Choosing the best power pack for your portable rollformer is crucial, as it impacts the efficiency and usage of the machine. Understanding the variables between electric and gas power packs is key to making an informed purchase.
New Tech Machinery’s (NTM) Quick-Change Power Pack comes as either a gas engine or electric motor. Only NTM offers the Quick-Change Power Pack, which makes it easy for operators to switch from electric to gas power in a matter of minutes.
Part of the machine purchasing process at NTM includes choosing a power pack for your machine*. Our account managers will help you navigate the options, but before that, you should know the differences in power packs and how they can impact your machine’s performance. Making the right choice will help ensure your rollforming operation runs smoothly and at maximum potential.
In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the best power pack for your NTM rollformer. To help you figure it all out, we’ll deep-dive into:
- NTM roof and wall panel machines
- Gas power packs
- Electric power packs
- When to purchase a gas and an electric power pack
* Excluding the SSR MultiPro Jr., which uses 110V power.
NTM Roof and Wall Panel Machines
NTM portable rollformers fabricate quality customized panels on the job site. The benefits of running the machine on location include preserving the panels’ condition against scratching or damage due to transportation via truck, saving on high transportation fees, and producing less coil waste because each panel can be run to a specified length.
NTM portable rollformers can work for either in-plant or on-site fabricating. So, whether you plan to use your machine outdoors, indoors, or both, you’ll need an engine that fits your situation and intended use.
Gas Power Packs: Take Your Machine Anywhere
Gas engines offer the highest speeds, so they’re a good choice if your business runs chop-and-drops at job sites. You don’t need to think about connecting to a power source, so you can take it anywhere. Plus, the engine fits compactly onto the machine, making it much easier to deal with than an external generator.
- Independence: Gas power packs don’t need external power sources, making them ideal for on-site work, especially in remote locations.
- Portability: Their independence from power sources allows easy transportation. It doesn’t take up extra trailer space as it’s part of the rollformer.
- Speed: Gas engines typically offer the fastest panel production, a boon for large or urgent projects.
- Noise and emissions: Gas engines are louder and emit exhaust fumes, making them impractical for indoor use, as you’ll need to supply proper ventilation.
- Environmental concerns: The fumes also contribute to a larger carbon footprint.
Gas Power Pack Specifications:
For SSQ II MultiPro, SSH MultiPro, 5VC-5V Crimp, and BG7 Box Gutter: 16HP gas engine with speeds around 72-74 ft/min.
Electric Power Packs: Quiet and Clean
Electric motors prove the best in-plant option. They run much quieter than gas engines, and you don’t have gas fumes to deal with. Choosing the right option for your electric power pack is important. This next section lays out what you need to consider when choosing one.
- Quiet Operation: These engines are significantly quieter, ideal for plant use.
- Eco-friendly: With no exhaust, they’re perfect for indoor use and are more environmentally friendly.
- Power Source Dependence: They require a connection to a power source, which can limit mobility.
- Power Compatibility: The power source must match the machine’s amp draw, with higher voltages using fewer amps and lower voltages using more.
- Speed: Does not run panels as fast as a gas engine, except for the E-1 and E-4 7.5 HP electric motors.
Electric Power Pack Options: *
E-1: 3 Phase 7.5HP, 220V, 60Hz – ~72 ft/min
E-3: 3 Phase 5 HP, 380V, 50Hz – ~58 ft/min
E-4: 3 Phase 7.5 HP, 460V, 60Hz – ~72 ft/min
E-5: 1 Phase 5HP, 220V, 50Hz – ~40 ft/min
E-6: 1 Phase 5HP, 220V, 60Hz – ~48 ft/min
*50 Hz is used on most continents, including Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
60Hz is used in North America, part of South America, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. For a full list of frequencies by country, click here.
WAV Wall Panel Machine:
The WAV machine comes with either the 16 HP gas or 3 phase 460V electric power pack, or both. The lower voltage options are not available for the WAV.
Electrical Requirements and Rewiring Considerations
Owners must supply the appropriate power according to the electric power pack rating. So, for example, if you purchase a 460V, 3-phase electric power pack, you need to have 480V power as a power source where you’re operating the machine. Typically, industrial buildings are wired for 460V, whereas smaller structures and homes will be wired for 220V.
Some machine owners upgrade their plant’s electrical power to fit the machine, so if they buy a machine with a 460V motor, the fastest option for running panels, they’ll need to rewire their building to 460V to avoid overloading the circuits.
The cost of rewiring your plant or facility ranges, depending on a few factors. Here’s what to take into account:
- Labor Costs: The cost of electricians varies by location. Typically, electricians charge by the hour, and depending on the size of the building, multiple electricians over several days or weeks. If you’re rewiring a 5,000 sq ft building, the cost will look much different than for a 20,000 sq ft plant.
- Materials: This includes the cost of new voltage-rated wiring, panels, circuit breakers, outlets, and possibly transformers or other equipment to handle the higher voltage. The quality and type of materials used will affect the cost.
- Complexity of the Installation: The layout of the building, accessibility of current wiring, and the complexity of the new electrical system can impact the labor hours required.
- Building Use and Compliance: Different types of buildings (industrial, commercial, residential) have different electrical requirements. Compliance with local building codes and standards can also affect the cost.
- Upgrades or Repairs: If the existing electrical system requires repairs or if other upgrades are needed to support the new voltage, this will increase costs.
- Permits and Inspections: The cost for any necessary permits and subsequent inspections required by local regulations.
To get an accurate estimate, it’s best to consult with several licensed electricians or electrical contractors who can assess the specific needs of your building. They can provide detailed quotes considering the factors mentioned above.
To avoid this, some owners look at purchasing a generator to use as a power source. However, this is not the best option.
Generators as a Power Source
Some machine owners look at purchasing a generator to supply electric power to their machines when out in the field if they’ve gone with an electric motor. However, generators can be costly and inefficient, especially for traveling. The 460V electric engine requires a large generator that would need to be transported separately from the machine. Also, generators aren’t always compatible with NTM rollformers, so you would need to do careful research to ensure the generator will work with your machine.
If you plan on using your portable rollformer in-plant and on-site and want the versatility of electric and gas, we recommend purchasing the electric and gas motors NTM offers with its machines.
When to Choose Both Power Packs
Let’s say you live in the Midwest or northern part of the U.S. In summer, you transport your machine to various job sites for chop-and-drops. The weather is mild, so there’s no problem getting to remote areas. In the winter, though, you want to keep the machine in-plant, arrange deliveries to job sites, or even have the customers pick up the panels from your location.
The gas power pack is perfect during warmer months when you’re traveling. It’s fast, reliable, and self-contained, as it doesn’t require a power source. In colder months, when you’re using the machine in-plant, you switch over to the electric power pack. As mentioned, it’s quieter and doesn’t require ventilation to operate. Having both will allow you the flexibility to easily switch environments.
Also, if you move from on-site to in-plant rollforming intermittently throughout the year, the quick-change power packs only takes about 10 minutes to switch over. So, you’re covered either way, even at a moment’s notice. An additional Quick-Change Power Pack lists for $7,400.
So Where Do I Start in Deciding on a Power Pack?
Choosing between a gas or an electric power pack for your portable metal panel rollforming machine involves balancing factors like portability, the operational environment, and power availability. By considering these aspects and the specific power requirements of your chosen model, along with the flexibility offered by quick-change capabilities, you can select a power pack that aligns with your operational needs and ensures efficient and adaptable machine performance.
First, research your needs. If you’re interested in electric power, check the amps and voltage of your power source. Then, contact us to speak with an NTM account manager.
For more information on the machine you’re purchasing, check out our Learning Center. There, you can find videos and articles about all of our products, plus how-to instructions and other material to help you get the most out of your machine. For more information about NTM machines and products, contact us.