The Powerplus prototype on test at ingenio El Angel, El Salvador in 2002. SEW/Metso Drive gearbox and WEG electric motor.
The first Powerplus actually sold, installed at Ingenio El Carmen, S.A. de C.V.m Mexico in 2003. Brevini gearbox and WEG electric motor.
First Powerplus application in Brazil, at Usina Coruripe, by Uni-systems in 2004. SEW/Metso Drive gearbox and WEG electric motor.
In 2001 Uni-systems began the development of the "PowerPlus", a new application that soon became one of the most important technological breakthrough for the modern sugar industry worldwide.
The sugar industry was passing through a phase of expansion and most of the factories needed to increase their crushing capacity. They needed more power in their mill tandem transmission sets and they had to do it with a narrow budget.
The concept behind the PowerPlus was to have individual roll shaft drive units, which could be installed, where and when needed on one or more mill rolls, thus delivering additional power to the mill shafts. As each roll absorbs a certain percent of the total consumed power, the Powerplus could allow an increase in throughput of the mill tandem without replacing the complete power train, therefore with a much smaller investment. Also the concept of a shaft mounted gearbox would avoid the need of reinforcing the concrete foundations, another remarkable saving.
The use of single drives in each mill roll could also bring other advantages. As the speed of each roll could be controlled, differential rotation among the rolls (feed, top and dicharge rolls) could improve the mill feeding, resulting in more extraction or reducing the bagasse moisture , again higher extraction and more efficiency in steam generation. In other terms the Power Plus could be installed simply on the cane or bagasse roll, as assist drive, or several units could be installed on different shafts, working at different speed as each application require.
The base mounted PowerPlus version could also be used as single mill drive couple to the top shaft, thus replacing the conventional mill transmissions consisting of expensive, high maintenance and inefficient heavy duty gearboxes normally using two or three stages to reduce the rotation from the rpm of the driving machine down to that of the top roll mill shaft. The use of the base mounted PowerPLus could also reduce the concrete works as well as installation and maintenance costs.
The first PowerPlus was conceived as an economic, efficient and reliable shaft mounted epicyclical gearbox powered by electric motor and variable frequency drive. SEW / Metso Drives, GmbH of Germany partnered with Uni-systems providing the gearbox and WEG delivered the motor and the VFD for the prototype.
The prototype with 250 HP capacity, 1:278.72 reduction ratio, output shaft torque of 492 kNm, was installed in 2002 at Ingenio El Angel, S.A. de C.V. in El Salvador, to drive the 5th mill cane roll. The unit was tested during the entire 2002 season.
Because of the outstanding results obtained, two additional units were ordered and installed for the following season and two more where installed in 2004, completing the set of 5 assist drives for the 5 x 4-roll mills.
In 2003 two PowerPlus were installed at Ingenio El Carmen, S.A. de C.V., in Mexico. Each unit consisted of one Brevini planetary gearbox Mod. PDL722N/SD340 H / B3D with 485 kNm nominal torque and one WEG, 150 HP electric motor and VFD. Both units were mounted on the cane roll shafts.
In 2004 one PowerPlus was installed at Usina Coruripe, Iturama unit, in Brazil. This set consisted of one 500 HP SEW / METSO planetary gearbox, with nominal maximum torque of 893,630 KNm. WEG, 500 HP electric motor and VFD. The gearbox was mounted on the bagasse roll shaft.
In 2006 after four seasons of testing, Uni-systems began commercializing the PowerPlus both in Brazil and in South America. In 2007 Uni-systems enter into a cooperation agreement with TGM for the manufacture and commercialization of the Uni-systems' planetary application in the sugar and alcohol industries.
In a few years, after the first PowerPlus was released for commercial use, almost 2,000 units have been successfully installed and almost all notable gearing manufactures are today offering this technologican breakthrough as an alternative to conventional gear trains.
Uni-systems commercializes the original PowerPlus concept, offering technological support in the selection of commercially proven gearboxs for each specific application .