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Compact AC drives provide 'just enough' control

14 October, 2013

Rockwell Automation has announced a compact AC drive designed to offer machine-builders “just enough” control, and to cut the cost of developing, configuring and installing machines. The development of the PowerFlex 523 AC drive – an extension to the existing 520 series – was guided by requests from potential users.

“When we designed the PowerFlex 520 drives, we travelled to hundreds of drive users around the world to learn first-hand which features they value most today and would want five years from now,” explains Rockwell's global marketing manager, Jimmy Koh. “Stand-alone machine-builders wanted ‘just enough’ motor control and emphatically shared the need for features that ease configuration and speed installation. This is where their profitability was most affected, and we designed the PowerFlex 523 drive to meet those needs.”

The drive – covering the power range 0.2–11kW – is aimed, in particular, at builders of simple, standalone machines. They can upload and download drive-configuration files via USB, and program the drive via a human interface module (HIM), which displays data on an LCD with scrolling text and explanations of parameters and other codes. Control options include V/f, sensorless vector control, and an economiser mode.

“Unique” tools called AppView and CustomView – accessed via the HIM or from configuration software – help to speed up configuration by providing groups of parameters for common applications and allowing users to save their settings to new parameter groups.

Removing the drive’s control module from its power module can cut startup times further, allowing machine-builders to complete configuration and installation simultaneously.

Rockwell's Powerflex 523 drives are aimed at builders of simple, standalone machines

An optional dual-port EtherNet/IP adapter supports ring topologies and provides device-level ring (DLR) functions which can help to provide network resiliency and to enhance machine availability. When a DLR network detects a break in the ring, it provides alternate routing for the data. Ring topologies can remove the need for external switches and reduce cabling.

The dual-port EtherNet/IP adapter also supports linear topologies and provides automatic device configuration, saving time by downloading configuration files automatically when a drive is replaced.

If the drive is installed in a cabinet, it needs jut 50mm of clearance on the top and bottom, reducing panel space. It can be mounted vertically or horizontally, as well as side-by-side.

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