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Six Facts You Should Know About Variable Speed Drives

January 14, 2019

Whether you already make use of a variable speed drive in your line of work, or you’re thinking of purchasing one to increase production efficiency in your facility, it’s helpful to know as much as you can about this tool and what it can do. Here are six facts you should know about these drives—enough to give an elevator pitch, if you’d like.


Fact #1 – These drives actually go by many names, including variable frequency drive (VFD), adjustable frequency drive (AFD), AC drive, micro drive, inverter drive and variable voltage/variable frequency (VVVF) drive. Don’t let all of these alternate names confuse you—if it’s a drive that controls motor speed through the supplied frequency and voltage of electricity, it’s the drive you’re looking for.


Fact #2 – A variable speed drive can come in three different designs: pulse width modulation (PWM), current source inverter (CSI) and voltage source inverter (VSI). The PWM drive is most commonly used because it can work with motors in a wide range of sizes. The CSI drive reliably regulates currents, but requires a large internal inductor and motor load. The VSI drive is similar to the CSI drive, except it does not regulate currents as the CSI drive does.


Fact #3 – The main benefit of a VFD is increasing the efficiency of the motor it is connected to. It does this by adjusting the energy input that is powering the motor according to specific output needs. A motor shouldn’t be running at full speed if you don’t require it to.


Fact #4 – Globally, around 25% of electrical energy is consumed by electric motors used in industrial applications. Using one or multiple VFDs can reduce energy consumption in your facility by up to 70%.


Fact #5 – The variable speed drive is an extremely versatile tool. It can be used to power anything from fans to pumps to air compressors. Unfortunately, not all applications of the drive have penetrated the global market as of yet.


Fact #6 – The size and cost of VFDs have decreased over the last forty years thanks to innovations in semiconductor switching devices, drive topologies, simulation and control techniques and control hardware and software.


Now that you know a little bit more about these drives, you can be more confident in your decision to incorporate them in your facility operations. Check out this blog about the benefits of variable speed drives if you need further convincing.


We have partnered with Danfoss to provide a line of variable frequency drives for automated systems, water systems and HVAC applications. Contact us today for a variety of high-quality options if you’re looking into purchasing a variable speed drive for your business!