Drives and Controls Magazine
Efficient drives are designed to be easy to set up and use
Published:  06 May, 2014

At the recent Hannover Fair, ABB announced a general-purpose drive designed to be simple to specify, commission, operate and maintain. The wall-mounting ACS580 drive is said to be “virtually plug-in-ready” and can be set up “in minutes”. It can be used to control pumps, fans, conveyors, mixers and other variable and basic constant-torque applications.

The drive covers the power range 0.75–250kW and the voltage range 208–480V. It can be used with various motors, including high-efficiency permanent magnet types. Initially, the drive will be available with IP21 enclosures, with IP55 versions due to be added later in 2014.

An energy optimiser function maximises torque per ampere and reduces the energy drawn from the supply. Built-in energy-saving calculators show savings in energy, money and CO2 emissions compared to other motor control methods, while kWh counters monitor hourly, daily and cumulative energy consumption.

In pumping applications, a sleep mode can raise levels or pressures for short periods to save energy. A flying-start function catches a running motor with long freewheeling times, while motor noise can be reduced by spreading switching frequencies over a user-specified range. Higher frequencies reduce motor noise at low loads, without limiting full current at maximum load.

A wide range of built-in functions reduce the need for external components, extra cabling and space. A second-generation swinging choke technology with a small, lightweight design helps to reduce harmonics. Also built-in are EMC filters, brake choppers, Modbus RTU ports, a safe torque-off function and a PID controller.

ABB's ACS580 drive is "plug-in ready"

The drives can be expanded using plug-in modules, including analogue and digital I/O modules, and fieldbus adapters that can be mounted inside the drive.

Built-in “assistants” speed up commissioning, while menus are clearly named by function ­– such as motor, ramp and limit settings. An I/O menu shows how the electrical terminals are configured and gives quick access to related terminal settings, such as filtering, scaling, delay or function selections.

A PC tool called Drive Composer provides monitoring and process-tuning functions. In addition to a free entry-level version, there is an advanced version with graphical control diagrams that help to set up the drive’s logic.