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When you design a machine these days is it really a Variable Speed Drives you need or a Smart Motor Controller?
Yes, you need the VSD motor function but you want much more to control your machine, don't you?
The VSD must be able to control the power to your motor to suit your application, Speed or Torque control, open or closed-loop, high braking capacity etc but what else is needed in your machine?
Design flexibility? Being able to select the right type of motor to suit the machine performance either synchronous or asynchronous motor control in the same unit gives you that design flexibility and commonality between machine types.
Form factor? Each machine is designed differently and as such, where the VSD is mounted can be a dilemma, inside a control panel, outside on the machine, if the environmental design of the VSD range is such that you can choose the format to suit, either IP21 compact or IP21 book or IP66 all with rugged conformance coated boards and 50deg operating temp wouldn't that simplify your engineering time?
Machine safety standards? They have to be adhered to, so why not let the drive take some of the complexity out of the control system, certified STO SIL3 safety covers approx 75% of most machine needs, so embedding it in the drive can only help simplify your control circuit and wiring but also help speed up the machine overall certification.
What about logic control? You need to be able to program your machine to meet customer needs. If logic control was embedded in the drive, this would give you the flexibility to design the machine to best fit the performance needs of the machine, in some cases doing away with the need of a physical PLC all together.
Lastly Industry 4.0, the latest technology in measuring and monitoring your machine performance and operation. Today how do you gather the relevant data to ensure that you know how your machine is performing? such as, how much energy is being used? what the uptime is? how many start/stops cycles have been carried out? what are the motor working temperatures? If the VSD could gather all this information for you and make it available over a fast redundant network, then this will help simplify the utilisation of this data towards preventative maintenance scheduling, OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) calculation and other data dased analytics much easier.
In short, wouldn't a VSD that's also a Smart Mortor Management take some of the headache out of designing machines?
Take a look at the latest range of Altivar Machine drives from Schneider Electric Ltd