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Low-harmonics drives can cut iTHD below 30% in HVAC apps

23 October, 2013

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek Drives will unveil a dedicated low-harmonics drive for building services applications at the SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany in November. The Optidrive HVAC Eco drive has been designed to minimise harmonics on the mains supply created by non-linear loads, such as AC drives, thus improving performance and efficiency.

Harmonic currents can cause power quality problems and are subject to increasing regulation and legislation around the world. Invertek says that, in most cases, the new drive will reduce harmonic current distortion to less than 30% iTHD (total harmonic current distortion), while increasing efficiency by reducing input current levels and avoiding the need for extra components such as AC line chokes.

“Minimising harmonic distortion at its source removes the need for additional equipment, resulting in significant cost and energy savings,” says Invertek’s technical manager, Kes Beech.

The drives are aimed at fan and pump applications in buildings, such as fire safety, air conditioning and stairwell pressure systems. Set-up and commissioning are said to be easy, even for advanced applications.

The new drives comply with the European standard EN 61000-3-12 which encourages users to monitor harmonics produced on their sites and to minimise the effects. The drives also help to ensure compliance with other global and national standards, such as IEEE 519, and G5/4 in the UK.

EN 61000-3-12 is particularly important in the European building services market. It covers drives with input currents from 16–75A and requires users to seek permission from their electricity suppliers to connect equipment that will create high levels of harmonic current distortion. The low-harmonics drives can be installed without needing to consult the supplier.

Invertek's HVAC Eco drive has been designed to tackle harmonics problems

The drives have been designed to work with permanent magnet and synchronous reluctance motors, as well as traditional induction motors, bringing extra energy savings.

“We invest a significant amount of resource into our innovation R&D programme to ensure our drives address the issues that matter most to our customers,” says Beech. “HVAC Eco has been designed to work with the latest IE4 motors, ensuring it is future-proofed and viable on a global scale.”

AT SPS, Invertek will be launching the new drives in sizes 3 (protected to IP66), 4 and 5 (IP55). Other sizes will follow in 2014.




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