23 Jul 2024


ABB aims to win 25% of UK drives market by 2005

ABB aims to win 25% of UK drives market by 2005

ABB believes that it can capture a quarter of the £100m UK drives market, and more than a third of the £10m HVAC market, by 2005. It is basing these predictions largely on the arrival of its new generation of standard drives and the launch of a dedicated drive for the HVAC sector.

At present, ABB says it has 16% of the global drives market and 18% of the UK market – more than twice as much as its nearest rival. James Haigh (above), the company`s senior vice-president for drives, is confident that he can double ABB`s UK drives business, in monetary terms, within two years. “We are aiming for a 25% total market share, across all industries by 2005,” he says.

He reports that that after a “flat” drives business during 2002-2003, there are now signs of an upturn and he is expecting about 3% of growth during 2003-2004.

In the two years since ABB started selling directly to the HVAC market (rather than via its former specialist distributor, Alldales), it claims to have boosted its share of this sector from 5% to 20% and to have completed projects worth more than £2m. “We are well on our way to capturing 35% of the market by 2005, becoming number one in drives for HVAC,” says Mike Carman, ABB`s HVAC sales manager.

His confidence is based on initial reaction to ABB`s first dedicated drive for the HVAC sector. The new drive, based on the same platform as the new general-purpose drive, has been designed specifically to run fans and centrifugal pumps in applications such as air-handling and chilling.

The drive, tailored to meet the demands of a panel of HVAC users around the world, is said to be particularly easy to specify and commission. Buyers have just four choices to make: operating voltage; power (0.75-355kW); protection (IP21 or IP54); and current or voltage control.

There are three “wizards” built into the drives. The first helps users to commission the drive; the second helps to diagnose any problems; while the third gives guidance on maintenance. Users can choose one of 14 application macros which set up the drive for duties such as controlling extract fans or cooling towers.

The standard and HVAC drives both incorporate a patent-pending technology called a “swinging DC choke”, designed to reduce total harmonic distortion by up to 25% at partial loads. Unlike standard chokes, which work best at full loads, the impedance of the new choke varies with the load. This could, for example, allow more drives to be installed before the G5/4 harmonics limits are hit.

The HVAC drive is also designed to operate as a small building management system, using a built-in real-time clock which allows users to schedule activities for different times of the day or week. A kWh calculator can monitor energy consumption and users can also set limits for running hours or motor rotation.

Globally, the HVAC market is the biggest single drives application, representing 12% of sales, and growing by 5% each year. ABB claims to have 30% of the US HVAC market and has set itself the goal of being one the top two HVAC drives suppliers in every European country.