The variable frequency/speed drive (VFD/VSD) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 7.0% over the next seven years. The utilization of VFDs improves quality of the product and reduces the production cost. All these features are expected to result in them being a necessity over the next few years, thereby driving market growth.
A variable frequency drive is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by changing the frequency and voltage supplied to it It is used in electric and electronic devices. Variable speed drive/variable frequency drive is also known as adjustable speed drive, AC drive, inverter and microdrive. The motor’s speed i.e. RPM is directly proportional to the frequency which means faster the frequency, faster the motor’s speed.
The VFD can be segmented by product, type, power range and application. VFD comprises electric motor, controller, operator interface and drive controller. The variable frequency market can be segregated by product as low voltage and medium voltage. The equipment is utilized in mining, oil &gas, power generation work at high voltage levels. It keeps on running even if the power runs out, the machine works automatically even in unstable electric power area and tracks the AC motor’s speed. The maintenance workload and the failure rate is decreased, thereby increasing the equipment’s life.
By drive type, the industry can be segmented into AC drives, VC drives and servo drives. AC drives work in accordance with the induction motor for the commercial purposes such as pumps, fans, elevators for its favorable characteristics such as controlled speed, starting power demand and adjustable torque. The power range varies from micro to low –medium and high.
VFD is used in pumps, which is a major component used in all industrial processes. It helps in improving the performance and reliability by minimizing the life cycle cost. It is used for irrigation purpose and monitored transfer of water to achieve optimal crop production. A VFD solves the problem of large motor starting currents and voltage drops. It eliminates high currents coming from a large motor as well as reduces voltage drops due to its high power factor.
VFDs can be utilized if any implementation does not require an electric motor to run at a full velocity. They slow down the frequency hence decelerating the velocity of the motor to meet the speed specifications. VFD permits to match the velocity of the motor driven equipment to the load requirement. It is the sole method of AC electric motor control that helps in controlling the velocity of the motor. This helps in cutting down the energy cost. By cutting down the energy cost, the demand for energy can be reduced thereby creating less demand to exploit the natural resources to produce that energy.
VFD helps in achieving the goal of sustainable development by promoting energy efficiency, which helps in reducing the number of local pollutants such as sulfurdioxide (SO2) that is a result of exploitation of wood and oil. Using VFD helps in saving the money that goes in vain when extra energy produced is wasted and does not produce any output.
VFD is used on a large scale in industries as electric motor systems incur more than 65%of the power consumption in the industry. It helps in reducing the electricity consumption and saves power. The development and modernization of infrastructure is one of the drivers that is expected to increase the market growth of VFDs. Rising energy prices, increased awareness about the benefits of these drivers and the stringent regulations are some of the factors driving the market growth of VFD. Due to the rise in energy prices, manufacturers are adopting new technologies which help in cutting down cost. The utilization rate of VFD is expected to increase in the future hence increasing the market share.
Mitsubishi Electric (Japan), Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) (Japan) and Yaskawa Electric Corp. (Japan) are major industries in the market. Other industries are ABB Drives, Anaheim Automation, Electric Global, Kirloskar Electric, Emerson Industrial Automation, Fuji, Hitachi, Parker, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Mitsubishi, WEG and Yaskawa. North America is the leading region is terms of market growth followed by Latin America, Europe, APAC, the Middle East and Africa. Middle East and Asia Pacific have developed manufacturing sectors from both technical and economic viewpoints. The demand for VFD is expected to increase in these regions in the coming 6-7 years. The growth of low power AC drives is expected to rise from chemical processing and petrochemical industries. The power management company Eaton has installed a variable frequency solution at Town of Mooresville’s Water Treatment Plan. The VFD keeps its 800 horsepower (HP) pumps run efficiently without affecting the operational efficiency of the old plant.
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