22 Jul 2024


Customisable drives can be configured from a smartphone

Lenze's i500 inverters have a modular construction, allowing users to tailor them to an application

The German automation manufacturer Lenze has announced a family of customisable frequency inverters that users can configure from their smartphones. Lenze says that the functions and power of the i500 inverters can be tailored to almost any application or environment. The drives comply with the IE2 VSD efficiency class (as defined in the new EN 50598-2 standard), and cover the power range 0.25–45kW.

Lenze has been looking at ways to make it easier to set up VSDs, especially for people with limited technical knowledge. “One has to bear in mind that settings for vector control are quite challenging, because this control can quickly become unstable,” points out the company’s director of innovation, Frank Maier. “There is a shortage of skilled workers, so it is increasingly difficult to find people who can handle such difficult tasks and therefore we must make technology so easy that anyone can master it.”

Unlike some other manufacturers, Lenze has chosen not to use electronic nameplates on motors. “The production costs of standard three-phase AC motors cannot cover an electronic component that costs €5–10,” Maier argues. “Today, however, we have RFID chips, which can be easily installed in the conventional nameplate – they cost only 10 cents and can be read out with NFC (near-field communications).

“We use an NFC-capable smartphone, download the motor parameters via the Lenze app and import them into the i500 using wireless LAN – and that’s it!

“Once the inverter has the motor data, it can switch into a more efficient mode,” he adds. This can be done by adjusting the magnetising current to a partial load, for example – something which Lenze has already done with the VFCeco function in its Smart Motor.

The i500 drives offer a choice of commissioning techniques. As well as the smartphone app, users can use a software tool called Engineer, or a plug-in wireless LAN module that can save time when control cabinets are located in awkward locations and cable connections would be difficult. The WLAN module can communicate with a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

The i500 range comes in two variants. The i510 is aimed at single- or three-phase applications up to 2.2kW. The dimensionally identical i550 has a three-phase extension up to 45kW. It also offers extended functions – for example, a DC bus connection, a plug-in STO option and dynamic braking.

To achieve functional scalability, the i500’s power section is separate from the control section, which snaps onto it and supports various forms of communication, including Ethernet, multiple I/O interfaces, and plug-in options for keypads, USB ports or the wireless LAN module. Users can order an i500 with precisely the features that they need.

A special cooling system reduces heat losses and allows the drives to be installed side-by-side, thus cutting wiring and cabinet space. Up to 11kW, the i500 series fits into flat “150 model” control cabinets. Keyhole mountings and spring terminals simplify installation.

“Lenze set out to bundle cutting-edge control technologies into a customisable, IE2-compliant package for machine-builders,” says Darrow Hanesian, Lenze’s director of product management. To minimise energy consumption, the drives incorporate the latest IGBT technology, steplessly controlled fans, and active balancing of intermediate circuit voltages.