Season 3 Challenges

OPENED ON: 13 OCT 2017  |  CLOSED ON: 13 JAN 2018  |  REWARD: INR 3,00,000
Reward money is paid in exchange of legally acquiring the solution, implementing it to solve the problem and meeting the success criteria. Milestones for paying the reward money would depend upon the complexity of challenge and maturity of the proposed solution, which would be discussed with the solver as soon as the proposed solution is selected by us.

Short Description:

DC motors are used to drive the Rolls in cold rolling mills. One of the main reasons of their breakdown is the breaking of armature risers. Solutions are sought to mitigate these failures

Challenge Details

We produce Tinplated sheets by cold rolling followed by electrolytic tin plating. In the Cold Rolling Mill (CRM) the thickness of the coil is reduced to the desired specifications. CRM is a reversing mill in which the thickness of the coil is reduced through multiple passes. In this mill there are:

  • Two Work Rolls at the center
  • Two Intermediate Rolls on the sides
  • Two Back Rolls at the extreme front and back.

The function of these rolls is:

  • Work Rolls - They are used to move the sheet back and forth
  • Intermediate Rolls - They have a continuous variable crown which is used to control the shape of the coils
  • Back Rolls - They are engaged to apply pressure on the sheet being rolled

Typically coil with an input thickness ranging from 1.6mm to 3.2mm is reduced to a thickness in the range of 0.18mm-0.32mm in this mill. A coil is passed 6 to 7 times through these rolls to get the desired reduction in the thickness. Basic rolling takes place by putting the sheet in tension by pulling it from both sides (reversing reel 1 & 2/ pay-off reel) and then applying roll force with the help of the back-up rolls.

The work rolls are driven by two motors, while the other roles i.e. intermediate rolls and backup rolls are friction driven as shown in fig 1.

These 2 motors called Mill Stand Motor # 1 and # 2 (termed as MSM-1 and MSM-2) are coupled and they together drive the Work Rolls through gear box (see fig 2). Both the motors are of same capacity, 1925 KW, for more details refer table 1.

There are 4 motors in total of which 2 are in continuous operation and 2 are kept as backup. When one gets damaged, it is replaced by a spare one. Breakdown of the motors happen because of many reasons like:

  • Stator and/or Armature faults resulting in the opening or shorting of one or more of a stator phase winding
  • Breakage of Risers
  • Abnormal connection of the stator windings
  • Broken rotor bar or cracked rotor end-rings
  • Static and/or dynamic air-gap irregularities
  • Bent shaft (akin to dynamic eccentricity) which can result in a rub between the rotor and stator, causing serious damage to stator core and windings
  • Shorted rotor field winding
  • Bearing and gearbox failures

We are able to identify and fix most of these problems except for the Riser failure faults,  which occur due to breaking of the risers. When this problem occurs, heavy electrical sparking under the carbon brushes starts and we are unable to run the motor. Hence, we have to stop the mill completely. This adversely affects our productivity.

We have tried many methods to identify the onset and prevention of the breakage of Risers like:>

  • electromagnetic field monitoring
  • temperature measurements
  • noise and vibration monitoring>
  • chemical analysis>

but none of these yielded good results. We are therefore, inviting solutions that will enable us to identify the onset and take corrective actions to prevent breakage of risers. We are also seeking solutions that will facilitate us to fix the broken risers in our motors permanently.

The solution must meet the following criteria:

  • Provide failure warning
  • Constantly update the health of the motors
  • No major modifications to the existing setup
  • Small footprint
  • Easy to integrate with the existing software and hardware
  • Low maintenance


Further information about the electrical configuration of motors, circuit breakers etc. is as below.

Both the motors (MSM-1 & MSM-2) are controlled by individual AVTRON DC Digital drive and converters. However, they work in Master-Slave configuration. MSM-1 drive acts as Master and MSM-2 as Slave. The picture of motors along with Tacho and other equipment is shown in the fig 2. Two high speed Circuit Breakers that are interlocked together, one for each drive, are used to trip the armature current, in case of over current. It means breakers of MSM-1 and MSM-2 drive pick up together (motorized) and if one trips or opens because of any reason, the other one also trips or opens.

To feed the armature of the motor, two converters are operated in parallel in order to cater to high current requirements of the motor. The armature converter firing is directly controlled and generated by AVTRON drive. Since it has to fire two parallel converters, a Pulse Distribution Amplifier is used which has one input and two outputs for each of the twelve pulses. It provides the amplification of the firing pulse. Isolation is provided by Pulse Transformer card which is provided before Gate-Cathode connection of each thyristor.

The Armature converters are fed from 6000 kVA Converter transformer with two Secondary windings – one connected to MSM-1 and another to MSM-2.  Two secondary windings belong to DY11 vector group i.e. one of the secondary is Delta connected and another Star connected. They have a phase difference of 30 degrees. The AC incoming to Armature converters are tapped and sent to Drive for sensing the incoming voltage, frequency and phase. Because of high voltage, the voltage is stepped down using synchronizing transformer (3 nos. – 1 no. in each phase) and then dropped further to around 2 Volts using feedback processing board which comprises of potential divider network.


To get information about the main components of a DC motor and their function you may refer to the following link:

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