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What is a Variable Frequency Drive?

What you need to know about variable frequency drives (VFDs)

Let’s say you have a device driven by an electric motor such as a conveyor belt. Your electric motor has no throttle; it’s either all on or all off. But you don’t want your conveyor belt running at full speed all the time. This is where a variable frequency drive comes into play. The VFD varies the voltage and frequency of your AC electric motor, matching the energy going into the electric motor to the amount of work that the motor needs to do. In short, your electric motor will use no more power than it needs to perform the job at hand.

Variable frequency drives may lower your power bill dramatically!

Firstly, electric motor driven equipment uses a huge amount of power. It has been estimated that more than sixty percent of all industrial power consumption can be chalked up to electric motors. Fitting your motors with a VFD will dramatically reduce this costly power consumption, bringing your energy bill down by up to seventy percent. That’s not chump change! Although the initial cost of a facility-wide installation of VFDs can be daunting, the savings from your power bill will offset this cost in as little as six months. Many areas also have tax incentives on lower energy usage that facility owners may be able to take advantage of.

Increase efficiency and minimise downtime.

Electric motors last longer when they are allowed to operate at an optimal RPM. By taking advantage of VFD technology, you save wear and tear on your electric motors and the devices that they power. Starting and stopping machines is especially rough on componentry. The whole system is exposed to a huge instant shock as everything tries to accelerate to full speed from total stop. VFDs allow for a much more gentle start up process, which allows your machines to both accelerate smoothly into operation, as well as smoothly decelerating into shutdown.

This reduction of mechanical strain means that more of your machines stay online for longer, giving you the ability to get more work done in a day as well as reducing maintenance costs for your facility.

Switching to VFDs will save you money, energy, and maintenance bills. Unless you intend to stay in business less than six months, there is really no good reason not to go with VFDs.

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