VFDs and DC Drives


A variable-frequency drive (VFD) (also termed adjustable-frequency drive, variable-speed drive, AC drive, micro drive or inverter drive) is a type of adjustable-speed drive used in electro-mechanical drive systems to control AC motor speed and torque by varying motor input frequency and voltage.

VFDs are used in applications ranging from small appliances to the largest of mine mill drives and compressors. However, about a third of the world’s electrical energy is consumed by electric motors in fixed-speed centrifugal pump, fan and compressor applications[citation needed] and VFDs’ global market penetration for all applications is still relatively small. This highlights especially significant energy efficiency improvement opportunities for retrofitted and new VFD installations.

Over the last four decades, power electronics technology has reduced VFD cost and size and improved performance through advances in semiconductor switching devices, drive topologies, simulation and control techniques, and control hardware and software.

VFDs are available in a number of different low and medium voltage AC-AC and DC-AC topologies.

DC drives consist of an SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier) bridge, which converts incoming three or single-phase AC volts to DC volts. During this conversion process DC drives then can regulate speed, torque, voltage and current conditions of the DC motor. This is ideal for industrial processes such as tube mills, extruders, mixers, paper machines and various other controlled applications. Joliet Technologies can provide several DC Drives from different reputable manufactures. Packages can vary from Onsite Retrofits to custom multi drive cabinets.

DC drives are DC motor speed control systems. Since the speed of a DC motor is directly proportional to armature voltage and inversely proportional to motor flux (which is a function of field current), either armature voltage or field current can be used to control speed. Several types of DC motors are described in the electric motor article. The electric motor article also describes electronic speed controls used with various types of DC motors.