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5 things to consider when selecting a variable-speed drive

In order to achieve precision electric motor control and maximise energy efficiency, a variable-speed drive (VSD) is essential in many applications. However, there’s plenty to think about when choosing a VSD, so we’ve chosen five things you should consider before placing your order.

Why are you fitting a variable-speed drive?

Think about what you want your VSD to achieve – is it to improve energy efficiency or enhance productivity? The reason you should consider this is that in some applications, reducing energy consumption can be detrimental to productivity, especially in processes that run constantly.

What environment will the drive be operating in?

Consider ways in which your drive may need to be protected from hazards such as:

  • Heat (ensure adequate ventilation and cooling)
  • Dust (make sure drive is properly sealed)
  • Volatile substances (allow only chemical-resistant materials)
  • Moisture (ask your supplier about condensation protection)

Are diagnostics important to you?

VSDs come with a range of diagnostic capabilities, either built in or available as software.

What are the torque demands of the application?

Overcurrent faults will cause the VSD to trip, so consider whether loads will be difficult to start when sizing your drive.

Is your power source reliable?

This tends to be a less common issue in the UK, but if your system is vulnerable to power cuts then ensure your drive can cope with a brief outage while switched to a standby source such as a generator.

Gibbons are an Authorized Value Provider for ABB drives which means we have access to a global network of products, services and expertise to help you select the perfect drive for your application. For more information, call Alan Roberts on 07966 468430 or email

Variable-Speed Drives

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