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Variable Frequency Drive Systems and Controls

Do you have ac motors in your facility? Do these motors need a variable output? Do you use mechanical means to vary the output? If you anwsered yes to these questions, you need to install variable frequency drives on these ac motors. If you are not using VFD's you are wasting energy and throwing money out the window. In the United States 50% of the total electrical energy generated is consumed by rotating equipment. 65% of this total is consumed by centrifugal or flow related applications such as fans, blowers, compressors, and pumps according to current estimates. Variable speed drive technology offers a costeffective method to match driver speed to load demands and represents a state-of-the-art opportunity to reduce operating costs and improve overall productivity. Joliet Technologies is an OEM that custom packages, integrates and engineers AC Variable Frequency Drives (VFD), DC Variable Speed Drives (VSD) and AC Drive Controllers. Our drive systems integrate top of the line manufacturers, like ABB, Emerson (Control Techniques & Saftronics / Fincor), Siemens and WEG to name a few. Our added value custom drive packages are built to your specifications for your application. What is a Variable Frequency Drive? You can divide the world of electronic motor drives into two categories: AC and DC, a motor drive controls the speed, torque, direction and resulting horsepower of a motor. AC drives control AC induction motors. DC drives typically controls a shunt wound DC motor, which has separate armature and field circuits. Motor drives are also known as DC Drives, AC Drives, SCR Drives (Silicon Controlled Rectifier Drive), Variable Frequency Drives, Variable Speed Drives, Adjustable Speed Drives, Electric Motor Drives, Electronic Motor Drives, AC Motor Controllers, AC Inverters, Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) Drives and a few other names. Which Drive is Right for your Application? The AC Variable Frequency Drive market is huge, due to the great advances in highly reliable AC power electronics and high power microprocessors. The Flux Vector AC Drive for example, can compete on an application basis that DC Drives would in earlier years be required. Even though AC Variable Frequency Drives are readily replacing DC Drives and motors, there is still a large base of DC equipment that has to be supported by experienced technicians. Joliet Technologies believes that by not abandoning the DC market we can better serve our customer base demands. For example, older machines with multiple exciting DC Analog drives and motors may be a great candidate for retrofitting newer digital DC drive equipment. Saving cost and down time. If your needs are much simpler and speed control is not part of the work scope. Joliet Technologies can provide Custom AC Drive Controllers consisting of contactors,

starters, relays, pushbuttons and PLCs. Our engineers can provide all PLC and Peripheral Programming needs. Panels can be designed by another OEM or we can help with engineering to specifications provided.

DC Variable Speed Drive PROS Torque control and limiting CONS Brush life commutation maintenance.

AC Variable Frequency Drive PROS Improved efficiency Low motor maintenance CONS Distance limitations Large system designs (high HP drive foot prints) Cost (encoder feedback) Expensive regenerative braking Power system harmonics NA

Wide speed range (under Motor high speed limit 5000 RPM) (high speeds use expensive gear boxes) Trimming capabilities Constant HP capabilities True 4-quadrant regenerative energy conversion Few distance limitations Cost (especially single phase sizes) Expensive large HP motors Power system harmonics NA

Tight control Digital control High speed capabilities Reversing capability without extra power elements

NA NA

Joliet Technologies Custom Panel Shop and On Site Retrofit Benefits We have the experience and know how to provide you with the best drive for your application. Joliet Technologies can evaluate your current equipment and recommend either a Retro-Fit or System Replacement. Feel free to contact us with any drive questions you may have. Joliet Technologies is a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) 508A Certified, Industrial Control Panels & Industrial Control Panels Certified for Canada shop. Joliet Technologies is dedicated to provide the highest quality equipment and service. This is why we started this company. With our experience, expertise and commitment, you will be completely satisfied with our workmanship and our work ethic. All work is performed following our Quality Assurance System (based on the ISO9001:2008 Standard), assuring you the highest quality. From system integration to panel fabrication Joliet Technologies provides quality systems and custom control panels for new applications or system upgrades, all in a timely fashion, and at competitive rates. How to Maintain a VFD Do you know how to maintain a VFD? Doing so is easier than you might think. By integrating some simple, logical steps into your preventative maintenance program, you can ensure your drives provide many years of trouble-free service.

What is a Variable Frequency Drive? How does a VFD Work?


Do you have ac motors in your facility? Do these motors need a variable output? Do you use mechanical means to vary the output? If you anwsered yes to these questions, you need to install variable frequency drives on these ac motors. If you are not using VFD's you are wasting energy and throwing money out the window. Many utilities are now offering rebates for the installation of VFD's or retro-fitting existing equipment with variable frequency drives. Contact your local utility or search VFD rebate or go to the DSIRE website, a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Joliet Technologies has partnered with Electrical Solutions Network (ESN), in our effects to promote energy efficiency through the use of variable speed drives. Nationwide energy reduction incentives.

Part 1
What is a VFD?
By: Dave Polka

You can divide the world of electronic motor drives into two categories: AC and DC. A motor drive controls the speed, torque, direction and resulting horsepower of a motor. A DC drive typically controls a shunt wound DC motor, which has separate armature and field circuits. AC drives control AC induction motors, and-like their DC counterparts-control speed, torque, and horsepower. Application As An Example Let's take a brief look at a drive application. In Fig. 1, you can see a simple application with a fixed speed fan using a motor starter. You could replace the 3-phase motor starter with Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) to operate the fan at variable speed. Since you can operate the fan at any speed below its maximum, you can vary airflow by controlling the motor speed instead of the air outlet damper.

Figure 1, Fixed Speed Fan Application A drive can control two main elements of a 3-phase induction motor: speed and torque. To understand how a drive controls these two elements, we will take a short review of AC induction motors. Fig. 2 shows the construction of an induction motor. The two basic parts of the motor, the rotor and stator, work through magnetic interaction. A motor contains pole pairs. These are iron pieces in the stator, wound in a specific pattern to provide a north to south magnetic field.

Figure 2, Basic Induction Motor Construction

Figure 3, Operating Principles of Induction Motor With one pole pair isolated in a motor, the rotor (shaft) rotates at a specific speed: the base speed. The number of poles and the frequency applied determine this speed (Fig. 4). This formula includes an effect called "slip." Slip is the difference between the rotor speed and the rotating magnetic field in the stator. When a magnetic field passes through the conductors of the rotor, the rotor takes on magnetic fields of its own. These rotor magnetic fields will try to catch up to the rotating fields of the stator. However, it never does -- this difference is slip. Think of slip as the distance between the greyhounds and the hare they are chasing around the track. As long as they don't catch up to the hare, they will continue to revolve around the track. Slip is what allows a motor to turn. Motor Slip: - Slip 120 X F P Slip for NEMA B Motor = 3 to 5% of Base Speed which is 1800 RPM at Full Load Shaft Speed = F = Frequency applied to the motor P = Number of motor poles Example: Shaft Speed = 120 X 60 Hz - Slip 4 Figure 4, Induction Motor Slip Calculation

We can conveniently adjust the speed of a motor by changing the frequency applied to the motor. You could adjust motor speed by adjusting the number of poles, but this is a physical change to the motor. It would require rewinding, and result in a step change to the speed. So, for convenience, cost-efficiency, and precision, we change the frequency. Fig. 5 shows the torque-developing characteristic of every motor: the Volts per Hertz ratio (V/Hz). We change this ratio to change motor torque. An induction motor connected to a 460V, 60 Hz source has a ratio of 7.67. As long as this ratio stays in proportion, the motor will develop rated torque. A drive provides many different frequency outputs. At any given frequency output of the drive, you get a new torque curve.

Figure 5, Volts/Hertz Ratio

What is a Variable Frequency Drive? How does a VFD Work?


What is a VFD? (Part 1)
By: Dave Polka

Part 2
How Drive Changes Motor Speed Just how does a drive provide the frequency and voltage output necessary to change the speed of a motor? That's what we'll look at next. Fig. 6 shows a basic PWM drive. All PWM drives contain these main parts, with subtle differences in hardware and software components.

Figure 6, Basic PWM Drive Components

Although some drives accept single-phase input power, we'll focus on the 3-phase drive. But to simplify illustrations, the waveforms in the following drive figures show only one phase of input and output. The input section of the drive is the converter. It contains six diodes, arranged in an electrical bridge. These diodes convert AC power to DC power. The next section-the DC bus section-sees a fixed DC voltage. The DC Bus section filters and smoothes out the waveform. The diodes actually reconstruct the negative halves of the waveform onto the positive half. In a 460V unit, you'd measure an average DC bus voltage of about 650V to 680V. You can calculate this as line voltage times 1.414. The inductor (L) and the capacitor (C) work together to filter out any AC component of the DC waveform. The smoother the DC waveform, the cleaner the output waveform from the drive. The DC bus feeds the final section of the drive: the inverter. As the name implies, this section inverts the DC voltage back to AC. But, it does so in a variable voltage and frequency output. How does it do this? That depends on what kind of power devices your drive uses. If you have many SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier)based drives in your facility, see the Sidebar. Bipolar Transistor technology began superceding SCRs in drives in the mid-1970s. In the early 1990s, those gave way to using Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) technology, which will form the basis for our discussion. Switching Bus With IGBTs Today's inverters use Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) to switch the DC bus on and off at specific intervals. In doing so, the inverter actually creates a variable AC voltage and frequency output. As shown in Fig. 7, the output of the drive doesn't provide an exact replica of the AC input sine waveform. Instead, it provides voltage pulses that are at a constant magnitude.

Figure 7, Drive Output Waveform The drive's control board signals the power device's control circuits to turn "on" the waveform positive half or negative half of the power device. This alternating of positive and negative switches recreates the 3 phase output. The longer the power device remains on, the higher the output voltage. The less time the power device is on, the lower the output voltage (shown in Fig.8). Conversely, the longer the power device is off, the lower the output frequency.

Figure 8, Drive Output Waveform Components The speed at which power devices switch on and off is the carrier frequency, also known as the switch frequency. The higher the switch frequency, the more resolution each PWM pulse contains. Typical switch frequencies are 3,000 to 4,000 times per second (3KHz to 4KHz). (With an older, SCR-based drive, switch frequencies are 250 to 500 times per second). As you can imagine, the higher the switch frequency, the smoother the output waveform and the higher the resolution. However, higher switch frequencies decrease the efficiency of the drive because of increased heat in the power devices. Shrinking cost and size Drives vary in the complexity of their designs, but the designs continue to improve. Drives come in smaller packages with each generation. The trend is similar to that of the personal computer. More features, better performance, and lower cost with successive generations. Unlike computers, however, drives have dramatically improved in their reliability and ease of use. And also unlike computers, the typical drive of today doesn't spew gratuitous harmonics into your distribution system-nor does it affect your power factor. Drives are increasingly becoming "plug and play." As electronic power components improve in reliability and decrease in size, the cost and size of VFDs will continue to decrease. While all that is going on, their performance and ease of use will only get better. Sidebar: What if you have SCRs? With the large installed base of SCRs, you might want to know how these operate. An SCR (originally referred to as a thyristor) contains a control element called a gate. The gate acts as the "turn-on" switch that allows the device to fully conduct voltage. The device conducts voltage until the polarity of the device reverses-and then it automatically "turns off." Special circuitry, usually requiring another circuit board and associated wiring, controls this switching. The SCR's output depends on how soon in the control cycle that gate turns on. The IGBT output also depends the length of time the gate is on. However, it can turn off anytime in the control cycle, providing a more precise output waveform. IGBTs also require a control circuit connected to the gate, but this circuitry is less complex and doesn't require a reversal of polarity. Thus, you would approach troubleshooting differently if you have an SCR-based drive.

How to Maintain a Variable Frequency Drive?


Many utilities are now offering rebates for the installation of VFD's or retro-fitting existing equipment with variable frequency drives. Contact your local utility or search VFD rebate or go to the DSIRE website, a

comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Joliet Technologies has partnered with Electrical Solutions Network (ESN), in our effects to promote energy efficiency through the use of variable speed drives. Nationwide energy reduction incentives. How To Maintain a VFD
By: Dave Polka

Do you know how to maintain Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)? Doing so is easier than you might think. By integrating some simple, logical steps into your preventative maintenance program, you can ensure your drives provide many years of trouble-free service. Before looking at those steps, let's quickly review what a VFD is and how it works. A Quick Overview A VFD controls the speed, torque and direction of an AC Induction motor. It takes fixed voltage and frequency AC input and converts it to a variable voltage and frequency AC output. See Training Note "What is a VFD?" for a more detailed description of VFD concepts and operating principles. In very small VFDs, a single power pack unit may contain the converter and inverter. Fairly involved control circuitry coordinates the switching of power devices, typically through a control board that dictates the firing of power components in the proper sequence. A microprocessor or Digital Signal Processor (DSP) meets all the internal logic and decision requirements. From this description, you can see a VFD is basically a computer and power supply. And the same safety and equipment precautions you'd apply to a computer and to a power supply apply here. VFD maintenance requirements fall into three basic categories:

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keep it clean; keep it dry; and keep the connections tight.

Let's look at each of these. Keep it Clean Most VFDs fall into the NEMA 1 category (side vents for cooling airflow) or NEMA 12 category (sealed, dusttight enclosure). Drives that fall in the NEMA 1 category are susceptible to dust contamination. Dust on VFD hardware can cause a lack of airflow, resulting in diminished performance from heat sinks and circulating fans (Photo 1).

Photo 1, Fan Injecting Dust into Drive Enclosure Dust on an electronic device can cause malfunction or even failure. Dust absorbs moisture, which also contributes to failure. Periodically spraying air through the heat sink fan is a good PM measure. Discharging compressed air into a VFD is a viable option in some environments, but typical plant air contains oil and water. To use compressed air for cooling, you must use air that is oil-free and dry or you are likely to do more harm than good. That requires a specialized, dedicated, and expensive air supply. And you still run the risk of generating electrostatic charges (ESD). A non-static generating spray or a reverse-operated ESD vacuum will reduce static build-up. Common plastics are prime generators of static electricity. The material in ESD vacuum cases and fans is a special, non-static generating plastic. These vacuums, and cans of non-static generating compressed air, are available through companies that specialize in static control equipment. Keep it Dry In Photo 2 you can see what happened to a control board periodically subjected to a moist environment. Initially, this VFD was wall-mounted in a clean, dry area of a mechanical room and moisture was not a problem. However, as is often the case, a well-meaning modification led to problems. In this example, an area of the building required a dehumidifier close to the mechanical room. Since wall space was available above the VFD, this is where the dehumidifier went. Unfortunately, the VFD was a NEMA 1 enclosure style (side vents and no seal around the cover). The obvious result was water dripping from the dehumidifier into the drive. In six months, the VFD accumulated enough water to produce circuit board corrosion.

Photo 2, Corrosion on Board Traces Caused by Moisture

What about condensation? Some VFD manufacturers included a type of "condensation protection" on earlier product versions. When the mercury dipped below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the software logic would not allow the drive to start. VFDs seldom offer this protection today. If you operate the VFD all day every day, the normal radiant heat from the heatsink should prevent condensation. Unless the unit is in continuous operation, use a NEMA 12 enclosure and thermostatically controlled space heater if you locate it where condensation is likely. Keep Connections Tight While this sounds basic, checking connections is a step many people miss or do incorrectly - and the requirement applies even in clean rooms. Heat cycles and mechanical vibration can lead to sub-standard connections, as can standard PM practices. Retorquing screws is not a good idea, and further tightening an already tight connection can ruin the connection (see Sidebar). Bad connections eventually lead to arcing. Arcing at the VFD input could result in nuisance over voltage faults, clearing of input fuses, or damage to protective components. Arcing at the VFD output could result in over-current faults, or even damage to the power components. Photos 3 and 4 show what can happen. Loose control wiring connections can cause erratic operation. For example, a loose START/STOP signal wire can cause uncontrollable VFD stops. A loose speed reference wire can cause the drive speed to fluctuate, resulting in scrap, machine damage, or personnel injury.

Photo 3, Arcing Caused by Loose Input Contacts

Photo 4, Arcing Caused by Loose Output Contacts

Re-torquing - A Screwy Practice Although "re-torquing" as a way of checking tightness is common in many PM procedures, it violates basic mechanical principles and does more harm than good. A screw has maximum

clamping power at a torque value specific to its size, shape, and composition. Exceeding that torque value permanently reduces the clamping power of that screw by reducing its elasticity and deforming it. Loosening and then re-torquing still reduces elasticity, which still means a loss of clamping power. Doing this to a lock washer results in a permanent 50% loss. What should you do? Use an infrared thermometer to note hot connections. Check their torque. If they have merely worked loose, you can try retightening them. Note which screws were loose, and be sure to give them an IR check at the next PM cycle. If they are loose again, replace them. Finally, don't forget the "tug test." This checks crimps, as well as screw connections. Don't do this with the drive online with the process, though, or you may cause some very expensive process disturbances.

Additional Steps 1. As part of a mechanical inspection procedure, don't overlook internal VFD components. Check circulating fans for signs of bearing failure or foreign objects - usually indicated by unusual noise or shafts that appear wobbly. Inspect DC bus capacitors for bulging and leakage. Either could be a sign of component stress or electrical misuse. Photos 5 and 6 show fan and capacitor stress problems.

2.

Photo 5, Foreign Object in Fan 3. Take voltage measurements while the VFD is in operation. Fluctuations in DC bus voltage measurements can indicate degradation of DC bus capacitors. One function of the capacitor bank is to act as a filter section (smoothing out any AC ripple voltage on the Bus). Abnormal AC voltage on the DC bus indicates the capacitors are headed for trouble. Most VFD manufacturers have a special terminal block for this type of measurement and also for connection of the dynamic braking resistors. Measurements more than 4VAC may indicate a capacitor filtering problem or a possible problem with the diode bridge converter section (ahead of the bus). If you have such voltage levels, consult the VFD manufacturer before taking further action. With the VFD in START and at zero speed, you should read output voltage of 40VAC phase-to-phase or less. If you read more than this, you may have transistor leakage. At zero speed, the power components should not be operating. If your readings are 60VAC or more, you can expect power component failure. What about spare VFDs? Store them in a clean, dry environment, with no condensation allowed. Place this unit in your PM system so you know to power it up every 6 months to keep the DC bus capacitors at their peak performance capability. Otherwise, their charging ability will significantly diminish. A capacitor is much like a battery-it needs to go into service soon after purchase or suffer a loss of usable life.

4.

Photo 6, Capacitor Failure 5. Regularly monitor heat sink temperatures. Most VFD manufacturers make this task easy by including a direct temperature readout on the Keypad or display. Verify where this readout is, and make checking it part of a weekly or monthly review of VFD operation. You wouldn't place your laptop computer outside, on the roof of a building or in direct sunlight, where temperatures could reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit or as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. A VFD, which is basically a computer with a power supply, needs the same consideration. Some VFD manufacturers advertise 200,000 hours-almost 23 years-of Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). Such impressive performance is easy to obtain, if you follow these simple procedures.