Drives and Controls Magazine

Vacon to build drives for Rockwell

01 November, 2002

The Finnish drives-maker Vacon has signed a deal to manufacture variable speed drives for Rockwell Automation. The first products from this deal are expected to emerge in the spring of 2003.

The two companies formed a "collaborative product development relationship" earlier this year to work on high-power and high-performance drives. They plan to develop a range of products that will combine Vacon`s expertise in high-power electronics and software-controlled frequency converters, with Rockwell`s expertise in high-performance drives and automation.

The agreement covers both standard drives in the range 1-1,500kW and systems drives in the range 75-1,500kW.

The relationship "combines the strength of the two market-leading companies," says Rockwell senior vice-president, Theodore Crandall. "This collaboration will take advantage of the collective expertise in high-performance AC motor control and large power structure design to expand both companies` positions in the AC drives market."

The deal will enhance Vacon`s global presence, especially in North America. The company already produces badged products for Cutler-Hammer.

According to Vacon president Vesa Laisi, the Rockwell drives will be based on his company`s existing VX modular inverter platform "but will have a few added bells and whistles".

At its annual Automation Fair in California in November, Rockwell launched two new AC drives ranges, the 0.37-112kW PowerFlex 700, which offers vector control as an option using an interchangeable "cassette", and the sub-7.5kW PowerFlex 40 which provides sensorless vector control to deliver low-speed torque. Other launches at the Fair included: an Ethernet interface module that allows computers to access Allen-Bradley controllers; an enhanced version of the MCS (Modular Control System) for motor protection and control, now spanning ratings from 5-1,200A; MachineAlert relays for sophisticated machine monitoring; and an expanded range of terminal blocks.