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Variable Frequency Drive Or A Soft Starter?
These two device types have overlapping applicability, and to the extent that starters are generally a lot more economical than drives for a given application, it’s an important question.
Motors typically conduct a lot of energy when they accelerate from a dead stop to full speed and vice versa. While they’re doing that, besides registering peak power utilization (not good for your power bill), they can also overly stress what they’re actively connected to, like say, a pump, or conveyor system. Both types of devices can be used to reduce currents and limit torque by controlling power delivery to a motor in a gentle ramp instead of a jolt. That, in turn, does very good things for wear and tear on your equipment as well as for your power bill. It probably also has some distinct secondary safety benefits by reducing overheating and the probability of catastrophic failure.
So to summarize, motor drives and soft starters increase the life, electrical efficiency and safety of your motor set-up.
Starting and stopping is where soft starters generally begin and end. Pumps, fans, blowers and compressors are classic applications for soft starters.
Motor drives, also referred to as Variable Frequency Drives, or “VFD’s”, can also provide motor speed control throughout the run cycle. VFD’s are typically needed in an application when a high degree of motor speed control or energy efficiency (as in larger motors) is needed throughout the motor’s duty cycle. Cranes, hoists, rollout tables, presses and saws are good examples of applications for motor drives.
WEG Motor Drives & Soft Starters
Who better to design and manufacture motor control devices than a great motor manufacturer like WEG? They carry, for example, the widest range of soft starters in stock (.75HP to 4,500 HP); more than any other supplier in the industry!