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You don’t always get what you pay for – sometimes you get more

Author : David Hughes, ABB

08 March 2021

When making any purchase, price clearly matters. However, when it comes to variable speed drives (VSDs) and electric motors, as ABB’s David Hughes explains, the price tag does not always reflect what is included with your purchase.

There are many factors to consider when engaging a VSD and electric motor supplier. Reliability, efficiency and ease of use of both the product and the supplier are critical factors. But, for many, the overriding factor often comes down to price, based on capital (capex) and operating (opex) expenditures. When comparing two VSDs or motors with similar technical specifications, it can be tempting to opt for the lowest price. However, this can overlook the many value-added services that manufacturers make available to users, not only before the equipment is installed and commissioned, but, more importantly, throughout its lifetime. Certain services are sometimes not widely known, which is why it is important to consider your options carefully, as they could end up being a key differentiator.

Local stockholding, availability, delivery and support

Nobody wants to be kept waiting for a VSD or motor to arrive. If the VSD is a replacement, or is intended for use in a critical application, any delay can have big implications on productivity. Using a company with an established UK distribution network can mean a wider choice of VSD and motor types and ratings available off the shelf, along with rapid delivery – but your provider must offer more than just good products and efficient delivery. 

To get the most out of any application, the VSD and motor need to be installed, commissioned and maintained to the highest levels and to the standards of the original manufacturer. Many companies can service VSDs, but not all will have official accreditation to do so for a particular brand. 

An accredited network, therefore, brings some guarantees that other channels cannot provide. The network is specially trained and supported to provide expertise for a particular manufacturer, while a solid infrastructure with trusted suppliers can ensure that only approved equipment and parts are used. A manufacturer that maintains a network of local providers can ensure that field engineers are up to date with all the latest product developments, legislation and best practices, ultimately ensuring a better service for customers. 

Remote condition monitoring

Once installed and commissioned, the uptime of the VSD and motor is of paramount importance. Today's VSDs and motors have come a long way and are no longer "dumb" standalone devices. They are now an integral player within an intelligent powertrain comprising VSDs, motors, bearings and the load itself. 

Read the full article in the March issue of DPA.

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