25 Jul 2024


The power of adaptive programming

You may not be familiar with the term, “adaptive programming”. But, as Andy Preston, ABB’s UK drives product manager, explains, it can be a lifesaver in some VSD applications, helping to resolve technical challenges and to cut costs.

When buying a variable speed-drive (VSD), make sure

it comes with something called “adaptive” programming.

Adaptive programming does not have anything to do with controlling the motor, but can take the place of relays, timers, thermostats and external devices normally installed around a VSD in a control panel. This increases drive integration and saves the end-user real money. It can affect the price of a project being bid, reducing the cost of the items in your panels.

Adaptive programming, when used together with a drive’s many unused digital I/O, replaces the need for the mini-PLC – and it’s free! It avoids the need to fit remote I/O into cabinets. Adaptive programming provides the flexibility needed for panel-builders, OEMs or end-users to adapt a VSD by programming it to meet particular situations.

For instance, if you do not want a drive to start until a valve is open, traditionally relays have been used to inhibit the motor start. Now, by creating a specific adaptive programme, the decision on when to open the valve and start the motor is made within the drive, eliminating the relay, the wiring cost, the drawing room time, and the wireman’s time and materials.

This is the beauty of adaptive programming. It is a lifesaver – a get-out-of-jail-free card for many installations! It can help to resolve technical hallenges retrospectively.

For instance, one UK water utility tried an emergency-stop shutdown on a new set of pumps, but the harshness of the stop caused the building to vibrate. Using adaptive programming, the drive was coded to detect stop situations and to come to rest more steadily, as well as recovering from a black start. Without adaptive programming, the cabinets would have needed to be
re-wired and the project delays would have been hugely expensive