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Variable speed starter

Presenting the next configuration level with CANopen

Eaton is expanding its range of PowerXL DE1 variable speed starters with the DE11. The CANopen-connectable device offers application options for energy efficiency in mechanical engineering.

The PowerXL DE 1 connects to CANopen (Photo: Eaton)

THE INTRODUCED PRODUCT OFFERS a CANopen interface, and meets the ErP Directive. Previous versions provide Modbus and Smart Wire connectivity. The variable speed starter is a device category that Eaton recently introduced to the market. Eaton wanted to provide customers with an alternative that allows them to protect and switch their motors while running them in an energy-efficient way. When it comes to requirements for minimum degrees of efficiency, such as for pump and fan applications, processes and equipment often require electronic variable speed control. In many cases, however, variable frequency drives are often excessive in terms of their functionality and too complex to operate, while motor starters are easy to use but have limited functionality. The variable speed starter bridges this gap and combines the advantages of both devices.

Just like the DE1, the DE11 enables variable speed control for applications up to 7,5 kW, and is similar to a contactor or motor starter with the option of ‘out-of-the-box’ operation without needing to set parameters. In the DE11 configuration level, plug-in control terminals enable pre-assembly, which saves time and effort for mechanical engineers and control cabinet builders - straight from batch production, says the company. The user can install the device either horizontally or vertically. Since the width of the device corresponds to a regular motor starter, it can be replaced directly. This also means that retrofitting projects will be straightforward.

Going from the factory settings, individual, application-specific adjustments can be made. As such the user can use a universal, plug-in configuration model and make essential custom adjustments to the factory settings using just a screwdriver – no keyboard, software or manual are needed. According to the company, in practical comparisons with conventional solutions, this type of configuration reduced installation time by up to 70 percent.

Equipped with a so-called trip-free design, the variable speed starter provides the highest levels of availability. According to the company, this includes the following features: the device is able to detect regenerative energy recovery from motors and automatically monitors it; it has an automatic restart function, DC braking function, DC control in the event of imbalance, automatic switching frequency reduction at high load or at high ambient temperatures; internal motor and short-circuit protection and direct thermistor motor protection. The device is also ready for use without derating at up to +60 °C.

With its performance specification, the variable speed starter won the “Industriepreis 2015” (2015 German Industry Prize) in the Electrical Engineering category. Both the DE1 and the DE11 meet the requirements not just of pumps and fans, but of other market applications for which there were previously no ideal solutions, says the company. These include cases where direct start-up using star-delta or soft starter is not possible because the application does not allow a reduced start frequency and because direct start-up results in an undesired starting current. In addition, the device offers a solution for a growing number of fixed-speed applications, where frequencies different to mains frequency are required.

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