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December 8, 2023

How do Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) Work?

VFD stands for Variable Frequency Drive, which is used to control the speed of an AC motor (among other parameters). This is the definition utilised in all of the paper’s topical debates. An AC motor, a controller, and an operator interface make up a simple VFD system.

The invention of the variable frequency drive (VFD) for AC motors has resurrected the use of AC motors. The frequency of the voltage used to power the AC-induction motor can be altered to change its speed. This means that if a 50 Hz supply is provided to an AC motor, the motor will run at its rated speed. The motor will run faster than its rated speed if the frequency is increased over 50 Hz, and slower than its rated speed if the supply voltage frequency is less than 50 Hz. The electronic controller was specifically developed to adjust the frequency of the voltage provided to the induction motor, according to the variable frequency drive working principle.

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With the introduction of powerful microprocessors, the VFD may now function as a highly adaptable device that not only controls the motor’s speed but also safeguards against overcurrent during ramp-up and ramp-down. Newer VFDs now provide braking options, a power boost during ramp-up, and a range of ramp-down settings. The VFD’s primary benefit is that it ensures that the motor does not use too much current when it starts, allowing the overall demand factor for the factory to be controlled and the energy bill to be kept as low as possible. This function alone can give a payback of more than the VFD’s purchasing price in less than a year. Upon using a typical motor starter, be in mind that they will draw locked-rotor amperage (LRA) when starting.

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When a manufacturing plant’s locked-rotor amperage happens across several motors, the electrical demand is pushed too high, resulting in the plant paying a penalty for all of the electricity utilised during the billing period.

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Today, the VFD is perhaps the most prevalent type of control system output or load. The VFD can control the speed of the motor, the direction the motor shaft is turning, the torque the motor gives to a load, and any other motor parameter that can be measured as applications get more complicated. The characteristics of newer VFDs can be controlled by numbers encoded into them or downloaded from another microprocessor-driven system like a programmable controller (PLC). Smaller VFDs are also available, which are more cost-effective and take up less area.

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