Today, electric motors have become ubiquitous in industry as well as everyday life. As the have become more and more common, their applications have become more diverse. These diverse applications call on specialized ways to control and harness the power of the motor.
To understand a drive, you must first understand how a motor works. Unlike a gasoline or diesel engine, which can vary it’s output by how much air/fuel is supplied. An electric motor, or most any electric device will consume 100% of the amperage available to it at any given moment. Electric motors instantly run a wide-open-throttle, this is why a Tesla at “ludicrous Mode” will wax almost any car off the line. Internal combustion engines must build torque to gain speed, electric motors have it instantly.
Check out a 3D Model of an ABB AC Drive:
With both internal combustion and electric motors power is often modulated on the OUTPUT through a gearbox or transmission. A car needs a transmission because the max power is at a very specific RPM, and the transmission helps it get there as quickly as possible. The same applies to electric motors, making a smoother application of power, but it is inefficient. There is a lot of wasted energy in the system. What if you could modulate the INPUT power to the motor? Thusly reducing the need for a transmission and increasing the efficacy of the system. That’s exactly what a drive is!
What is a drive? Watch the video to learn more
From ABB: Our drives, also sometime called variable speed drives (VSD) or variable frequency drive (VFD), let you run your motors at the speed or with the torque that we required for each process. This is how you can make big savings. But how do drives work?
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