An AC drive is a device used to control the speed of an electrical motor in an energy-efficient way. It can also be utilized to convert energy from natural and renewable resources like the sun, wind or tides, and transmit it to the electrical network or for local consumption. In hybrid technologies, AC drives are used to combine conventional energy sources and energy storage to create total energy management solutions.
The need for energy conservation in order to save the environment is a key driver in the development of speed control devices, and AC drives provide the optimum method of controlling the speed of electrical motors to match load demand. Even small changes in motor speed can cause significant changes in energy consumption.
AC drives are well hidden, but nevertheless they play a major and very necessary role in modern, everyday life by making the world and our way of living more sustainable.
Benefits of an ac drive
The types of motors that ac drives control are normally operating at constant speed. Enabling the user to control the speed of motor potentially gives him various benefits in terms of process control, system stress and energy savings.
- Process control: controlling the process output to match the need; synchronising different parts of the main process to secure smooth flow between subprocesses; easily changing the setup when the process requirements change.
- In system stress: Reducing the start-up current, which allows use of smaller fuses and supply connections and reduces peak loads on the electrical network; Reducing the mechanical shock in start and stop situations.
- Energy: Saving electrical energy compared to traditional methods of process control. For instance in pump and fan applications, energy savings are typically 20-50 per cent.