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10 facts about variable-speed drives

Think you know everything about variable-speed drives? Our 10 fascinating facts may make you think again!

1. An electric motor control system invented by Harry Ward Leonard in 1891 is seen as the first variable-speed drive.

2. Variable-speed drives were for many years seen as a means of boosting productivity. They are now installed mainly with energy-efficiency and carbon reduction in mind.

3. 95% of motors in UK industry are oversized and therefore not running efficiently.

4. Variable-speed drives offer users energy savings of up to 60%.

5. Return on investment from using a variable-speed drive can be achieved in as little as six months.

6. Along with cutting energy consumption, VSDs also reduce wear and tear on machinery, resulting in lower maintenance costs.

7. The installed base of ABB drives saves an estimated 180 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

8. Direct torque control (DTC), an advance in drives technology, was developed in the 1980s and provides high efficiency and lower losses.

9. If the full potential of variable-speed drives was realised in UK industry, energy cost savings of up to £2.5 billion could be made within the next five years.

10. The total global energy-saving potential of variable-speed drives is 500 terawatt-hours (TWh), or 3.2% of the world’s electricity generation.


As an ABB Authorised Value Provider, there isn’t much we don’t know about variable-speed drives, so give us a call on 01621 868138 or email and one of our experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Variable-Speed Drives

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