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Advanced Engineering 2021

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

Join us in our 12th and most important edition to date, as we invite engineers and management from all (more)

Advances in drives technology

Back in 1968 when Danfoss launched the world's first production drives, dc drives were the workhorse of industry but used for fewer and simpler applications than drives are today. Advances in technology have completely swung this around and dc drives are very much the minority product with ac drives being more widely applied than ever before. The sale of AC variable speed drives is now measured in hundreds of thousands and back in the early days a real breakthrough would be the sale of one or two pieces.

In recent years technology has evolved to a point where it has become necessary to address subtly different areas of applications. We no longer operate in a one-size-fits-all market; pumps, fans, food & beverage machinery and so forth are being targeted with dedicated solutions. 

Today, customers are increasingly focusing on integrated solutions. Fans, pumps, compressors, industrial applications, hardware and software are expected to merge seamlessly; exchanging data in real-time to enable end users to optimize energy efficiency and increase their cost savings. Integration is the next big thing, and judging by the theme of this year's Hannover Fair, "integrated industry", there is little doubt that customers will be treated to innovative solutions from all corners of our industry, which push the boundaries of what can be achieved when hardware and software are combined intelligently. 

However, not all customers are necessarily interested in being locked into a proprietary system. Danfoss EC+ concept is an example of a concept that allows owners to integrate a drive with a motor of their own choice to run their preferred direct drive fan. This enables them to achieve higher system-wide savings than using a solution based on an EC motor with integrated electronics attached to a fan. 

To meet the new needs of customers, the software platform in an industrial drive must enable modules to be integrated rapidly into the common hardware platform. Danfoss has opted for a platform driven approach, which draws on the strengths of a common platform right across the product ranges; which can be customized to meet new demands quickly with intelligent software. Others manufacturers have different preferences, but for customers being able to purchase dedicated solutions for HVAC, water/wastewater and refrigeration applications; the advantages for both their business and the environment cannot be overlooked.

Although it certainly seems like we are moving towards a new space-age technological era within drives and controls, let us not forget that so many good technologies already exist. Depending on who you ask, the number of ac motors in Europe currently controlled by frequency converters is in the 10-15% range. Imagine the impact on energy consumption and CO2 emissions by simply connecting a frequency converter to a non-controlled motor. 

In a recent project a major UK supermarket chain retrofitted each of their stores' air handling units with a Danfoss frequency converter. On average each unit has reduced its energy consumption by 90%. 

This is an example of an approach that we at Danfoss call "Solutions Ready", meaning that excellent and easy to implement energy saving solutions are available now. 

So while we all busy creating more technologically advanced products that might not be profitable for years, we shouldn't lose sight of the simple solutions right in front of us. This is not just a good strategy. Looking at the big picture it is common sense.

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