Getting 'holistic' with soft starters

Posted by AuCom on 28/07/16 13:22

Mention ‘holistic’ and ‘eco’ in the same sentence and people will think you are talking environmentalism or personal health, but the two concepts are becoming synonymous with modern motor control strategies.

CAPIEL (the European Coordinating Committee of Manufacturers of Electrical Switchgear and Controlgear)’s recent position paper on taking an eco-smart approach toward the use of premium efficiency motors – “Ecodesign requirements for Electric Motors – Towards a System-Approach” - stated that ‘Real-life energy efficiency can only be achieved through a system-approach. Both motor and its control node must match the intended application requirements’.

Motors of all sizes and uses often need large amounts of energy when required to quickly accelerate to full speed and both soft starters and variable frequency drives can be used to reduce inrush currents and limit torque. The decision to pick one, however, is decided by the application, system requirements, and cost implications. It requires a holistic approach.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design, Energy Efficiency


Making the most of premium efficiency motors

Posted by AuCom on 08/06/16 09:18

We are quite possibly witnessing the beginning of an electric motor market boom as stricter energy efficiency regulations are being rolled out around the world. The higher energy efficient standards were predicted to cause worldwide overhauls of newer motor technology, resulting in significant market growth over the coming years.

According to a market report published by Credence Research “Electric Motors Market – Growth, Share, Opportunities, Competitive Analysis, and Forecast 2015 – 2022,” the global electric motors market is expected surpass US$ 135 Bn by 2022.

IE3 motors are now mandatory in Europe for new installations between 7.5 kW and 375 kW, in line with many other jurisdictions in the world.

At the recent energy efficiency in motor-driven systems (Eemods) conference in Finland the new regulations were presented as necessary to help meet the EC’s 2030 target of cutting greenhouse gas emission levels by 40% compared to 1990 levels, as well as cutting energy consumption by 27% by that date. These proposed changes could affect up to 89 million motors and more than four million variable-speed drives sold in the EU every year.

The new EC regulations are expected to increase growth for the replacement market. The rise of industrialisation and the construction industry is predicted to contribute to an increase in the growth of premium efficiency motors.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design, IE3 Motors, Energy Efficiency


Are you paying for the perception of flexibility in your system design?

Posted by AuCom on 28/05/16 16:02

With an estimated 80% of electric motor applications being fixed speed processes perhaps it isn’t surprising that variable speed drives are consistently being misapplied. Many motor driven systems are being designed with VSDs to add flexibility that isn’t needed, compromising efficiency while adding to capital and operating costs.

US-based JDA consulting engineers (now part of global consulting firm Exp Global.) offer an interesting discussion of this phenomenon in a blog on the Staticworx website. “As JDA's team commissions large, complex mechanical plants, we find more systems where the VSD is practically abandoned in place. Rather than providing the precise control of flow and pressure or reducing energy consumption and demand, the VSDs appear to be "stuck" at a single speed.”

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Topics: System Design, Energy Efficiency


Driverless cars, drones and smarter soft starters

Posted by AuCom on 17/05/16 15:29

The United Kingdom's Department for Transport this week unveiled a new strategy for the country that featured proposals for encouraging driverless cars, drones and even commercial spaceports.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin was quoted as saying "Driverless cars and commercial space flight might seem like something science fiction, but the economic potential of the new technology is huge and I am determined the UK gets maximum benefit."

In the world of industrial motor control we need to deal with fact more than science fiction, but the pressure to automate and innovate is relentless. These trends, embodied in the concept of Industry 4.0, means we have to reimagine the role of established technologies in industrial applications, and that includes the application of soft starters.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design


Making sense of motor nameplate information

Posted by AuCom on 16/11/15 12:05

A key to clear communication and interoperability is having a shared understanding of the meaning behind terms and phrases. 

The United States motor industry recognises the importance of nameplates using standardised jargon among all manufacturers and has been enforcing usage of the correct terminology for the past 90 years. Using the same terminology and education around the meaning of the terminology has paid off. Having a common motor nameplate language has helped make motors interchangeable and personnel able to correctly understand the specific features of the motor they are installing or replacing.

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Topics: System Design


Why oversizing motors shouldn't be your starting position

Posted by AuCom on 02/04/15 10:34

What are the trade-offs in oversizing a motor for your next application?

Oversizing motors for any particular application is becoming more popular, as engineers seek to provide some ‘insurance’ for a new system. Insurance against possible system failure (and resulting damage to their reputation), and insurance for unanticipated future demands on the application.

An Automation World study on oversizing has asserted that over half of engineers choose to over specify motors. It seems like a ‘no-brainer’ – put in place a motor with plenty of margin of error for rated load, and use a variable speed drive (VSD) to throttle it to meet the system’s actual power needs. Peace of mind guaranteed.

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Topics: System Design, Energy Efficiency


CAPIEL details the importance of a system approach to energy saving

Posted by AuCom on 19/01/15 11:22

CAPIEL have released their new position paper which details the importance of a system approach to energy saving: Ecodesign Requirements for Electric Motors - Towards a System-Approach

The brochure discusses the value of matching the motor and control method to the actual application needs, and provides some interesting statistics regarding energy usage and the application of electric motors.

Notably, CAPIEL point out that 80% of electric motor applications are in reality fixed speed applications, and assert that “motor starters are the most energy-efficient solution for fixed-speed applications”.  Mistakenly using VSD control with fixed speed applications will increase energy usage. In fact, a “VSD if incorrectly fitted can result in an energy efficiency loss equivalent to twice the potential gain from IE2 to IE3”.

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Topics: Soft Start Control, System Design, Energy Efficiency


Don’t let energy efficiency legislation cost you money!

Posted by AuCom on 18/11/14 14:59

There is a significant global effort underway to reduce energy consumption in industry by improving energy efficiency, specifically the efficiency of electric motor systems. 

The initial focus was on the efficiency of individual elements, e.g. the motor, which resulted in the IE efficiency classes for motors - IE2, IE3 etc. It is now understood that greater efficiency gains are available by considering the wider motor driven system.

In Europe, Regulation EC 640/2009 is in force, requiring specific types of motors from 0.75 kW to 375 kW to meet certain IE classes.  (Additional motor types and sizes are considered by a new regulation presently in development.)

There is often confusion about what the European legislation requires.

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Topics: System Design, Energy Efficiency


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