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Get ready for the incredible shrinking drive

01 March, 2002

Get ready for the incredible shrinking drive

ABB, the world`s largest drives supplier, is launching its first new generation of general-purpose inverters for more than five years. Some higher power models in the new ACS 800 range are one sixth the size of the ACS 600 drives that they will supercede.

Jouko Karvinen, head of ABB`s automation technology products division, reports that ABB`s sales teams are extremely excited about the new drives. "In my 20 years in the business, I`ve never seen the guys going mad like this before," he says.

The drives have a built-in "start-up assistant" which ABB claims will make them the easiest and quickest drives on the market to commission. The assistant detects automatically when a drive is turned on for the first time, and helps the user to select the most important settings.

If options such as fieldbus modules or I/O extensions are fitted, the assistant detects them and offers guided commissioning for them.

Another feature of the new drives is "adaptive programming", offering a set of blocks that can be programmed to perform any operation. This allows the drive to act as a PLC to control external devices such as pumps.

Programming is carried out via the control panel without needing special hardware or software tools.

The ACS 800 drives use the same Direct Torque Control technology as the ACS 600 and are backwardly compatible with the earlier drives.

Although the ACS 600 has helped ABB to capture a leading 11.9% share of the global drives market, it has been facing increasing competition from newer drive ranges launched in the past two years by rivals such as Siemens and Rockwell.

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