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Simple, compact drive has hidden power

01 September, 2004

Simple, compact drive has hidden power

Control Techniques has unveiled a new generation of its Commander family of general-purpose drives. The Commander SK drives are typically 50% smaller than the previous SK generation, launched in 2000, but are much more powerful.

The new drive has been designed to be easy to use, with just ten parameters needed for the vast majority of standard uses. But, for more demanding applications, it also allows access to more than 600 parameters.

"It`s probably the simplest drive in the general-purpose market," declares Phil Sewell, CT`s executive vice-president for sales and marketing, "but there`s a big drive inside waiting to get out".

CT has spent two years developing the new drive, which is aimed at the $3bn global market for general-purpose drives for applications such as pumps and fans. This is the biggest sector of the drives market, and is expanding by about 5% every year.

Although the SK is designed to be a "simple and compact" drive, it incorporates many sophisticated features including dynamic braking, PID control, EMC filters as standard, removable keypads, closed-loop and positioning control, and a large memory.

Initially, the drive is available in ratings up to 4kW, with those below 1.5kW having a DIN-rail-mounting format. Next year, the range will be extended up to 110kW.

Despite its compact size, the new drive offers five digital inputs, one digital output, 4-20mA or 0-10V analogue inputs, two relays, a 0-10V analogue output, a 24V back-up, and Modbus RTU, as standard. Options available via plug-in modules include extra I/O and an encoder speed reference that takes a signal from a simple quadrature encoder for basic closed-loop speed control and positioning.

A timer I/O module with a real-time clock allows simple task scheduling, while PLC functions can be implemented on-board by using a plug-in device known as the LogicStick. Another plug-in memory device, the SmartStick, can copy parameters from one drive to another.

The larger SK drives accept the same plug-in fieldbus modules as CT`s more sophisticated Undrive SP. The protocols supported include Profibus-DP, DeviceNet, CANbus, CANopen, Interbus, CTNet and Ethernet - encompassing Modbus TCP/IP, Ethernet IP and HSE. A three-line remote display originally developed for Unidrive SP also works with the Commander SK.

According to Dr Bill Drury, CT`s executive vice-president for technology, the SK takes just 35.6ms to recover from a 100% shock load. "This is an incredible performance for something intended mainly for pumps and fans," he declares.

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