Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are devices that regulate the operation of a motor by varying the frequency and voltage levels of the electrical input. They are found in countless electromechanical systems, ranging from home appliances to industrial equipment.
Similar to other electrical and electronic components, VFDs require proper and regular maintenance to ensure they offer consistent and reliable performance. The following article discusses some of the key considerations and benefits regarding preventative maintenance for variable frequency drives.
An Overview of Preventative Maintenance for VFDs
When using variable frequency drives, it is important to keep in mind the following tips:
- Keep them clean
- Keep them dry
- Keep connections tight
Keeping VFDs clean and dry and their connections secure can result in better system performance and fewer unanticipated repair and replacement needs. However, even if all of these requirements are fully met, component and complete system failure can occur as a result of many other reasons (e.g., component aging or adverse operating conditions such as excessive temperatures or loads). As such, preventative maintenance is still essential to ensuring a motorized system remains in working order throughout the duration of its expected service life.
Preventative maintenance operations should occur periodically—e.g., for low-voltage VFDs, maintenance should occur at least once a year. Some of the activities that appear on typical checklists include:
- Visually inspecting the device
- Removing dust and debris using dry compressed air
- Checking connections for proper tightness
- Setting up a replacement schedule for consumable parts
Benefits of Performing Preventative Maintenance on VFDs
By performing regular preventative maintenance on VFDs, industry professionals experience a number of benefits, such as:
Longer Service Lives in VFDs
Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance programs help industry professionals identify potential operational issues before they cause component or system failure. As a result, they help enhance the reliability and extend the life of essential equipment, including VFDs.
Better Performance from VFDs
Preventative maintenance ensures VFDs operate as intended for longer periods of time. This greater reliability also translates to better control and operational capacities, which allows the devices to accommodate a wider range of applicational requirements without risk of failure.
Bigger Cost Savings Over Time
Investing in regular preventative maintenance operations saves money in several ways. First, it reduces the need for unplanned repair and replacement costs. Second, it lowers the chance of the device requiring complete replacement. Third, it minimizes the amount of time a piece of equipment is out of commission and, consequently, the amount of money lost during downtime. Fourth, some state and local agencies offer incentives for regular VFD usage and maintenance.
Preventative Maintenance Support from Renown Electric
VFD performance can be mapped using a good quality oscilloscope and compared over time to look for variations in the performance of the drive, input power and output signal. These signals when compared to the optimized set up can indicate early signs of failure such as weakening capacitors, transformer issues, load and line reactor issues, or early warning of motor insulation issues. Variable frequency drives play a critical role in many motorized devices, equipment, and systems. For this reason, it is essential to maintain them properly and regularly to ensure they remain in working order for the entirety of their projected service lives or longer. If you need assistance keeping your VFDs in excellent operational condition, Renown Electric is here to help.
At Renown Electric, we specialize in the repair and servicing of electric motors. Armed with over three decades of experience in motor repairs and maintenance, we have the knowledge and skills necessary to keep your motorized equipment up and running. Our Total Care Support Cost plan allows you to rely on our experts for all of your predictive and preventative maintenance and support needs at a reasonable fixed cost.
Contact Us today for additional information about our maintenance services and how they can benefit your facility.