Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Martin Richardson, ABB's Water Framework Manager, writes: Using variable speed drives (VSDs) to control pump systems is a sure-fire way of cutting energy use - running motors at just the right speed to meet demand can’t fail to produce savings.

Yet just installing VSDs is not the end of the story. You also need to control them in the right way – in short, you need a control philosophy. Get the right one and you could improve the energy efficiency of a pump system by between 15 and 20 percent.

For example, filling a storage tank is usually done by running the pump at a fixed speed. A sensor will indicate when the tank is full and switch the pump off.

However, there is a better way – controlling with a VSD so that it pumps slower for longer. The benefits are two-fold. Reducing the speed of the pump motor will cut overall energy consumption. It also removes the need to constantly stop and start the pump. This reduces wear on bearings and seals, cutting maintenance costs and making the whole pumping system much more reliable.

Batch processes are made easier too - chemical dosing is more effective and efficient, as it is easier to deal with a steady flow of water than with rising and falling volumes.

Used in the right way, VSDs put you in control.

Optimising the control philosophy of VSDs is just one of the topics covered in ABB’s new CPD-accredited System Efficiency training course. To book your free session, or to find out more, click here.

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