The Advantages of Using VFD Pump Controllers in Industrial Applications

Have you stopped to consider the many benefits of using a VFD or variable frequency drive pump controller in your factory?

Have you stopped to consider the many benefits of using a VFD pump controller in your factory? Do you even know what a VFD pump controller is? VFD stands for “variable frequency drive” and is a technology that operates to meet demand, not continue to operate at a constant flow or rate. As this technology helps with fluctuating needs, there are several benefits and advantages.

How Do They Work?

Most industrial motors are AC motors vs. DC motors. With a DC motor, the operator can control speed by adjusting the voltage. With an AC motor, it’s harder to have precision control using voltage. Instead, you change the frequency. Finding the right solution to this problem leads to variable frequency drive (VFD). It provides speed control that’s comparable to DC motor drives.

With a VFD pump controller, you’re able to adjust the voltage and frequency to increase or decrease the speed of a pump as needed. Why would this matter? If you operate a paper mill, you might have a thicker slurry when making cardboard than computer paper. You need a pump that can handle the change in viscosity. Instead of changing settings manually, a VFD pump adjusts automatically.

VFD pump controllers use a process known as pulse width modulation to adjust pump motor speeds. It occurs by adjusting the width of electrical pulses being sent to the motor. As those pulses widen or narrow, the motor speeds up or slows down accordingly. VFD pumps can slow to a crawl or speed up to lightning-fast speeds depending on the signals.

What industries benefit from VFD pump controllers? There are so many. Wastewater treatment plants, pulp and paper mills, mining, HVAC, chemical plants, water municipalities, and gas are just a few examples. You can also use them in food and beverage plants and bottling lines when you need flexibility with your production rates and don’t want to have to manually adjust rates all day and night.

Explore the Advantages of VFD Pump Controllers

That’s what VFD pump controllers do, but why does it matter? What are the benefits of this type of technology?

Better Flexibility

VFD pump controllers provide better flexibility as they ramp up and down as needed. You’re able to get more work done without having to change settings constantly. This makes it easier to move from one task to the next in a fluid manner.

Heightened Efficiency

If you think about your current process, how much time is wasted with your operators having to stop, change settings, and speed the pumps back up? Each time a machine has to be stopped or ramped up, it’s an inefficient use of your operator’s time. With VFD pump controllers, everything is more efficient and that saves frustration and unexpected overtime.

Less Downtime

Motors that aren’t running at high speeds unnecessarily will last longer. They’re not going to require as much maintenance and repair. Because these pumps aren’t being shut down regularly for maintenance, you have less downtime. There’s less wear and tear on the motor’s components, so they won’t need to be replaced as often.

Quieter Operation

When a pump is running at a fast speed unnecessarily, there can be more vibration. That vibration can be noisy and distracting to your workers. Plus, you constantly have to assess if the noise is normal or if there’s a change that suggests something is going wrong. 

Reduced Energy Consumption

Best of all, you’ll save money. Because a VFD pump controller adjusts a motor’s speed, electricity usage decreases. Suppose you have a wastewater treatment plant where wastewater flow increases during morning showers and after dinner. Your motors run faster at those two times of the day and slow down the rest of the time. When it slows down, you decrease the energy usage and lower your bills.

How Do You Choose the Best VFD Pump Controller For Your Plant?

What are the criteria to keep in mind when you’re looking for the best VFD pump controller? These are the questions to answer.

What type of pump does my business use?

What industry are you in? What does your pump do? This plays a part in choosing the right type of pump controller. Generally, a variable frequency drive pump control works for most industries, but it’s best to work with an expert in VFD. 

What size pump do you use?

What pump sizes are in your factory or facility? What is the maximum flow rate? Make sure that your pumps are adequately sized for the VFD pump control or ask if it’s worth upgrading more equipment at the same time to get the maximum benefit from your purchase. 

How much control is needed?

How many pumps do you have that need to connect to a VFD controller? Make sure that you have enough capacity. For example, the Mitsubishi FR-F800-E Series allows one master unit and up to five slaves. If that’s not enough capacity, you need to look at alternatives.

What are the desired added features?

Are there added features that you’re looking for? You might want to have remote access to be able to view operations from the road or your home. 

Anti-jamming features prevent pumps from starting if debris has gotten into the impellers. The system changes the impeller’s direction to clear the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you can alert a worker to shut off the pump, remove the debris, and start the pump back up.

How about having a “Load Detection System” that helps with maintenance and diagnostics? Mitsubishi Electric’s Load Detection System alerts you to everything from a blocked filter to a damaged belt or bearing.

Anti-Windmill function is essential for motors that will be spinning when changes are made, as this feature will prevent damage to the drive or motor.

What is your company’s budget?

You do have to have a budget in mind. It’s the best way to explore the possible models and capacities to find what you need without spending more than you can afford. One thing to keep in mind is that the savings on power bills will help offset what you’ve paid in the months and years to come. In addition, you’ll save wear and tear on your existing pumps, so you won’t have to replace equipment as often.

A VFD pump controller is advantageous to any industry that uses pumps. With lower electricity bills, happier employees, and longer pump life, it’s a winning combination for cost-effectiveness and productivity. 

Mitsubishi Electric is a leader in network-enabled VFDs. Our VFD fan and pump components are the best for good reason. Our experts design and test all components to ensure they do exactly what industries need without having to tweak them to get the right fit. Reach out to our VFD pump controller experts to learn more.

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