Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Andy Preston, UK Drives Product Manager, ABB writes: Talking to an engineer at a customer’s site the other day, he mentioned that he used a wide range of motor types in the plant. He used variable-speed drives on most of them but he found he needed different drives for different motors. This complicated his life - different drives often meant different manufacturers, different ordering procedures, lead times and spares stock.

It got me thinking about what would be an ideal drive for him. A drive that would let him use any motor, either squirrel cage, permanent magnet or SynRM, so he could run any type of motor in his plant from one type of drive. All without the need to change the firmware – if you could determine the motor data, the drive would be able to run the motor.

The ideal drive would also offer a comprehensive set of starting and stopping modes, such as DC hold, IR compensation and flux braking. This would allow the engineer to control any load type.

A problem sometimes seen are motor cables being brought to the drive in the wrong order, causing the motor to go backwards. Usually, the only remedy is to change the cables. Our ideal drive would have a phase inversion feature, allowing the engineer to change the phase order at the output to the motor using a software function.

How about starting motors that are already spinning? Direct-on-line (DOL) or soft start control will abruptly bring the motor to rest, with the danger that the load is damaged. Ideally, our engineer would want a flying start function, allowing smooth catching of the load to take it under control.

Does this ideal drive actually exist? All these features and benefits are made possible by the latest version of ABB’s Direct Torque Control (DTC). Available in the ABB industrial drive ACS880, find our more about how DTC can help you here.

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