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Variable Speed Drives: Myths and Facts

September 21, 2023

A variable speed drive, also known as a VSD or VFD (variable frequency drive), is a powerful device that allows you to control the speed and torque of an electric motor. Unlike traditional fixed-speed motors, which operate at a constant speed regardless of demand, variable-speed drives enable you to adjust the motor's velocity based on specific requirements. When you connect a motor to a VFD, it converts the incoming AC power into DC power using rectifiers. 


The DC power then passes through an inverter and converts back into AC power with adjustable frequency and voltage. This process enables precise control over the motor's rotational speed. By varying the frequency supplied to the motor, variable speed drives offer flexibility in matching energy output to load demands. In other words, they allow motors to run more efficiently by delivering only the amount of power needed for any given task.


Bursting myths about variable speed drives


Myth: No VFD is needed if you have control valves

Fact: Many people believe that if they have control valves in their system, there is no need for a variable speed drive (VFD). However, this is just a myth. While control valves are indeed important for regulating flow and pressure, they cannot provide the same benefits as a VFD. Control valves can only adjust the flow rate by restricting or opening the valve. This means that they operate at fixed speeds and cannot adapt to changes in demand or load fluctuations. On the other hand, VFDs allow for precise control of motor speed, enabling you to match output to actual requirements.


Myth: Variable speed drives are too expensive

Fact: Variable speed drives (VFDs) have often been associated with high costs, leading to the misconception that they are not viable for many businesses. However, this myth fails to consider the long-term benefits and cost savings that VFDs can offer. It's important to note that while VFDs may require an initial investment, their energy-saving capabilities can result in significant cost reductions over time. By allowing motors to operate at optimal speeds based on demand, VFDs help minimize unnecessary energy consumption and reduce utility bills.


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