Material Handling


Material Handling has a presence in nearly every industrial process, as it consists of moving products through manufacturing, distribution, consumption and even disposal channels. Many of these material handling processes are driven by AC drives. Bonitron has numerous products specially designed to enhance AC drive and process reliability to maximize uptime and profit for your applications.

How are cranes and hoists used?

Cranes and hoists are used throughout the material handling industry to lift heavy objects. Cranes and hoists can be used for loading or unloading, or moving heavy objects within a factory. A motor connected to a load will be either "motoring" or "overhauling". A motoring motor is converting electrical energy into mechanical energy to move the load. An overhauling motor is being driven by the load and is converting mechanical energy in to electricity, acting as a generator.

Motoring vs Overhauling
Overhead Crane

An overhauling load is creating power that, if left alone, could potentially cause an overvoltage fault in the drive. If this happens the motor will be out of control potentially damaging the equipment being run by the motor. The overvoltage fault can be avoided by implementing either a dynamic brake or a regenerative brake. A dynamic brake or "chopper" uses transistors and resistors to dissipate the excess energy. A regenerative brake channels the energy back onto the utility grid or into a common DC Bus where it can be used by other motors.

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Motoring vs Overhauling

Elevators are essential in moving goods and people in a multi-story facility. Two common types of elevators are traction elevators and rack and pinion elevators. Traction elevators are the most common and rely on cables connecting the elevator car with counterweights over a pulley that is driven by a motor. Rack and pinion elevators have the motor on the car, and it drives a pinion gear which moves the elevator along a rail.

Rack & Pinion Elevator
Elevator Doors
Elevator Traction Cables

Pick and place systems, also known as P&P's, are used to move items from one conveyor to another, to precisely locate an item for a process, or to package a finished product. There are multiple types of pick and place systems that vary in the speed at which they operate and the loads that they can handle.

  • Delta style robot arms - high speed, light load
  • SCARA type arms - medium speed, medium load
  • Multi-axis articulated robot arms - lower speed, heavier load

Regardless of the type of pick and place machine, it will require multiple motors that need to be able to start and stop quickly. Bonitron common bus solutions allow the power generated by braking motors to power other motors on the common bus. Another option would be dissipating the power with a line regen that returns to power to the AC line, or a transistor/resistor brake that dissipates energy through heat.

Multi-axis Robot Arm

A common bus can be created with either a common bus power supply or common bus diodes. See our Common Bus page or the Product Schematic tab for more information on common bus solutions.

Common Bus Schematic

DC Bus Braking

Braking Options

Braking Options

Maximizing Efficiency in Conveyor Systems: Exploring Regen Units and Energy Management

Conveyors are an essential part of the material handling industry. A well designed conveyor system can quickly and efficiently distribute product through a process.

Some conveyors are required to stop and start quickly. This process lends itself to the use of a regen unit so that the energy generated when braking the motor can be used to move it again. If multiple start-stop motors are running, a common DC bus would allow the motors to share power as some were braking and some were accelerating.

A downhill conveyor will generate a constant overhauling load and will need a brake of some kind. A regen unit would capture the generated power and put it back on the AC line while a transistor and resistor combination would dissipate the energy as heat.


Common Bus Schematic

DC Bus Braking

Braking Options

Braking Options

What are palletizers?

Palletizers are automated machines used to stack goods on a pallet for shipping. There are many styles of palletizers, including:

  • Row Forming - Product is arranged into rows on the conveyor before being moved onto the pallet.
  • In-line - Product is directed to its spot on the pallet directly from the conveyor.
  • Robotice - A robot arm places the product at its location on the pallet.

All move with great speed and precision. This high speed and constant start-stop movement creates a need for regenerative energy control, something Bonitron has specialized in for decades.

Case Palletizer Robotic Palletizer

It's common for multiple drives to be used in one palletizer application, however there's no need for each drive to have its own braking solution. Common bus power supplies or diodes allow you to easily create a common DC bus to reduce the need for excess components, reducing cost and required space. See our Common Bus page or the Product Schematic tab to learn more.

Common Bus Schematic

DC Bus Braking

Braking Options

Braking Options

Common Bus Power Supply

M3712, M3713

The Common Bus Power Supply can reduce the amount of wiring as well as the number of components in a system by allowing drives to share a brake or a RideThru over a common DC bus. The M3712 creates a common DC bus from single-phase power, while the M3713 runs off of 3-phase power.

Common Bus Sharing Diodes


Common Bus Sharing Diodes create a two-way flow of power . This allows for shared power between drives as well as shared components on the DC bus while preventing potentially damaging circulating currents between drives.

Common Bus Power Supply Schematic Sharing Diodes Schematic

Common Bus Isolation Diodes


Common Bus Isolation Diodes only allow a one-way flow of power, completely isolating the drives from each other and preventing circulating currents, while creating a common DC bus to share components. The M3460D allows power to flow to the drives from an Uninterruptible Power for Drives System connected to the DC bus.

Common Bus Diodes Schematic

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