Emerging Technologies / Variable Frequency Drives

Variable-frequency drives are widely used in ventilations systems for large buildings on fans save energy by allowing the volume of air moved to match the system demand. Variable frequency drives are also used on pumps, conveyor and machine tool drives.  A thorough understanding of how to match the VFD to the driven load is the key to a successful application.

When applied properly, the variable frequency drive (VFD) is the most effective motor controller in the industry today. Modern VFDs are affordable and reliable, have flexibility of control, and offer significant electrical energy savings through greatly reduced electric bills.

Fixed-speed operated loads subject the motor to a high starting torque and to current surges that are up to eight times the full-load current. AC drives instead gradually ramp the motor up to operating speed to lessen mechanical and electrical stress, reducing maintenance and repair costs, and extending the life of the motor and the driven equipment.

Variable speed drives can also run a motor in specialized patterns to further minimize mechanical and electrical stress. Electric motor systems are responsible for more than 65% of the power consumption in industry today. Optimizing motor control systems by installing or upgrading to VFDs can reduce energy consumption in your facility by as much as 70%. Additionally, the utilization of VFDs improves product quality, and reduces production costs. Combining energy efficiency tax incentives, and utility rebates, returns on investment for VFD installations can be as little as 6 months.

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