VLT Attachments

Four Reasons Why Motor Independence Matters

Whether we are genuinely interested in having a positive effect on the environment, or simply following the ever-intensifying standards and regulations, optimizing the energy efficiency of our motors and motor controllers is something we cannot escape.

The energy-efficiency discussion has forced the development of new motor technologies and the reinvention of existing, older technologies. In the past, the induction motor (IM) was the only type of electrical motor used in industrial applications. It is still today one of the most commonly used motors in most applications. Synchronous reluctance motor technology, first invented a century ago, was originally optimized for size and torque. Thanks to the advent of AC drives, the high-efficiency synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM) can now be optimized for energy efficiency. And then there are internal and surface-mounted permanent magnet motors. Each motor type has its advantages and drawbacks; the key is finding the one that best fits your application.

For optimal energy efficiency, we then need to take a look at the motor controller – the AC drive. We all know that AC drives reduce the electricity consumption of motors under variable torque loading (for example, with fans and pumps). In addition, AC drives can also be configured to run in regenerative mode where braking energy is fed back into the power supply instead of being lost as heat. But how do we put the energy-efficiency puzzle together? Are there any constraints on what AC drives we can use with what motors?

Is bundling the answer?

Some motor suppliers offer a bundled motor and drive solution. On paper, this may seem the most convenient, and cost-effective, option. You’re only dealing with one supplier, compatibility is ensured and spare parts stock is minimized. However, it is important to keep an eye on the total cost of operation and the total lifecycle costs.

Think about support, for example. You still need to contact one person for drive support, another for the motor, and yet another for other equipment in the chain. That’s time consuming and potentially costly.

And what about replacements or retrofits? If the motor-drive bundle has been delivered to an installation in a remote region, and the exact same motor technology or compatible drive technology is not available, you’re looking at expensive, and potentially critical, downtime in a breakdown situation.

So, to come back to the headline, let’s look at the topic of motor independence and discuss why choosing an AC drive that adapts to any motor technology makes the most sense.

Reason 1: Flexibility

In this sense, flexibility means the ability to accommodate changing customer specifications and new technological trends over the entire lifetime of an application. If the drive is compatible with all state-of-the-art motor technologies, it’s just a case of including new motor algorithms into software updates of the drive when needed.

Reason 2: Fast replacement/retrofitting

As discussed earlier, there may be occasions when there are bottlenecks in delivery by a particular motor supplier. Similarly, it may be difficult to find an identical replacement motor, for example, in a remote site or location. In these instances, your only option might be to choose a different motor technology. Having a drive that’s compatible with all motor technologies gives you the freedom to choose another, more available, motor technology to avoid costly downtime.

Reason 3: One drive fits all

Now, we’re talking about multiple installations in, for example, large plants. Having the same motor-independent drives installed throughout the entire plant mean there’s a lower spare parts stock inventory, simplified staff training and more straightforward maintenance.

Reason 4: A future-proof solution

Using automatic motor adaptation, motor-independent drives can deliver optimal performance of any motor both now and throughout the lifetime of the application. Motor-independent drive suppliers continually test new motor technologies in order to develop new algorithms for compatibility. Independently optimized components adapt completely to a variety of applications. OEMs, for example, can therefore design the highest-performance drive/motor system for a specific niche application.

As you can see, choosing the right motor and drive combination doesn’t have to be a complicated, stressful task. If you’ve found the ideal motor for your application from a motor supplier you trust, there’s no reason to make any changes to that scenario. Where you can make changes, and changes that will improve your options, reduce potential downtime, simplify maintenance and lower lifecycle costs, is by choosing a motor-independent AC drive.

Lift Operator

Vacon NXP and VLT® Lift Drive LD 302

Vacon NXP and VLT® Lift Drive LD 302

Reliable operation and excellent ride comfort

Along with the proven Vacon NXP Lift Drive, Danfoss has now introduced its VLT® Lift Drive. Both drives are been designed from the outset to be easy to install and set up in elevator applications, and to be compatible with almost any type of elevator control system. And it’s available off the shelf from Digicon, which makes it possible to keep lift downtime to an absolute minimum.  Digicon work closely with its dedicated lift partner Digital Advance Control.

An ideal choice for retrofit?

The Danfoss NXP and VLT drives boast open architecture with the simple menu structure written in plain, easy-to-understand language.

Fitting the Danfoss VLT® Lift Drive proved to be as straightforward as expected and, after it had been installed, it was found to provide a much smoother ride than the old drive it replaced. It was also much quieter in operation ­ always a bonus in residential locations ­ as it has a specially controlled cooling fan that runs only when needed.

Supply voltages and power range 

380-400 V...4-55 kW

Features and benefits

  • Travel comfort is enhanced thanks to a range of noise-reducing features
  • Energy savings can be achieved as cooling fans run only when absolutely necessary
  • The drive is quick and easy to commission as it fits all common feedback systems and there are just 10 parameters to set
  • The drive operates reliably in harsh conditions due to specially coated circuit boards
  • Components remain firmly in place in environments with high degrees of vibration thanks to the ‘ruggedized’ version


Mid-range to high-rise residential and commercial building lifts, industrial site freight lifts, mine-shaft lifts, ‘recreational’ applications, such as ski lifts, boat lifts, aircraft lifts or elevators, vehicle lifts, walkways.

Energy and Money Conservation

A Brief Overview of VSD Technology

Electric AC induction motors run at a fixed speed and are ideally suited to applications where a constant motor output speed is required. However over half of all motor application have some kind of varying demand, such as fans, pups, winding reels and precision tools. Historically, processes would have been controlled using opening and closing dampeners and valves, or changing output speeds with gears or pulleys, all whilst the motor speed remained constant.

In the 1980’s, variable speed drives (VSDs) started appearing on the market offering an alternative method of controls. A VSD also referred to as a ‘drive’ or ‘inverter’ is an electronic power controller that is able to adjust the electrical supply to an AC induction motor with a corresponding change in the motor’s speed and torque output.

By implementing this type of control, a very close match between motor speed and the process requirements of the machine it is driving may be achieved.

Controlling the speed of a motor provides users with improved process control, reduced wear on machines, increased power factor and large energy savings.

Like a good wine, VSD technology has matured, and is now extremely versatile and offers a high degree of motor control. Motor speeds can be accurately varied from zero rpm through over 100% of the rated speed whilst the torque is also adjusted to suit.

Different options are available to suit a variety of applications and budgets. Basic VSD designs are used in simple applications such as fan and pump control whereas more complex versions are available for very precise speed and torque control, for example in multiple winders or materials forming applications.

VSD’s range from 0.18kW through to several MW in size; and are connected to the motor’s electrical supply.

In many applications, variable speed control can lead to substantial reductions in energy use. The use of VSD technology is particularly effective in fan and pump applications where an exponential relationship exists between the machine speed and the energy used.

Surely a 10% reduction in speed should equate to a 10% reduction in energy usage? This is correct when we are talking about a conveyor or a mixer, but fans and pumps are different.

The relationship between the speed and power of a fan or pump is called Cube Law. If you reduce motor speed by 10%, achieve a 27% reduction in energy consumption. Reduce motor speed by 20%, achieve a 48% reduction in energy consumption.

Safe Contractor Approved

Digicon awarded Alcumus SafeContractor Acreditation

Top Safety Accreditation for Digicon Solutions Limited

Digicon Solutions has been awarded accreditation from Alcumus SafeContractor for achieving excellence in health and safety in the workplace.

Alcumus SafeContractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme, which recognises extremely rigorous standards in health and safety management amongst contractors. It is used by thousands of organisations in the UK including SMEs and FTSE 100 companies.

The company’s application for SafeContractor accreditation was driven by the need for a uniform standard across the business. SafeContractor accreditation will enhance the company’s ability to win new contracts, and its commitment to safety will be viewed positively by its insurers when the company liability policy is up for renewal.

Gemma Archibald, Director of Alcumus SafeContractor said: "Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place."

"More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Digicon Solutions has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example, which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector. SafeContractor plays a vital role in supporting our clients in meeting their compliance needs, whilst working with their contractors as they progress through the accreditation process.”

“To be awarded Alcumus SafeContractor accreditation for the 3rd year running shows how dedicated our employees are to their Health and Safety responsibilities. With Alcumus SafeContractor accreditation, our clients have peace of mind that they are in safe hands with our specialist engineers.” Molly Jones – Digicon Solutions Limited.

For further information, contact: Molly Jones on 01455 251610 or email [email protected]