Do It Yourself
Drive System Concept

The concept of “Do-It-Yourself” is you provide the mechanical parts and labor to connect a motor to your mechanism and TCD Systems provides a microprocessor based Synphase control card to synchronize your mechanism with other components of the production line. Because of Synphase’s flexibility, an exact reduction ratio between the motor and the mechanism is no longer required. As long as the motor is capable of rotating either fast enough or slow enough to run the altered mechanism at your desired production speed, Synphase can handle the synchronization.(1)

It is with respect to how the Synphase controller “knows” the production speed as to whether it is in the system mode or stand-alone mode. In the system mode, production speed is typed into a keyboard. In the stand-alone mode, the production speed is adjusted on a foreign mechanism and is relayed into the Synphase card using a proximity switch. All mechanical considerations are exactly the same for either mode of operation.

Some examples of the flexibility of Synphase would be:

  • Using a Synphase card, you can make your own stand-alone transfer wheel if desired.
  • Combining a gob distributor from a 10-section machine with the drum drive from a 6-section machine, make no changes to the gearing, and still produce ware.
  • Replace only a single worn out part in an otherwise usable drive train even if that part was special made to be used as a differential or had a non-standard reduction ratio. If the specific part is not easily available locally, choose one that is available and will keep the motor within its operating range. Synphase will adjust the motor RPM to accommodate the change.
  • Further, because it is no longer necessary to run all motors at the same synchronous RPM, less expensive induction motors can be used while maintaining equal or better accuracy than synchronous motors.
  • As a side benefit, the possibility of the electronic gearing of a flex line is availableand the “A/B change gear” problem can be addressed in software.(2)

By way of example, consider an IS machine that is to be upgraded from scoop operation to a gob distributor. The drive shafts, reducer, and differential are not on the present machine, nor are they available with the used gob distributor that you just purchased. Not a problem.

  1. First determine production speeds – say 25 to 120 shear cuts per minute. For a six-section machine, that requires the gob distributor cam to rotate 4 to 20 times per minute. Further, select a standard 4-pole induction motor and controller. With setting adjustments, this motor is capable of running 300 to 2500 RPM.
  2. Next determine how they will be connected. Connecting the motor to the gob distributor cam with a 75:1 overall reduction ratio will produce satisfactory results using the lower speeds of the motor, while using a 125:1 overall reduction ratio will produce satisfactory results using the higher speeds of the motor. As the Maul style gob distributor has an internal 5:1 ratio, select a 15:1, 20:1, or 25:1 gearbox to make the connection. The Emhart gob distributor has an internal 60:1 reducer, so it can be connected to the motor using timing belts and pulleys. Select a pair of pulleys to provide between a 4:5 and a 1:2.08 further reduction ratio.
  3. Finally, decide where to place the parts and what means will be used to mechanically interconnect the pieces.

A Synphase controller connected to the inverter input will take care of adjusting speed as necessary to synchronize with other mechanisms of the production line no matter what mechanical components you have selected.


(1) Older design concepts required all motors to run at exactly the same RPM. As a result, the ratios selected for reduction between the motor and the mechanisms were not arbitrary. Any change of production requirements specific to only one mechanism of the system necessitated a reduction ratio change for that mechanism. The most common method used was to maintain an inventory of specific gears and refer to a list of “A/B” change gears provided by the machine manufacturer.

(2) It was the vast increase in computational power and greatly reduced cost of electronics between 1970 and 1980 that allowed the Synphase drive to use the reverse approach. In the Synphase system, the reduction between the motor and the mechanism is arbitrary instead of specific and coordination between the various mechanisms is accomplished using a microprocessor to change the motor RPM as necessary. Depending upon the reductions chosen, all motors may be running at the same RPM, or all motors may be running at different RPMs, or some combination may exist.

A specific example would be the main conveyor. Changing from 10-½ inch spacing to 13-7/8 inch spacing only requires entering the number 13.875 into the Synphase controller to replace the previous setting of 10.5 inches. Likewise, running the conveyor with a 14.207 inch step only requires typing that number into the Synphase controller, not scrambling to figure new A/B change gears required to attain that speed.

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