IE4 motor and drive package goes into action

30 April 2013

ABB’s IE4 synchronous reluctance motor and drive package (SynRM) has replaced an induction motor-based variable-speed drive package at South Staffs Water in the UK, resulting in an additional 6% energy saving.

Somerford Pumping Station needed to replace a 20-year old 115 kW induction motor used to control a single vertical shaft driven borehole pump. The utility was interested in trialing the synchronous reluctance motor to harness benefits including higher efficiency, greater reliability, lower heat loss, less noise and reduced maintenance costs.

The existing drive was replaced with an ABB ACS850 drive which offered a more powerful core processor to enable operation with the motor along with the next generation direct torque control (DTC), which avoids the need for encoders and speed feedback devices.

“The biggest benefit has been the 6% reduction in energy,” said Keith Marshall, supply director at South Staffs Water. The SynRM design has also resulted in 58% reduction in frame temperature compared to the induction motor. “In the summer many sites run hot and using SynRM across more sites means we can dramatically reduce the need for forced ventilation,” said Marshall. “As the rotor has effectively no losses this lowers the bearing temperature. This means we can either choose to extend the period between greasing or increase the bearing life expectancy.” Another benefit noted by South Staffs Water has been a 75% reduction in audible noise.

“What is significant is that we chose to trial the SynRM on an application that was already using leading edge drive technology, although it was controlling a 20-year old high efficiency induction motor,” explains Glen Hickman from Sentridge Control, the company responsible for designing the installation and commissioning the application.

“We could have reduced the size of the motor but for the purpose of a like-for-like comparison we opted to retain the same frame size. The additional 6% energy saving is incredible given that the application was already deemed to be extremely energy efficient. If we choose an older motor and drive combination elsewhere on the plant we believe the energy savings could easily reach 10 to 15%.”

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