State-of-the-art drives and motor power 200 year old farm machinery used to explain innovation in food production over the centuries. A farm in Cheshire, UK, is bringing 200 years of agricultural history to life for visitors using a 21st century motor and energy-efficient variable speed drives (VSDs).
ABB and its authorised value provider, Central Electrical, supported the Tatton Hall estate’s £1.3 million Field to Fork project by supplying an ABB motor and eight VSDs to run original farm machinery. They also overhauled and rewound existing motors from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, while providing motor and drive selection, installation and commissioning services.
Tatton Hall is an historic country estate, incorporating gardens, woodland and a working farm. A major part of Tatton Hall’s Field to Fork project is the restoration of the farm’s Victorian mill, which produced feed for the farm’s livestock using machinery such as grinders and crushers.
Previously run by water power, then steam and, finally, electricity, the grinders and crushers are now powered by eight ABB general purpose drives, rated from 2 kilowatt (kW) to 18.5 kW. The VSDs provide a ‘soft start’ which, together with running the mill machinery at lower speed, reduces excessive wear and extends the operating life of the machines.
The farm’s miller can use a mobile phone or iPad, connected remotely to the VSDs, to control the grinder and crusher motors to enable them to talk through the demonstrations at different speeds.
On the ground floor of the feed mill, a VSD is used to operate a hammer mill which crushes barley, wheat and oats into pig meal. On the first floor is a crushing and grinding machine for preparing cattle feed. Other VSDs run a winnower, a mixer and a sack hoist used to take heavy sacks up to the first floor storage room.
An ABB industrial drive is used to run a refurbished steam engine, which originally powered the other farm machines. The VSD solved a problem of excessive vibration during engine startup. This vibration threatened to damage the mill’s foundations. The VSD controls the engine’s motor and gear box to give a soft start, avoiding the vibrations.