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Variable speed starters – Eaton’s latest option for motor control

30 November 2014

Eaton has developed an option for motor control – the Variable Speed Starter (VSS) - combining the simplicity of a conventional fixed-speed starter with ability to vary the speed of the motor.

VSSs, of which Eaton’s new PowerXL DE1 products are the first to reach the market, provide machine and system builders with a highly reliable and cost-effective alternative for motor control that will be particularly useful for helping them to increase energy efficiency in applications where fixed-speed starters were previously used.

“The Energy related Products (ErP) Directive and the growing levels of machine automation are leading to the increased use of variable speed drives, even in comparatively simple applications,” said Guido Kerzmann, product line manager at Eaton, Electrical Sector EMEA.

“In many of these applications, however, particularly those involving pumps and fans, VSDs offer too much complexity and functionality, but ordinary motor starters provide no control over speed. Our new VSSs are the ideal solution for these applications where only limited functionality is needed, as they are very simple to use, yet they offer full speed control.”

Eaton’s VSSs are also a valuable new solution to ensure standards compliance in constant-speed applications where IE2 motors have to be used as IE3 motors cannot be physically accommodated. Other applications where VSSs provide significant benefits include those involving very high start frequencies and those where there is a high thermal load on the motor.

Eaton is currently offering PowerXL DE1 VSSs in two sizes; the 45mm wide slim-line version is suitable for use with motors up to 1.5kW, while the 90mm wide model can be used with motors from 2.2 to 7.5kW. Both models have internal motor protection functions as well as motor thermistor and short-circuit protection.

No specialist knowledge is needed to install, commission and use the new VSSs, as they have been designed for straightforward “out of the box” operation without the need for adjustments or parameter setting. This means that they require up to 80 percent less commissioning time than conventional VSDs.

Eaton PowerXL DE1 VSSs have been specifically designed to provide maximum availability. They offer, for example, trip-free operation that detects regenerative energy fed back from the motor and automatically allows for this. They also provide a dc braking function prior to start up, which is particularly useful in fan applications, and they have the ability to reduce switching frequency to ensure that critical device temperatures are not exceeded. An automatic restart function ensures continuous motor operation after a fault.

While the standard settings will be suitable in the vast majority of cases, for special applications Eaton offers a universal plug-in configuration tool that allows key parameters, including ramp time, motor protection and terminal arrangement, to be set using no tools other than an ordinary screwdriver.

Alternatively, the PowerXL DE1 VSSs can be configured using external keypads with an LED or OLED display and buttons, or the Eaton drives Connect software. Parameters can also be copied from one device to another via Bluetooth.

PowerXL DE1 VSSs have a Modbus interface as standard, and they can be easily integrated with Eaton’s innovative SmartWire-DT wiring system, which cuts panel wiring time by up to 70% compared with conventional wiring.

Designed for use in even the most demanding of industrial environments, PowerXL DE1 VSSs have an operating temperature range of -10ºC to +60ºC. They comply fully with CE, UL, cUL and cTick requirements, making them suitable for use worldwide.

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