Case Study


Matrix International


Burnishing Rig – Brake Conditioning Machine

ImageMatrix International


Developing innovative new products, helping our clients streamline their production cycle – it’s all in a day’s work at Finesse Control Systems.

One of our local clients based in Brechin, Matrix International, approached us with an exciting challenge to solve for them.

The Problem

Matrix International, a leading designer and manufacturer of electromagnetic clutches and brakes used in forklift trucks and servo motors, were losing time and money on lengthy processes conditioning brake discs, armatures and end plates prior to assembly into a brake.

They needed a machine that would allow them to tighten process tolerances and as a result improve quality control, reduce rework and hence save costs by increasing efficiency, which is a must in any business!

The machine would allow these brake discs, armatures and end plates to be conditioned as one unit, enabling consistent, excellent quality through increased levels of repeatability and accuracy.

The Solution

A defined remit was set: a cost-effective, compact machine that would allow for a vast array of different brake assemblies to be conditioned under differing forces, with the added challenge of incorporating a particulate filtration system within the machine footprint.

the concept


​Concept work began with a preliminary design being presented to Matrix International using 3D CAD modelling to demonstrate the versatility and performance of the proposed machine that would meet their requirements.

The Design

With electrical and mechanical engineers working closely side-by-side, high levels of controllability, safety and ergonomics were built in throughout. A wide force range was required to apply the brake components, from as little as 10N (1kg) to 1800N (184kg) for conditioning different types of brakes. To achieve this, two pneumatic cylinders were employed with accurate control of each being vital to ensure the specified accuracy over the range. Proportional control of the pneumatic pressure was achieved by using feedback from a load cell and PID closed loop control programmed using Siemens TIA Portal V14 Software and utilising a 1510SP PLC & ET200SP I/O to keep the system as compact as possible.​

Once the brake was applied, the friction disc needed to be rotated and in order to achieve the required profile of acceleration and deceleration over a number of cycles in different directions, a powerful yet compact high inertia Siemens Simotics S-1FL6 servomotor was selected. A Siemens menu-driven TP900 Comfort touch screen was provided to allow the operator to select the appropriate pre-programmed pressures and rotational profiles for each different variety of brake.

Size constraints and the desire to achieve a fully self-contained machine which could be easily relocated meant clever packaging was required throughout. Integrating an HSE compliant dust extraction and filtering system into the footprint was a key challenge in addition to pneumatic and electric controls. Detailed design and mechanical analysis was completed at each stage, ensuring every component was not only suitable, but would also allow for accessibility for maintenance.

Utilising polycarbonate safety guarding enables visibility of all moving parts while ensuring hazards are isolated from the operator. Safety interlocks via inherent safety features of the Siemens Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and V90 servo drive were used to avoid access to moving parts while the machine is in operation.

“This was a challenge; however, we could see the potential benefits and importance to the client. It meant a lot to us to be able to solve their problems so we were willing to do whatever it took.”

Finesse Design Team

The Result

Following delivery and validation, the Matrix team were delighted with the whole process and satisfied with the end results – a brilliant success for Finesse Control Systems. The machine allowed Matrix International all the versatility they required, while doing so on a safe and ergonomic machine. The value of the machine was further proven when its test results were used to refine the process parameters on another production line.

​Developing a ground-up product will always require a can-do attitude and the drive to overcome challenges – both of which are at the very heart of Finesse Control Systems’ culture.

Key Summary

  • High levels of controllability, safety and ergonomics built into machine design.
  • Clever packaging for self-containment and easy relocation.
  • Siemens menu-driven TP900 Comfort Touch screen for easy programming selection.
  • Health and Safety Executive compliant dust extraction and filtering system included.
  • Use of polycarbonate safety guarding to ensure visibility of all moving parts and safety interlocks to deny access whilst the machine is in operation.
  • Developed machine provides a safe, efficient, and accurate process for conditioning brake discs, armatures and end plates prior to assembly into a brake, saving the client time and money.

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