Selecting the Right Motor Drive Platform for Variable Speed Drive Systems

As commercial and industrial machinery has become more powerful and energy-efficient, the use of variable speed drives (VSD) has become more popular for a wide range of applications. You’ll now find VSD systems in everything from heavy industrial equipment to high-speed commercial systems such as conveyors, fans, pumps, and blowers.

What many OEMs like about VSDs is their ability to save energy while providing more flexible control – in fact, with the rising cost of energy, many companies choose VSDs just for energy efficiency alone. Choosing the right motor drive is critical, though, to ensure cost-efficiency. While cost is a major consideration for choosing a motor drive, there are other factors, too, including harmonics, cabling and cooling costs, especially for high power systems.

As more manufacturers switch to VSD control, harmonics have become more of an issue with the need to address utilities’ concerns regarding harmonics standards compliance. One solution – especially for applications in which excess energy needs to be regenerated back into the supply by the drive – is to incorporate an active front end (AFE) that can operate with a reduced harmonic draw on the utility.

Distance between the motor drive and the motor plays a critical role in matching up the right motor drive platform to the motor. As the cable length between the drive and the motor increases, so does the need for protection from over-voltage spikes and rapid voltage changes. Low voltage applications can create significantly higher cabling costs as well as increased losses.

Any piece of equipment that requires power generates heat. Enclosed high power drive systems can generate higher rates of heat loss, requiring alternative cooling beyond typical air cooling. This is often accomplished with either air-conditioning or liquid cooling systems, which can add further expense with the addition of such equipment as pumps and heat exchangers.

If you’ve got a demanding motor drive requirement, off-the-shelf solutions might not be up to the task, while fully-custom applications can be expensive and time consuming. Our Oztek Motor Drive Platforms are the ideal solution, combining custom system flexibility with standard product cost and minimal risk.

We offer both open and closed-loop control solutions for 3-phase induction and permanent magnet motors, with specialized power and control modules compatible with high-speed motors. Our Motor Drive Platform technologies can be easily combined with our other Platform technologies such as Active Front End inverters and/or DC/DC converters to create complete system solutions simply not possible with standard industrial offerings.