Modular, startup-friendly design
Machine builders can further reduce startup time with modular drives. Modular compact drives enable machine builders to remove the control module from the power module and simultaneously configure and install drives. Features that allow program files to be downloaded through a USB connection remove the need for main power during drive configuration, as well as the need for special adapters to communicate between the drive and the programming tools.
Common interface across power-range needs
To address multiple control and power-range needs using one common interface, seek drives that feature multiple motor-control technologies and cover broad power ranges. Motor-control technologies in some new compact drives range from volts-per-hertz to permanent magnet motor control and feature a control module that accommodates broad power ranges, such as 0.4 to 22 kW at 100- to 600V input.
Compact drives increasingly embed safety features as standard. Seek drives that remove rotational power from the drive, and meet ISO 13849-1 and ratings up to and including SIL 2/PLd Cat 3. For example, a SIL 2/PLd-certified, embedded safe torque-off feature helps prevent drive restarts after a safety circuit is tripped. This safety feature also can help prevent wear and tear on motors due to frequent startups.
Selecting the right drive has real business impact. Machine builders and end users have long understood the crucial role compact ac drives play in efficiently spinning motor shafts within their machines and operations. Their real challenge is keeping pace with the multitude of new features that can help them decrease commissioning time, reduce startup time, enhance system performance, and improve energy efficiency.
— Jimmy Koh is a global marketing manager for compact ac drives at Rockwell Automation, where he is responsible for product management and plays a key role in driving growth.