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The A-Z of Gibbons - K is for…

Kiln fan drive replacement

In the summer of 2015, we faced a challenging project revamping the drives system that controls three huge kiln fans at the Inverness plant of leading UK malt producer Bairds Malt.

Bairds Malt, a long-time Gibbons client, has a total annual production capacity of over a quarter of a million tonnes across its six malt houses in England and Scotland.

The equipment in question was a variable-speed drive connected to a kiln fan system used for drying malted barley, which had reached an age whereby parts could no longer be sourced.

Production demands meant Bairds were reliant on the kiln and could not afford for it to be out of operation unexpectedly and/or for an extended period, so they chose to upgrade the drive to a modern equivalent.

Gibbons took delivery of the 1,120 kW high-voltage low-harmonic ABB drive at our workshop in Essex, which at 3.5 metres long and weighing 3.5 tonnes was the largest we have ever handled.

The drive remained at our premises while engineers removed the internal modules in order to make the main unit lighter and easier to transport and install at the Bairds plant.

The tight layout of the Bairds site meant that the redundant drive had to be carefully removed by crane and hoisted over part of the plant, with the new ABB drive lifted in via the same route.

One final obstacle remained, however. Due to the size of the new drive, the plant room’s main door and timber frame were removed in order to create just enough clearance. A preliminary site visit meant that this was no surprise and had been included in the plan of action.

Once the careful operation had been carried out and the drive was in place, our engineers re-installed the modules before the whole system was tested and commissioned. Another successful job completed!

To find out more about our range of ABB drives and associated services, call Alan Roberts on 07966 468430 or email

Variable-Speed Drives

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