Varying Uses of Soft Starters and Variable Frequency Drives

9th May 2013 | Posted by Charlotte Miskell

Many devices such as pumps, motors, compressors and mixers all have varying requirements for start ups, which can consume a lot of energy. Reducing the inrush of current in an electric motor that often has to start and stop will reduce the chances of motor heating, resulting in a longer lifespan of the motor. Adding either a soft starter or a variable frequency drive (VFD) to these applications can reduce this inrush of current but the decision has to be made as to which is more suitable to your application.

Soft Starters

One of the greatest benefits of soft starters is their ability to reduce the consumption of energy. The soft starter has the ability to be dialled up on the output voltage, which can lighten the load on the motor’s magnetizing current, meaning that the machine doesn’t have to consume 100% energy whilst it is on full load. Soft starters are best used for large fan, pump and mixer applications that have a range between 200 and 500 horse power and applications that require fewer starts and stops. Soft starters will reduce wear on mechanical gears, belts, chains and gearboxes which will decrease the down time of your applications.

Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)

Using an Allen Bradley VFD will allow you to control the speed of an electric motor. This means that they can increase machines energy efficiency by being capable of reducing an electric motor’s speed. As well as this, Allen Bradley VFDs can provide energy efficiency, diagnostic capabilities and process control integration, offering an advantage over soft starters. As most electric motor applications do not need to operate at full speed, using an Allen Bradley VFD and decreasing the speed of the motor by 20% can potentially reduce energy use by 50%.

Allen Bradley Variable Frequency Drives are an excellent choice for use with water pumps and smaller mixers as they are excellent at monitoring the energy used by fans and pumps.

Many applications such as pumps and motors often require several start-ups, which can lead them to consuming large amounts of energy. Using devices such as soft starters and Allen Bradley VFDs will save energy and make the use of large equipment much more practical. If you are interested in the installation of either of these products feel free to contact Proplas today. 

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