Machine Tapping Large Bore Nuts with Torque Monitor & Control

Our customers frequently ask for our advice to improve operations and 30% increase in shift production for a tapping operation.

The original machine used reversing motor contactors to electrically reverse the spindle motor for tapping, then reversing out of the tapped part.  This allowed the motor to draw peak current, on each start of the motor. There was no limiting of monitoring of the motor current/torque as the tap became dull.

Sharpening the tap is inexpensive compared to the cost of a brand new tap. A broken tap would force lost production while the tap was removed from the part.

In our design, we selected three methods of motor control.

  1. Ramp accel/decel of the motor/spindle
  2. Limit the maximum torque supplied to the motor
  3. Monitor the actual current draw of the motor
  4. Controlling the accel/decel through the VFD (variable frequency drive) dramatically reduced the motor heating on forward/reverse transitions.  It also eliminated the slamming of the reversing motion.

Controlling the current/torque limit has several advantages:

  1. Stop the motor, if necessary, before a tap breaks,
  2. Eliminate the slug of energy, which shortened life of the other machine components.
  3. Monitoring the current/torque allowed the operator to be alerted that the tap life was nearly completed. The operator would replace the tap with a sharp tap and continue operation,

Performance and Cost Benefits

  1. Eliminate cost of Broken taps
  2. Eliminate downtime of broken taps in parts
  3. Improve operators skill with dull tap alert

Candy Cane Packaging: Two Axis Servo ‘registration control’ Retrofit


Shrink Wrap Registration

Horizontal film packaging requires the packaging material to be coordinated and “registered” to the material movement through the sealing machine.  Improper registration would cause the wrapper to cut and sealed without  the lable being properly centered on the package.

This mechanical machine was not originally capable of registration.  The addition of a line shaft encoder, a film tension servo and candy belt drive servo gives this machine new registration capabilities.

This software system was designed installed and debugged in less than one week, using the Kollmorgan KAS platform, with PDMM servo control, AKD Drives and AKM servo motors.

Pharmaceutical Plant Wide Production Monitoring

Kane Engineering partnered with Business Intellegence Solutions. LLC of Zeeland Michigan to supply a plant wide prodcution monitoring solutions. With over 50 Machines and camera inspection systems reporting to a single central server, this information was concentrated to provide a wide variety of information.

Large flat panel monitors display the status of production systems. Reports are automatically generated for production meetings. Unscheduled downtime and alarms conditions are immediately reported, as necessary to the appropriate departments and persons.

Cellular Modem Control System for Remote Water Treatment

This remote Water Treatment Station is so remote, it is run with generators. The SixNet cellular modem sends and email report in the event of a fault condition.

Cellular Router from Red Lion/SixNet

At the top of each hour, the status, including rates and volumes is recorded to a CSV file. A new file is started at the first day of each month.

Faults and Hourly Report

Cellular Access to Pump System

Guitar String Winder – Manufacturing

Four Wound Guitar Strings

Guitar Strings are wound, with a core wire at the center. Any small variation in the diameter of the wound string may cause the sound of the string to be dull or unacceptable.

Kane Engineering designed a special control program to monitor and adapt to changes in the wound string.

The servo controlled winder system allows single or multiple wraps on the core string for nearly any standard of custom designed guitar.

EDM (Electro-Discharge Machine) Process Monitor

Our customer produces precision parts for engine control systems. In this processing, multiple parts are machined in tandem through an EMD process.  If there is a problem with the anode or cathode, a defective component may be released to the customer.

We designed a process method, using high speed instrumentation, to monitor the EDM waveform. This instrumentation was added to the existing EDM control and PLC, with very little interuption to the operation.

 The main machine is monitored with a Red Lion HMI/gateway communicating to industrial computers running National Instruments Labview application.  When a fault occurs, the operator is alerted to a potential problem condition.  This prevents improperly machine components from passing through the system.

Plastic Extrusion Controls

Plastic Conduit is wound to a steel reel over seven feet in diameter. The final product is conduit for buried underground wiring and fiber optic cable. Our customer requested a system to control the side-to-side bobbin winding for even layers of material.

Design of the system includes, light curtain height sensor for speed loop control of the winder reel speed with a high perfomance vector variable speed AC Drive.  The rotation of the reel is electronically geared to move a servo drive ball screw to guide the conduit to the reel.

Pull/Push Pneumatic Force – Test Stand Control System

Unitronics with Load Cell and Amplifier


Performance Testing of Allendale, Michigan does cycle and stress testing of manufactured products. They had been using a solution with a low cost PLC and load cell system, including a analog load cell amplifier.

The program and touch screen interface make the system easy to set up, and effective for checking the test status.

Or solution was much more robust, combining a Touch screen, PLC and high resolution (24-bit) into a single control.


See a YouTube video for more information:

PLC and HMI – combined in one control

Many controls manufactures are combining HMI operator stations with PLC in a single package solution.
This solution is very attractive for reasons that may not initially be obvious. Consider how large ware house controls system were designed in the 1980’s. These were the days of large centralized control systems. It was just easier to work with a single control program than with the headaches of programming multiple processors.

It is much easier today to place the PLC in smaller zones in a centralized control solution. Ethernet communication has made it easy to monitor and program distributed small control systems. Part counters, rate meters, temperature sensors are now smart devices, fully networked to the factory network.

There is an important advantage to many of these small HMI/PLC solutions. Most of these control platforms support SD (solid state) of CF (compact flash) for operating system and program backup. In the event a control fails, it is only necessary to place the memory storage in the new control and power up the system.

Data Highway Plus Conversion allows partial retrofit of equipment

The Data Highway Plus is a legacy communication system, very popular with PLC5  processor systems.  There are many older machine systems that will eventually updated to CompactLogix and ControlLogix processors.

The retrofit process is easier and less costly when the systems are installed in phases.  The challenge we found was to locate a conversion method to phase out the original Xycom HMI computer and Wonderware software.

We have found the Red Lion HMI, with the very flexible programming language, to be a great replacement for the Xycom.

Because Data Highway Plus is no longer popular, it was difficult to locate communication convertor.  The Data Highway Plus to DF1 convertor from Datalink Technologies Gateways, Inc  is a great solution and economically priced.