Home Tech Latest trends and advancements in AC drive technology

Latest trends and advancements in AC drive technology

AC drive technology
AC drive technology

Software, hardware, and control system advances are some of the most recent trends and developments in AC drive technology. These developments are being driven by the increasing demand for more intelligent and connected systems, as well as the requirement for industrial systems to be more efficient, dependable, and flexible. The following are some of the main developments and trends:

Software-based AC drives:

The creation of software-based AC drives is one of the most important trends in AC drive technology. Instead of using hardware-based components to operate the motor, these drives use software algorithms to do it. When system requirements change, software-based AC drives provide more flexibility and are simpler to upgrade or reprogram.

Instead of using hardware-based components to regulate the motor, software-based AC drives use software algorithms. These drives provide more flexibility and are simpler to reprogramme or upgrade to accommodate shifting system needs.

The motor control algorithms are often carried out by a microcontroller or a digital signal processor (DSP) in software-based AC drives. The software can be configured to improve motor efficiency, lower energy usage, and prolong equipment life.

Read: Allen Bradley PowerFlex 4M AC drives

The adaptability of software-based AC drives is one of their main benefits. The drive’s functionality can be quickly changed or reprogrammed to conform to altering system needs because it is specified by software. For instance, the software can be changed to meet new specifications if a manufacturer has to alter the speed or torque of a motor.

Hardware advancements:

Advancements in power electronics and semiconductor technology are enabling the development of more advanced AC drives with higher power densities, more advanced thermal management systems, and greater reliability. These advancements are also enabling the development of AC drives with smaller footprints, which are ideal for applications where space is at a premium.

  • High-speed processors: The most recent AC drives include high-speed processors that can instantly handle massive volumes of data and control signals. As a result, the motor may be controlled more precisely and with quicker response times.
  • AC drives have become more dependable and efficient as a result of developments in power electronics technology. Modern AC drives include advanced power semiconductor components like metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), which can run at higher frequencies and withstand bigger current loads.
  • incorporated safety features: A lot of more recent AC drives have incorporated safety features like overload, short-circuit, and overvoltage protection. In the case of a fault or failure, these characteristics can aid in protecting the motor and associated equipment.

Advanced control systems

Model-based predictive control (MPC), for example, is one of the more widely used advanced control systems in AC drive technology. These systems optimize motor performance, lower energy usage, and prolong equipment life through the use of complex algorithms. They could also make it possible for more sophisticated monitoring and diagnostic abilities. 

  • Vector control, sometimes referred to as field-oriented control (FOC), is a more accurate method of managing the motor by calculating the magnetic field using feedback from the motor’s current and voltage. As a result, the motor may be controlled more precisely and effectively.
  • Sensorless control: By enabling AC drives to function without the use of external sensors, sensorless control can lower installation costs and boost dependability. This is accomplished by estimating the motor’s speed and position based on internal feedback from the drive utilising sophisticated algorithms.
  • Adaptive control: Adaptive control adapts to changes in the motor’s properties, such as changes in load or temperature, using machine learning techniques. In applications with variable load, this can enhance performance and efficiency.
  • Multi-motor control: In applications with numerous motors, some AC drives can control multiple motors at once, increasing efficiency and lowering installation and maintenance costs.

Rockwell Automation 22F-A1P6N103 PowerFlex 4M AC Drive

IOT connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) and AC drives are increasingly being connected, providing real-time monitoring, remote control, and predictive maintenance capabilities. By spotting potential difficulties before they become problems, IoT-enabled AC drives can also assist optimize energy use and decrease downtime.

  • IoT-enabled AC drives can be monitored and controlled remotely, enabling real-time modifications to the operation of the motor. Industrial applications may experience less downtime and more efficiency as a result.
  • Predictive maintenance: IoT sensors can gather information on the functioning of the motor, allowing for the prediction of when maintenance is required before a failure occurs. This can increase the motor’s lifespan and decrease downtime.
  • Energy efficiency: Based on real-time data, IoT-enabled AC drives can monitor and optimise energy consumption, which can result in significant energy savings.

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Security is a growing concern for AC drives as they become more interconnected and integrated with other systems. To safeguard against cyber-attacks and guarantee the security and dependability of industrial systems, manufacturers are creating AC drives with cutting-edge security features.

Overall, the demand for more flexible, dependable, and efficient industrial systems as well as more intelligent and linked systems is what is driving the most recent developments and advancements in AC drive technology. These developments are facilitating the transformation of industrial systems and the creation of more sophisticated and effective machinery.


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