In general, Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are good for reducing the wear and tear of mechanical parts in large industrial electric motors because they “smooth out” the electrical current by eliminating power spikes. VFDs also reduce the impact of brown outs and other electrical problems associated with the use of large electric motors in the industrial setting.
These issues most commonly appear when the motor starts up, since electric motors typically require a lot of power at the start, but they can also occur in any situation where the load on the motor varies, or needs to start and stop frequently. But what are some of the specific situations that definitely would benefit from the use of a variable frequency drive?
Since the energy used for running industrial electric motors represent the highest percentage of energy costs in the plant itself, it only makes sense to look at ways to reduce these costs in any way possible.
Most industrial electric motors rarely need to be operating at full-throttle, all of the time, and by managing the speed of the motor through a VFD, not only do you reduce your energy consumption, but you also reduce wear and tear on the motor by running it at lower speeds. It also reduces the amount of preventative maintenance needed on the unit. Some utility companies even provide rebates to the business installing the VFDs which also adds to the overall cost savings.
While most electric motors can benefit from the use of a variable frequency drive, industrial pumps–centrifugal pumps in particular–can benefit far more. Traditionally the speed and pressure of the flow of liquid through an industrial pump system is not only controlled by the pump itself, but through the use of other mechanical means such as using a system of valves.
Because the speed and pressure of the flow of liquids through a pumping system change far slower than the power required by the electric motor to manage them, the VFD can react to these changes quickly, cutting power to the pump to only what is necessary to slow down the flow speed and reduce the pressure of the flow. This saves a considerable amount of energy over time, and reduces any mechanical wear and tear that creates a need for industrial pump repair. This makes the installation of a VFD well worth the effort.
Most fans do not need to be running at full speed all of the time in many industrial operations. They just need to generate airflow at specific rates, in specific situations
Many industrial processes involve complex systems that need to interact with one another in sequence. Many VFDs help manage a series of tasks such as several conveyor belts, pumps, fans, other mechanical devices to turn on and off, as well as run at different speeds in a large building such as a manufacturing plant or packaging facility.
With the advances in automation technology, the ability to control a lot of activities from one control room is possible, and a lot of these functions involve the start, stop and the ability to adjust the speed of electric motors in the system. The best tool for this is a variable frequency drive. A series of VFDs can be linked together to manage complex tasks such as HVAC functions, timed sequences such as a series of conveyor belts moving products throughout the plant.
Tekwell Services sells Danfoss and Yaskawa VFDs. We also provide a complete line of variable speed drive repair services for most brands of VFDs, Give us a call (toll free) at 1-888-984-4668 or fill out our quick solution form at the bottom of our Contact page, to learn more.