Variable speed drives help regulate energy consumption

01 September 2015

Quintex Energy Management Systems, a developer and supplier of demand-based ventilation control systems for commercial kitchens, has used over 6,000 VACON AC variable speed drives (VSDs) in its energy management and safety control systems.

When developing its Cheetah energy management system, Quintex initially chose VACON NXL series VSDs after a market analysis showed that, at the time, they offered the best combination of reliability, versatility and value for money. For recent installations, however, the company has adopted the latest VACON 100 series VSDs, which offer improvements in performance and value.

Primarily intended for use in professional kitchens and commercial food preparation areas, the Cheetah systems monitor the cooking environment in which they are installed and, with the aid of the VSDs, continuously regulate speeds of the extract and air supply fans to ensure that comfortable and safe conditions are maintained at all times with a minimum of energy usage.

In a typical installation, the fans will operate much of the time at around 40% of their maximum speed while there is little or no cooking activity. At this reduced speed, they consume only 6% of the energy needed for full speed operation, which means that energy usage and costs are greatly reduced compared with conventional systems where the fans always run at full speed while the kitchen is operational. 

“We have been using VACON drives for many years,” said Guy Madgwick, sales and marketing director at Quintex, “We have been impressed by how easy they are to work with, their performance and their value for money.” 

Quintex Cheetah systems are customised to meet the needs of each user and, depending on the application, the company uses VACON 100 drives with power ratings from 1.1 kW to 30 kW. In some applications, IP21 drives mounted within control panels are used, while in others IP54 types, which can be mounted without the need for additional protection, provide a convenient and cost-effective solution.

As standard, the drives provide many energy saving features that are useful to Quintex. These include a real-time clock, an integrated kWh energy meter, and a sleep function that automatically puts the drive into a standby condition during downtime so that it uses almost no energy. Two integral PID loops are also provided and the drives offer support for the LonWorks networking protocol that Quintex has adopted for its larger installations.

Built-in RFI filters ensure interference-free operation even in sensitive environments, and the drives comply fully with the requirements of EN 61000-3-12 for low current harmonics.

Despite the wide range of functions they provide, VACON 100 drives are straightforward to set up and use. Standard functions are readily accessed via the built-in keypad, and special requirements are easily accommodated with VACON’s intuitive programming tools.

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