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HDO drives by Bonfiglioli Transmission

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Bonfiglioli Transmission HDO drives – which are now being assembled in Australia - were incorporated into geared motors to raise and lower the massive audience video screens, weighing over 50 tonnes. An advanced industrial drive typically used in Australasia to power heavy mining, manufacturing and materials handling equipment was put to a very different use during the recent world tour of the famous rock band U2.

Bonfiglioli supplied the robust drives technology to the UK based automation experts Kinesys, who designed and manufactured the bespoke motion control system that moves and shapes the 'transforming' 360° video screen used at the venues. The video screens are mounted in the middle of a giant 4-legged "claw" structure that sits centrally in the stadium, with the stage below, allowing the audience to surround it and offering superb sight lines from all angles.

The screens are moved up and down by 8 x 7.5 tonne winches, each driven by a Bonfiglioli HDP series gearbox and 37 Kw motor, speed controlled. These winches are capable of speeds of up to half a metre a second - although some of the moves involve travelling just 2m over 5 minutes, providing the very slow and smooth movement required. The specification called for very quiet operation, which the geared units were able to meet.

“The application brilliantly illustrates the versatility and reliability of the drives,” said Bonfiglioli Australasian Managing Director Mr Malcolm Lewis. The HD series is a totally new modular design from the ground up, which designed to be assembled remotely around the globe to customer requirements in industries such as mining, quarries, energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, materials handling, product processing, water and waste water applications.

Features of the HDO drives used include:

  • Bonfiglioli Transmissiion Australia has commissioned a complete assembly and testing line dedicated to HDP parallel shaft and HDO bevel helicals engineered for outstanding torque per dollar, high casing strength, long-life bearing technology and quieter, trouble-free operation
  • The new production and testing line in Sydney assemble gear drives from 14,000 – 125,000 Nm, cutting delivery times out of Europe by more than half
  • Introduction of the new line also facilitates quicker response to customer needs on customized drives for a broad range of high power applications, including conveyors and cranes
In the U2 application, the overall weight of the units was an important factor, along with requirement to fit the winch drum to the output. The Bonfiglioli HDP units supplied by Bonfiglioli UK were able to facilitate the use of the desired winch drum, due to the gearbox overall centre distances, without over sizing, and therefore minimising the weight. The complete winch weighed 2.5 tonnes, with the gearbox itself weighing over 1 tonne. The motors were supplied with “theatre” double brakes, hand release, and shaft extension for manual movement if needed.

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