Drives and Controls Magazine
Soft-starts talk to smartphones, even when they are off
Published:  08 August, 2016

The Italian controls manufacturer Lovato Electric has developed a range of soft-starters that can be configured and interrogated wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet, even when they are not powered up. The ADXL series initially covers ratings from to 15–55kW, and will be expanded up to 160kW.

The soft-starters can communicate using either built-in NFC (near-field communications) wireless technology or an optional Wi-Fi dongle. With NFC, users can program parameters and save settings remotely via an Android app. Another app, available for IoS and Android, communicates via Wi-Fi, and allows users to configure the soft-starts, view alarms, send commands, read measurements and send the data via email. The starters can also communicate with PCs.

A built-in “wizard” guides users through the set-up process in four easy steps to set the motor current, application and starter duty. As well as this easy “plug-and-play” approach, the soft-starts can be configured for use in applications that are more demanding in terms of control and performance.

A built-in backlit display includes icons to set up default applications such as pumps, conveyors, fans and mixers. The display can also show alarms and messages, as well as parameters including energy use, motor and starter temperatures, torque, currents and power factor.

Lovato's soft-starters offer a choice of wireless communications technologies

Two–phase control during starting and stopping, combined with torque control during operation, are said to reduce thermal power dissipation and wear-and-tear on power transmission devices. An internal bypass minimises energy consumption after start-up.

Built-in functions protect the motor and starter continuously.