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News

ABB launches drive replacement scheme

ABB Limited (Group Headquarters) : 10 September, 2003  (New Product)
A replacement scheme for variable speed drives has been introduced by ABB, in cooperation with its HVAC partners. The scheme aims to ensure a seamless upgrade for older drives in HVAC installations. 'The reliability of drives gradually declines once they get to between 15 and 20 years of age,' Mike Carman, sales manager, HVAC, at ABB, explains the initiative. 'To avoid costly downtime towards the end of the product's life, our plan identifies the older drives, gives advice on the installation issues and recommends a drive replacement programme. As drive losses are typically reduced by some 10% with a modern drive, the replacement and retrofit installation often pays for itself with the increased energy savings.'
A replacement scheme for variable speed drives has been introduced by ABB, in cooperation with its HVAC partners. The scheme aims to ensure a seamless upgrade for older drives in HVAC installations.

'The reliability of drives gradually declines once they get to between 15 and 20 years of age,' Mike Carman, sales manager, HVAC, at ABB, explains the initiative. 'To avoid costly downtime towards the end of the product's life, our plan identifies the older drives, gives advice on the installation issues and recommends a drive replacement programme. As drive losses are typically reduced by some 10% with a modern drive, the replacement and retrofit installation often pays for itself with the increased energy savings.'

According to Carman, users normally replace drives in a breakdown situation because spares are either unavailable or too expensive. Carman estimates that over half of all drives sold today are retrofitted to improve the efficiency of existing systems; a significant part of this is replacement of older drives. Upgrading the HVAC system with modern drives offers the end user the best opportunity to save money through energy savings.

ABB's drive replacement scheme comprises seven stages. The first stage involves assessing the site and the application. Stages two and three involve any specific engineering that is needed to ensure the application performs optimally. Stage four involves removal, disposal and recycling of existing drives, as well as of motors that are not compatible with modern frequency converters, typically those with class B insulation. The final stages ensure that the installation and commissioning are carried out to the satisfaction of the customer.

To keep downtime to a minimum, ABB's dedicated HVAC partners can install over weekends and bank holidays, supplying the drives as well as associated equipment, such as high efficiency motors.

'Users can also reap a number of other benefits from renewing their drives,' Carman continues. 'The higher efficiency of new drives instantly saves money, as the losses are reduced by at least 10%. Furthermore, reduced size saves plant room space, lower component count improves reliability and more up to date technology means additional features, such as enhanced energy savings and improved communications capabilities.'

A new drive can save as much as 1,000 per year in energy. For instance, ABB's current drive has an efficiency figure more than 10 per cent higher than its most popular drive from the 1980s. It is also only one-third of the size of the older drive.

The new drive additionally offers flux optimisation, which can save a further 10 per cent of the energy in pump and fan applications, as well as a range of HVAC specific communications protocols, such as Modbus, LONworks, Trend IQ and Johnson Controls Metsys.

It is an ISO 9001 requirement that manufacturers keep spares for 10 years after a product has ceased being manufactured. After this, customers normally source spares from independent suppliers. As this market is governed by supply and demand, spares for older products can become difficult to get hold of as well as expensive to purchase.
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