variable frequency drives

What Is A VFD?

Variable frequency drives (VFDs); also known as variable

speed drive, AC drives, inverter drives, adjustable-frequency drives or micro
drives control motor speed/torque by varying input frequency & voltage.
Found in systems from small appliances such as ceiling fans to large industrial
centrifugal systems VFD’s offer an energy efficient alternative to mechanical
drives. Especially in industrial, agricultural & municipal applications.

VFD’s are not only long term solutions to system torque/speed

control since the required maintenance of the drive is decreased (no belts to
replace, lubricants to ads, gears to replace etc) they are often easy to
install to existing motor starters. An early issue surrounding the installation
of VFDs was panel space, though as the technology has improved inverters are
now able to be mounted separately on some models. 

Why Switch To a VFD?

What Makes It Different

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1

Maintenance Cost

VFD failures are often caused by environmental factors instead of internal failures occurring. Meaning they require little maintenance. This factor of VFDs results in the primary cost placed in the initial installation rather than long term maintenance needing to be planned on another aspect of a system. Allowing for cost to be more easily accounted for. 

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2

Energy Savings

Especially in the variable toque systems such as fans or pumps the ability to ramp voltage up & down as needed reduces the overall energy consumption of the system. Often these systems can see large decreases in energy by only needing to lower system speed slightly in a controlled manner resulting in instances where running a motor at 63% speed can consume only 25% compared to running the motor at full speed. 

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3

System Lifespan

Instead of starting a motor being kept at full torque whether the drive is full voltage or soft start, VFD’s allow the motor to
accelerate and decelerate as needed. This reduces the mechanical & electrical stress on the system. Less stress on your system means less single instance failures keeping your systems running longer. 

Common Issues

While VFD’s are recommended in applicable systems that does not means issues are impossible. Possible issues include debris building up in heatsinks. As a result, the system can become overheated and damage components.
Extreme and/or drastic environmental temperature changes can also result in connections with in VFD to loosen. As well excessive vibration of a VFD can result in components being loosened or damaged. As mentioned earlier, these
common issues are linked to the environment the VFD is installed compared to wear and tear issues of the systems working as intended. 

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READY TO MAKE THE SWITCH?

If you’re looking to make the change from mechanical drives to VFD’s, Ace has an expansive inventory to fit your application quickly in addition to a dealer network allowing us to fill the needs of more specialized applications.