Case Study: Transfer Press Line Motor

and Controller Replacement




A Customer had a transfer press motor that had outlived its life. It did its job well but it used outdated technology that was past its life expectancy. A decision had to be made to make a like for like replacement or change to a more modern solution. ONYX was engaged to come up with a direction to replace motor and controller that was both economical and would be the right choice going forward.



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The Problem

A transfer press stamping line had an older DC main motor that was past life expectancy. A direct motor replacement was not available but DC motors can still be sourced. DC motors require frequent maintenance to service brushes but had been the state of the art when the original press was installed. There was not a direct replacement in form factor so changes needed to be made regardless of the direction. The line was fully utilized and there was very little time available for modifications. The customer also wanted a system that was easier to maintain and would be serviced and supported for the foreseeable future.

The Solution

ONYX Engineering provided an engineered solution that replace the DC motor with a synchronous AC motor and variable frequency drive panel system that could match the motor performance of their older DC motor with better flexibility and MTTR. Since the motor shafts were dissimilar, a custom belt pulley needed to be manufactured to mate with the multi-belt arrangement that coupled to the flywheel. An engineered adapter plate was also designed so that the shaft height matched the existing arrangement. A variable frequency drive panel was provided with new cable runs and encoder feedback to regulate speed. Drive performance and speeds were matched with previous DC drive decreasing time required for commissioning. A newer ethernet interface was designed and integrated with the updated PLC controls and operator interface. The entire changeover and commissioning activities were performed over the Christmas shutdown period of 5 days. Production resumed at the normal scheduled time with no impact on production.

The Results

The Motor and drive replacements increased the usability and efficiency of the existing equipment. It provides trouble-free operation of the presses and an updated stock of components which should provide worry free operation of the main motor on the press for the foreseeable future. All of this was achieved on schedule and within budget with little or no impact on production.

Project Details








Major Automotive Manufacturer


1 - Project Manager
2 - Controls Engineers
4 - Manufacturing
10 - Skilled Trades



Services Provided

Control engineering and design

Panel fabrication to UL508A

PLC programming 

Drive Programming 

Installation Services

Start-up and commissioning



Siemens G150 Variable Frequency Drive

Siemens 1PH8 Series motor

Siemens S7 Series Programmable Controller

Rockwell Controllogix Programmable Controller

Siemens WINCC based HMI