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Twin-pronged attack on the general drives market

01 January, 2004

Twin-pronged attack on the general drives market

Siemens has launched a pair of variable speed drives aimed at boosting its penetration of the general-purpose drives market. The new models - both members of the Sinamics family -- are an entry-level single-phase device with UK prices starting at under £71, and a converter for applications such as pumps and fans, which Siemens claims is the quietest and smallest of its type.

The G110 single-phase drive (shown above) covers applications from 0.12-3kW and is designed to be a simple, lower-cost complement to Siemens` existing Micromaster 4 range, rather than a replacement. There are two versions - one with an analogue input, the other with a RS-485 communications interface, designed for use with the company`s S7-200 PLCs. A plug-on keypad allows parameters to be "cloned" from one drive to another.

Steve Barker, Siemens` UK drives manager, says the low price of the G110 means that "we`re almost moving into the domestic market". The company is increasingly supplying drives for non-industrial applications, such as moving billboards and exercising machines. Barker points out that in many applications, the new drives, combined with three-phase motors, can have lower lifecycle costs than fixed-speed single-speed motors.

The G110 is being built for the global market at Siemens` Congleton plant in Cheshire, UK. Barker expects about 150,000 of the drives to be produced this year, taking Congleton`s total drives output up from 350,000-400,000 to around 500,000.

The second new product, the Sinamics G150, is a cabinet drive aimed at simpler applications than Siemens` existing MasterDrive "engineered" drives. "We haven`t had a simple, general-purpose drive before," says Barker, adding that for many applications the MasterDrives are over-specified. Initially, the range spans ratings from 75-800kW and this will be extended later.

Like the G110, the G150 comes in two versions - a simple, lower-cost model aimed at applications such as HVAC, and a version that comes complete with items such as isolators and contactors. Both offer Profibus as standard for the first time in a Siemens drive.

At full power, the G150 is said to generate a typical noise level of just 72dB, avoiding the need for soundproofing. Siemens claims that if the power connection components are fitted in a central low-voltage system, space savings of up to 70% are possible.

Barker reports that there are signs of a pick-up in the UK drives market. He says that three months into the new financial year, Siemens` sales are "well ahead" of the same time last year.

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