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Have you done a winter health check?

01 January, 2024

With temperatures plummeting, Liam Blackshaw, ABB’s UK product manager for LV drives, explains how you can make sure your drives are in the right condition to survive the colder months.

A typical VSD (variable-speed drive) operating within its rated limits can last for many years. If anything, drives prefer cold weather to very hot weather, and modern VSDs are typically rated to operate without issue in even the most extreme temperatures typically found in the UK. 

That said, winter is a time of year when any unexpected downtime can be particularly inconvenient. An equipment failure in the depths of winter may mean that critical processes are more exposed to disruption, and repairs may be difficult to arrange quickly. It is therefore arguably a good time to check that you and your drives are well-prepared for whatever the British winter has in store.

Drives require very little in the way of field maintenance, but failing to perform basic checks at regular intervals throughout a device’s lifetime can have a significant impact on its longevity. Start with a visual health check – specifically looking at fans and filters: are they blocked? Do they need replacing? Terminals can also be checked for tightness, but do not over-tighten. Drives situated near to vibrating equipment will be more likely to require attention.

Everything you need to know will be in the manual. Reputable manufacturers will recommend that you carry out certain maintenance functions once a year, or after a particular number of years of service.

Make sure that you follow this advice if you want to take the best care of your drives, and always make sure that the servicing is carried out either by the manufacturer or by an approved third party.

Beyond that, proper drive care is more about considering the environment in which your drives operate. Are fluctuating temperatures likely to be an issue? Dew points? Should your drives be left powered on to prevent frost? Are anti-condensation heaters functioning properly? Is the drive situated in a particularly dirty, dusty or corrosive environment? These issues will usually have relatively straightforward solutions. Reconditioning may also be an option for drives which are ageing, or operating in harsher conditions.

Ensuring that scheduled maintenance is carried out is vitally important to keep your drive in the best of health. Components such as capacitors and fans have a finite lifespan, and will need replacing after a certain number of years as specified by the manufacturer. If a drive is operating in harsh conditions, this may need to be more frequent. Implementing a lifecycle assessment is an easy way of ensuring that all of your drives’ maintenance needs are documented and up-to-date, and provide alerts when scheduled maintenance is required.


For more information about ABB’s Life Cycle Assessment for Drives service, visit:

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