Drives and Controls Magazine

Piggyback drive will ride on any motor

01 April, 2001

Piggyback drive will ride on any motor

ABB has put a new spin on the integrated drive-motor idea by developing a drive that can be fitted not only to its own motors but also to motors from other manufacturers. There is also a standalone version designed to be mounted near motors on production lines, or on walls.

Although integral motor-drives have been available for several years, their success has been limited. ABB believes that its new, more flexible, approach could be the breakthrough.

The company has used computer modelling and analysis to overcome previous technical hurdles such as keeping the drive cool, and avoiding the transfer of heat and vibrations from the motor.

The ACS160 drive is mounted on top of the motor (unlike ABB`s earlier Integral motor-drive which had the inverter mounted on the end). According to sales and marketing director Rauno Ahola, this approach allows the drive to be used with almost any motor (including Nema types) and does not exceed the motor`s footprint, making retrofits easier.

Adaptor plates, made from a material that is a poor heat conductor, are being developed to fit most common motors. One of the first of these is for Brook Crompton motors.

The IP65-protected drives, spanning ratings from 0.55-2.2kW, are available with or without RFI filters. Other options include adaptors for common fieldbuses, and braking resistors. By adding an incremental encoder, simple positioning applications are possible.

Another possibility is to monitor and control the drives remotely via the Internet or an intranet using a new ABB technology called DriveWeb. This can transmit warnings of fault conditions, and allow users to stop and start the drives and set parameters from a PC or WAP phone.

Ahola argues that the flexibility of the new design could mark the breakthrough for motor-drive combinations. "We believe this is a door-opener," he says. "It can be used in environments where other drives cannot be used." ABB, he adds, wants to make the ACS 160 the industry standard. Prices will be similar to previous motor-drives but the ACS160 offers more features.