Nov 27, 2020
Four major trends for future management and maintenance of inverters
Due to rising energy prices and energy efficiency trends, the demand for high-efficiency motor control has led to an increasing demand for variable frequency drives (VFD). The VFD market is expected to grow at a rate of 5.94% (CAGR) in the next three years, so it is not surprising that manufacturers are investing in the most advanced VFD technology.
The latest developments in VFD software and hardware solve a common problem that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), system integrators and manufacturers have been trying to solve for many years: using fewer resources, enabling teams to complete tasks faster and easier .
1. Wireless diagnosis
Wireless diagnostics represents the future of VFD, whether it is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or something else. In a typical factory, access to drives in a closed enclosure can be restricted, and engineers can use wireless signals built into the drives to connect directly to the system from a distance.
Online software enables engineers to view and diagnose problems without touching the drive or its casing.
2. Flexible integration
The VFD with flexible integration allows engineers to solve application challenges once and then connect with the upper-level programmable logic controller (PLC) of choice.
For example, it is said that the OEM is selling a given machine to domestic and foreign customers. The regional trend of PLC preference is not an obstacle to machine integration. OEMs can use the driver with multiple communication options, solve the machine application once, and select the option that matches the upper-level controller options of each customer.
A VFD built for flexible integration usually consists of a basic inverter with control or network modules, which can be selected at will.
3. Modular memory
Gone are the days when technicians had to enter keyboard programming to replace VFDs. Soon, having to use a PC or even just a USB stick to transfer the configuration to a replacement drive will become a thing of the past.
Nowadays, drives with removable, modular, non-volatile memory make maintenance quick and easy. They eliminate the need to connect other hardware. If a component is broken, device replacement is as simple as removing the memory module from the old drive and placing it in the new drive.
4. Predictive maintenance
Manufacturers are collecting large amounts of data from their machines and manipulating it into business intelligence to drive predictive maintenance.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a global trend in every industry. It has an impact on VFDs by accelerating and simplifying the flow of information from machines to technicians and back. Therefore, manufacturers are making changes to everything from machines to information technology (IT) departments to facilitate the collection, analysis and application of drive data.
From a hardware perspective, the team is gradually shifting from serial and Ethernet to preferred networks. The basic IT department is familiar with Ethernet switches, hubs and routers to achieve more seamless integration in data transmission.
Complex communication strategies require modern VFDs to report on life counters, productivity, downtime, power output, etc. in order to better make real-time decision-making.