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April 8, 2009

Mtg: Shaft Grounding – Sustainable Motors in VFD Applications

by @ 2:04 pm. Filed under ALL, Electrical/Power

THURSDAY May 21, 2009
OEB Industry Applications Chapter
Speaker: Adam Willwerth, Electro Static Technology
Time: Social at 5:30 PM; Presentation at 6:15 PM; Dinner at 7:15 PM; Presentation continues at 8:00 PM
Cost: $20 for IEEE members; $25 for non-members
Place: Marie Callender’s Restaurant – The Garden Room, 2090 Diamond Blvd, Concord
RSVP: by May 20 by email to Gregg Boltz,, (925) 210-2571

With the rising cost of energy, the use of variable frequency drives (VFDs) is growing at an increasing rate, especially in “Green” building design and manufacturing.? While VFDs provide the energy savings required in green buildings, the system can not be truly considered “green” unless it is designed for sustainability.? Shaft grounding in VFD driven motors adds the critical sustainability component in system design.
By optimizing the frequency of a three-phase alternating-current (AC) induction motor’s voltage supply, a VFD controls the motor’s speed and torque while providing substantial energy savings.? But the currents induced on motor shafts by VFDs can wreak havoc with motor bearings, dramatically shortening motor life and severely diminishing the reliability of systems.? To mitigate these currents and realize the full potential of VFDs, a cost-effective method of shaft grounding is essential.
Already common in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, pumping, and industrial automation systems, VFDs are catching on in many other applications as they become smaller and more powerful, more reliable, easier to program, and less expensive.? But to prevent these energy savings from being wiped out in a single system failure, VFD/motor systems must be designed for reliability and trouble-free operation.
While VFDs are not without certain drawbacks, these can now be easily overcome.? Whether used to save energy or increase the accuracy of process control, VFDs only achieve their full potential when carefully matched to the application and installed with appropriate safeguards such as motor-shaft grounding rings that protect bearings from VFD-induced damaging shaft currents.

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