Top Marks for HVAC Drives

Improved energy efficiency for hvac industry with variable speed drives

The Challenge

Finding a compact yet powerful drive was essential for Mark Eire as the units have a high throughput. Competitors’ drives can be up to 50% larger by volume with panel footprints typically more than 40% bigger, which could not be accommodated, so the company sought another solution.

The solution

Paraic Ó Conaola, Purchasing Manager at the plant explained: “From the outset, we used Control Techniques Commander SE drives, then switched to the new Commander SK when the range was introduced. Whilst price is important in this very competitive market, the physical size of the drives is a crucial factor. The Commander SK drives are so compact that they can be integrated into the air handling unit itself, eliminating the need for a separate cubicle. In commercial and industrial premises, space costs money!” The increase in the power to size ratio of the Commander SK has been achieved by a radical rethink of drive design and much of this is down to new technologies and composite materials used in the drive’s enclosure.

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The Benefits

The switch to variable speed drives improved the energy efficiency of the air handling units, precisely matching fan speed to the actual air demand. The Commander SK units are also very quick and easy to set up. Electrical Technician, Brenda Curran, said, “It’s just a matter of a couple of minutes. We use the autotuned feature, where the drive sets up the basic parameters itself. We simply set the minimum speed, usually 38 Hz and the maximum 50 Hz. The display shows diagnostics too. Final set-up is carried out on site since air volumes are rarely exactly as quoted and this is very easy to do.”

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