Variable Power Is Bringing Manufacturers Maximum Efficiency
Tyler Kern from Industrial IoT by MarketScale interviews guest, Mike Darrol, Application & Design Project Manager for AID USA
Click to Listen to Podcast
The power of a Variable Frequency Drive, or VFD, cannot be understated in all industries that thrive off of efficient manufacturing. To recap, a VFD adjusts the frequency or voltage of power by variating the frequency of what’s driving the power, i.e., the motor. This is helpful for a couple of reasons: it allows companies to run three-phase power from a single phase power supply, and it allows equipment to run at a voltage or frequency other than what a power company provides, or what’s available in a certain location.
An AC induction motor’s stator coils possess an electrical property called “inductive reactance,” that produces a back-voltage that opposes changes in current flow. Gradual changes in current flow are typically unproblematic. However, when a fast-rising voltage pulse is applied, the back-voltage generated by the motor’s coils can cause a voltage spike. This overshoot interacts with the inductance and capacitance of the motor and cables, causing the voltage to oscillate. If the peak voltage generated by this oscillation escalates too high, it can break through the motor’s insulation and cause the motor’s windings to short.
The ability to change speed creates new possibilities in process improvement, and on today’s podcast, Mike Darrol, communications engineer and embedded application development professional at Advanced Industrial Devices, joins us to break down just how those process improvements can bring value to a manufacturing company.
At a basic level, a VFD can save money and time. It reduces the wear-and-tear on machinery by allowing equipment to warm up slowly and then adjust its speed as needed. It reduces the need for replacing costly parts like clutches and gearboxes, and even eliminates water hammering as well as wear on piping and check valves. Overall, companies find that the amount that they save on mechanical and electrical payouts can often pay for a new piece of equipment within 18 months, giving them more capital to focus on other areas within the business.