Wednesday, 2 March 2016


John Guthrie, Energy Efficiency Manager, ABB writesYou’d think that, when offered the chance to shave 30 percent off your energy bill, businesses all over would be scrambling at the opportunity to get involved. Variable-speed drives (VSDs) offer the potential to do exactly that, and yet 90 percent of motors are installed without any sort of drive speed control.

Why is this? Well the fact is that most people who design systems with electric motors are not responsible for the energy bill, and conversely, the people in charge of the energy bill are not engineers, and so are unaware of the benefits that VSDs can offer.

VSDs have been commonly used in pump and fan applications for some time, but as the technology has progressed, we are now increasingly able to incorporate them into other applications such as condensers and compressors.

Compressors are now employed in a wide range of industrial capacities, from pneumatic tools on a production line to subsea gas pipelines, providing significant opportunities to achieve savings through the incorporation of VSDs. At ABB we can help you to choose the perfect drive for your application, enabling you to not only significantly reduce your company’s CO2 footprint, but do so at a fraction of the operating cost of traditional drive and motor packages.

A VSD works by regulating the motor so that it only uses the power that it needs to run at any given output. Traditional set-ups typically compress the air to a predetermined pressure, then the compressor goes ‘off-load’ until the system pressure drops to a lower set point, and then the cycle begins again.  All the time, however, the motor is running at full speed, working harder than it needs to and wasting energy.

The drive’s direct torque control (DTC) ensures accurate pressure control for your compressors over the whole speed range, and with safe torque off (STO) as standard, all of our motors meet the SIL3 safety level for compressors.  Accurate pressure control also reduces costly air leaks, proving further energy and maintenance savings.

To find out more about ABB’s range of motors and drives designed specifically for use with compressors, why not take a look at our leaflet explaining the available benefits in more detail.

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