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While we may not often think about them, motors are the workhorses of the energy industry. If they’re not operating at their peak, your operations can grind to a halt. But while indispensable, AC motors only run at a fixed speed. Startup puts a severe strain on the power supply, as well as the machinery it’s driving. This is where the capabilities of a variable speed drive are invaluable, and help deliver better results across the board.

For businesses in the energy industry, it’s not about having the newest or latest technology in your machinery and systems. No – it’s about having equipment that’s reliable, and just works

This is particularly true when it comes to motors. Your turbines need power 24/7. Your pumps and ventilation systems are critical systems that can’t afford downtime. And to power them, you need technology that you can trust to get the job done, no matter what.

Variable speed drives boost the reliability and efficiency of your machinery

Toshiba has been producing variable speed drives (VSD) since the mid-1980s. Now in their seventh generation, that’s a significant amount of experience to build on.

And with a particular focus on engineering both VSDs and motors, this is a partnership that you can rely on.

How they work

For those that aren’t aware, a VSD is a type of power electronics that enables you to control the speed and torque of a motor more efficiently. It sits in between the electrical supply and the motor itself, converting three-phase power into a voltage that effectively provides speed control with pinpoint accuracy. 

Essentially, a VSD converts electrical energy to a form that’s ideal for that specific motor. This means you can adjust the motor’s speed continuously – anywhere between zero and full speed – without losing torque, giving you precise control of your machinery. 

VSDs connect seamlessly to energy infrastructure, utilising sensors that allow you to capture data from your motors and machinery as it operates, enhancing visibility, improving control, and boosting productivity. They constantly measure voltage and motor current, providing feedback control, calculating shaft speed and torque, and predicting the motor’s temperature. 

All of these changes and adjustments happen automatically, driven by algorithms, and are executed in the microsecond – in real-time – which ensures that your motors are operating at their optimal point. 

Peace of mind when the stakes are high

When it comes to equipment like motors, which are driving critical plant and systems, VSDs are lifesaving pieces of technology that pay for themselves in the efficiencies they provide.

VSDs can be installed in almost any application that’s driven by motors, from fuel transportation, turbines, pumps, and lifesaving systems like your fans – essentially, any critical applications where the potential for unexpected downtime isn’t an option – and give you improved control and operation that helps to create a safer, more efficient site.

Detect issues before they occur

VSDs help you detect and avoid potential issues before they turn into something bigger. VSD can detect any irregularities in your system, or if it’s heading towards overload. It then limits specific variables, like torque or speed, slowing the motor down to a safe speed and ensuring no further damage is done. 

They can also help you avoid overload. VSDs continuously monitor machinery loads, and if levels starts getting too high, they communicate with control system to adjust feed rates, effectively mitigating overload risks before they escalate.

Avoid damaging vibrations

Traditional motors cause resonance, and if they hit certain resonant modes, the resulting vibrations – while not seemingly out of the ordinary – can get amplified to levels that accelerate machine and component wear and tear, reducing the lifespan. Not with VSDs. VSDs allow you to identify and avoid speed bands that cause vibration modes, allowing you to avoid early fatigue in your equipment.

Stop premature failure

Shock loading is a big issue on any site, and cause sudden mechanical failure that sees your operations halt immediately – and catastrophically. VSDs allow you to control the torque and speed of your equipment precisely, enabling smoother acceleration, preventing shock loading. 

You can bring your motors gently into life without the usual massive current draws, preventing power supply disturbances and avoiding the subsequent under-voltage trips that can affect the operation of other equipment. 

Better control means better results for your business

The sensitive control ability you get with a VSD allows you to vastly reduce your maintenance costs. For example, better control of torque at the motor shaft reduces wear and tear on the equipment internals, extending their service intervals. 

By controlling your fan or pump speed, you’re able to actively save energy – and with it, reducing your energy to such a degree that you’ll be able to pay back the VSD capital costs in a matter of years.

And by utilising VSDs to boost the connectivity of your equipment, these enhanced monitoring capabilities allow you to tap into richer data. You’re able to create more effective maintenance strategies based on real, quantifiable data. This leads to fewer surprises, less unplanned downtime, and equipment that’s more reliable across the board.

In turn, this improved connectivity and better data empowers you to make critical business decisions with confidence. And with better control over your motor speeds and torque, this allows you to ensure your critical systems keep working reliably long into the future. 

Better control of your machinery means better results – it’s as simple as that.

This is what peak efficiency looks like

So when you’re looking for better control, optimal efficiency, and uncompromising reliability for your equipment and motors, you need to look to equipment that’s got the track record to prove it. 

Toshiba is a leader and pioneer in the development and application of variable speed drives. Their technology is designed to handle even the harshest of Australian conditions, and is powering project sites all over the country. 

And while the latest, flashiest equipment may seem attractive, Toshiba variable speed drives are proven technology that works: reliable equipment, built on a legacy of success.

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