AC Drives 101: What Is It, Applications, Benefits

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An AC drive is an essential component for controlling the speed and efficiency of an electric motor. Growing demand worldwide for energy-efficient process flows means that AC drives are more important than ever to the future of process controls. Here we’ll discuss the features, benefits, and applications of AC drives in more detail.


What Is an AC Drive?

An AC drive is a device utilized to control the speed of an electric motor. It is also known as a variable frequency drive, variable speed drive, and adjustable speed drive.

The AC drive controls the speed by changing the frequency of the electrical supply to the corresponding motor. Motor speed changes proportionally to the frequency. AC drives accomplish the following objectives:

  • Improve process control
  • Minimize mechanical stress on motor control systems
  • Conserve energy
  • Optimize the overall operation of the application


AC Drive Benefits

Here are the advantages of an AC drive:

  • Energy efficiency. AC drives minimize peak energy demands by drawing more power from the motor. In many applications, AC drives can save as much as 50% in energy expenses.
  • Versatility. An AC drive controls more than just motor speed. Additional features include multi-use programmability and self-diagnostics. AC drives can also operate in hazardous environments like petrochemical plants, where DC drives are unsuitable.
  • Power factor. With light loading, motors tend to have poor power factors. AC drives increase the power factor in these applications and remove the need for utility power factor charges or correction capacitors.
  • Reduced stress. AC drives precisely control starting and stopping, which reduces mechanical wear throughout the system.
  • Compact size. An AC drive is smaller and lighter than other motor control methods.


Common Applications

AC drives are widely used in applications across many industries. Common uses for AC drives include:

  • Custom machinery and tooling
  • Bottle washers
  • Wire drawing
  • Labelers
  • Lathes
  • Grinders
  • Stamping presses
  • Blowers
  • Fans
  • Compressors
  • Pumps
  • Cranes
  • Conveyors
  • Screws
  • Chains
  • Material handlers
  • Extruders
  • Blenders
  • Grinders
  • Agitators
  • Kilns

TECO Westinghouse AC Drives at GIE

TECO Westinghouse is a top-quality supplier of AC and DC motors and generators. For over 100 years, TECO Westinghouse has been a leader in motor design and application. Gainesville Industrial Electric is a certified distributor of TECO Westinghouse products, which include a comprehensive line of both low voltage and medium voltage AC drives. We carry top brands like Mitsubishi and Worldwide Electric to ensure our customers have robust, reliable drives for their critical applications.


Contact Our Experts for Your AC Drive Needs

AC drives are the most reliable and energy-efficient method to control electric motor speeds. For high-quality AC drives to control the speed of your motors, consult with the experts at Gainesville Industrial Electric. Our team can help you select the best option for your application. We provide same-day shipping for all products in stock.

Contact us to learn more about AC drives, or request more information about our other products.



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