Metering Choices! - Heavy Duty Ball Winders by NKK

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Metering Choices!

Operation > Metering
To better understand the metering options, a background on the Power Base will help.

In the beginning of the Ball Winder development process (2006-08), we knew that we had to develop an electronic metering system which would work in conjunction with the new Power Baseā„¢ that we were designing. That was our primary objective of measuring yarn.

So in 2008 we launched the Power Base and it was a great hit. Over the years we added improvements and a more powerful motor, but the core features have always existed on this machine:

Std NKK Power Base
  • 10 Speeds in Run mode *
  • 3 Speeds in Jog mode *
  • Reverse in Jog mode *
  • Interface for the Electronic Yarn Meter *
  • Interface for a foot/hand pedal *
  • Ability to Save the selected speed *
  • Custom electronics and control panel *
  • Hardwood, dovetailed housing
  • Worlwide 24 volt DC Power Supply

In 2009 we launched the Power Base Lite which was designed to have a lower price point but it gave up a number of features which are asterisked above. This machine has a speed dial and an on/off switch. Same motor and power supply and same speed/torque as the NKK Power Base. Less than 50 sold comapred to slightlky less than 1,000 of the NKK Power Base. This unit will be discontinued when our inventory runs out.

NKK Power Base

Power Base Lite

Elecrtonic Yarn Meter (EYM)
So the EYM Electronic Yarn Meter was launched in 2009 (same year as the Lite version). This meter measured yards, meters, and weight in grams or ounces (the weight was extrapolated from the data entered by the user based on the length).
The meter could also be set to measure a target quantity and then turn the Power Base off. This was and still is a first for commercial and consumer yarn measurement systems (you must go to the Industrial level to get these features elsewhere).

This meter touches the yarn being measured. It is called a contact system becasue every inch of yarn must run thru the meter to be measured. Very accurate. However, since it must be touched by going through the meter, the meter adds a little tension. This is usually not a problem but depending on the other components in your set-up, the cunulative tension may be an issue. The meter has two tension levels, over or under the measurement wheel. Over the top of the wheel is the most accurate but it adds more tension.

Overall, the EYM system is great and extremely accurate. If Accuracy of measurement is your primary requirement - then use this over the ERC which I will discuss next.

Electronic Rotation Counter (ERC)

The ERC was developed in 2010-2011. It was designed to be mounted on our new Skein-winder which was launched in 2010. We took a strong position that a decent skein-winder had to have an electronic counter. Other manufacturers had mechanical counters which were noisy and failed frequently. We knew we could develop an electronic counter based on our EYM technology that would have tremendous advantages over any other counter in the market.

We wanted to have the following features:
  • Measure in yards or meters or rotations
  • Be able to enter a target quantity to signal the user that they reached the target by sounding an electronic tone and also turning off the yet-to-be-designed motor drive for the skein-winder (same as EYM)
  • Measure up to 9,999 (same as EYM)
  • Be based on a non-contact system that used a magnetic sensor to detect when a rotation occurred.
  • An intuitive membrane control panel (same as EYM) with an intuitive menuing system (same as EYM)
  • Sleep mode that was activated after 5 miniutes of inactivity (same as EYM)
  • Backlit LCD display (same as EYM)
  • Same housing and electronics as EYM (with different firmware)

The ERC uses a different electronic ciruit than the EYM to signal the Power Base/Swift Motor  and thertefore was only able to turn off the Swift motor for which it was desigened to work with. In 2014 we added the capability for the ERC to turn off the Power Base. A simple wiring change is all tht is needed inside the Power Bse to allow the ERC to conenct to the Power Base.

Now users who own our skein-winder with ERC can unwind yarn as the power base pulls it and the ERC can measure the yardage as it comes off of the skein-winder. This is good when the user does not have the EYM which would nomally be the tool of choice when using the Power Base. Personally I really like this use of the ERC because it is a non-contact system and the ERC never has to touch your yarn (and therefore, does not add any tension). Plus you get double duty from the meter by measuring yarn as you make a skein and now you can measure yarn as you feed it to the power base. The user can either connect the ERC to the Power Base directly (a small wiring change is needed inside which is easily done) or it does not need to be conencted. In which case, the user would have to stop the power base manually. When the ERC is conencted to the Power Base, however, the ERC will then STOP the power base when the qty of yarn has been reached. Unlike the EYM, however,  

If Accuracy is the primary need - use the EYM when using the power base (the ERC measures rotations so when the job ends between rotations it loses that accuracy for that short amount of yarn. Not normally an issue when you are measuring yards).

Flexibility - both units can be connected to the Swift motor drive as well as the Power Base. However, because you need to use the skein-winder or swift in order to use the ERC, the EYM ends up the winner here because it does not need any other tool to measure yarn. It can be used by itself, or with these oither tools. It does not care. But the ERC MUST have the swift arms rotating to measure yarn.

The EYM costs more than the ERC.

The best setup is to have both. You will be completely covered if you have an ERC on your skein-winder and an EYM with the Power Base.

Maintenance - the EYM needs more maintenance because you have a wheel that can have a ghroove formed in its surface. You also have ball bearings on the shaft. A little oiling every year or so is all that you need to do (if that).

I'm sorry, I like them both for different reasons. But hopefully you can now make an easier decision if you can only afford one.

Questions? Send me an email
Bob Shroyer

EYM (brake not shown and backlit display is off)


ERC (current control panel says ERC and not EYM)

Both units are powered by 12 volts DC power from a laptop power supply. The power supplies are rated for 100-240 VAC 50-60 Hz.

Both the EYM and ERC look alike except that the EYM has a wheel assembly and the ERC does not. But nthey use the same aluminum housing and membrane panel

They can measure up to 9,999

They have a Mode button that allows the user to cycle through the different modes, They both have a  large Reset button. The qty of yards or meters is entered with thge decade switches (units, tens, hundreds, thousands). The EYM can enter qty's in less than 1.0 (decimals). The ERC cannot. It measures whole numbers

They have 3 Leds to tell the user what mode they are in. The LEDS go out when the unit goes into sleep mode.

The units have no on/off switch because they go into sleep mode after 5 minutes of non-use. Still, we recommend connecting the power cord to a power strip so you can power down the units between jobs.

These are hands down the finest electronic meters available for commercial and consumer use today.
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