This is due to our Movigear mechatronic drive system, which ensures stable and sustainable transport of bags within terminals by reducing the number of installed variants to reduce mechanical complexity, the potential for breakdowns, and the cost of repairs and spare parts.

Our consultations with operators have led us to develop measures to ensure a more efficient maintenance plan for each Movigear system, further limit unpredicted downtime and use the enhanced drive capabilities. The new SEW decentralised and mechatronic drive systems address this requirement by introducing a digital interface between the motor and frequency inverter (digital motor integration), which cuts down on electromechanical parts, as well as the latest technology in network interfaces. This allows the direct integration of each drive into higher-level networks and makes it possible to gather information on power consumption, use, temperature and operating hours in unprecedented detail. Specific information on service life for wear parts, belt slip or vibration will also be possible in the future.

This, combined with the benefits of the previous generation, SEW’s scalable motor technologies and the ability to either motor integrate or remote mount the inverter, ensures the new portfolio of systems are perfect for the baggage-handling demands of today, tomorrow and beyond.

How flexible are the new drive systems?

As the new system is based on the modular Movi-C automation platform, it has a remarkable degree of flexibility in all aspects of its operation. To start, interfacing the local system with higher-level controls is possible through everything from a simple binary control up to a high-performance, fully integrated Ethernet. SEW’s technology also makes it possible to develop infrastructure solutions for precise Ethernet control that don’t compromise on efficient strategies for installation and start-up time.

Similarly, the system allows a high degree of scalability in electromechanical design and performance, covering everything from a standard asynchronous motor or gearmotor, up to a high-performance direct drive or permanent-magnet, motor-based mechatronics application drive.

On top of that, it’s simple to put together a system for either motor-integrated or remote installation of the drive electronics without requiring different components. Operators can also customise their system with modules dealing with local motor operation, including local display of process values and drive status, for instance.

How do SEW’s systems contribute to energy and cost-efficiency?

The scalability of the Movi-C platform, and the way we have optimised the methods for sizing and selecting each part of an installation allows us to meet the customer demands for each project. We focus on the ideal way to use each component, thus minimising physical footprint and monetary cost. At the same time, the installed electrical power is optimised for real usage requirements. As such, secondary monetary and efficiency costs are also reduced.

How does SEW technology enable monitoring of operation data and predictive maintenance?

DriveRadar is our concept for providing an end-to-end digital operations map that gives customers a detailed insight into drive components, system solutions and processes. The aim of DriveRadar is to determine the status of products, machines and systems by using existing data that is collected by SEW systems during operation. Cutting-edge data analysis with machine learning can be used to accurately predict imminent damage by modelling a digital twin system. This means DriveRadar can prevent otherwise unforeseen failures and interferences in operation, detect wear and minimise downtime.

To be successful, DriveRadar requires the installation of smart and connected products able to collect the relevant information. The new Movi-C platform of decentralised drive systems is totally integrated and connected. Therefore, it’s one of the most important steps on the way to making baggagehandling systems more transparent and predictable, and, ultimately, optimising airport operations.