NORWOOD, Ohio — With its celebration of more than 120 years in business, Siemens’ Norwood Motor Manufacturing plant recently opened a new Test Observatory.
Opened in 1898, the Norwood facility, just outside of Cincinnati, has undergone a century of change, as the process to manufacture motors and the technology behind them has improved. Norwood has stood the test of time through three industrial revolutions, and is one of the longest continuously operating Siemens’ plants globally. With Industry 4.0 upon us, the mechanical motor of old is now a connected device, a valuable plant floor asset capable of providing vast amounts of data with preventative and predictive analytics to ensure more productivity, efficiency and uptime.
With the largest motor test base in North America, Siemens can combine its century of industry leadership in motor manufacturing with an enhanced customer experience. The new equipment extends Norwood’s testing range from 10,000 horsepower (HP) to 20,000 HP at frequencies from 10 Hz to 300 Hz, thus addressing the market’s increased use of variable frequency drives. The new test observatory, akin to an executive suite, allows customers to participate by observing testing through bay windows, direct cameras and mirroring computers, which display real time critical data being gathered by sensors attached to their motor.
The project, which began in 2016, required the removal of 550 tons of soil and concrete from the site, excavating a 13-foot deep hole, driving 114 pilings for stability and building a huge concrete vault to securely support a fully loaded test stand. The test stand weighs 360 tons and rests on a self-leveling air spring system designed to support 500 tons when loaded with motors and drives.
The testing equipment includes two Sinamics Perfect Harmony GH180 drives and two dynamometers. Generating power to test a 20,000 HP motor requires significant amounts of electricity, and by recycling power to the grid, the new equipment reduces power loss by 90 percent.
“At Norwood, we test every motor that we produce or repair – some 30 to 50 tests per week – and these new facilities give us the ability to conduct as many as five motor tests at a time.” said Tim Bleidorn, Manager, Manufacturing Excellence. “We expect the customer witness tests to average two to three per week and as many as 120 per year.”
In addition to the new test base and observatory, the multi-million dollar investment in Norwood also includes WFL high-precision shaft making equipment and a high-speed balancer, key for two-pole applications at higher speeds and the ability to balance a rotor at up to 12,000 rpm.
“It’s exciting and I’m proud that Siemens is investing in the North American market. We have the No. 1 market share in AboveNEMA motors right now and these new capabilities send a strong signal to our customers and competitors that we intend to maintain that position,” says Ryan Maynus, AboveNEMA Product Manager.