A trio of motor drive introductions, enhancements

Three major manufacturers have recently updated or expanded their drive offerings.


Three major manufacturers have recently updated or expanded their drive offerings. Schneider Electric has introduced its new compact Altivar 31 ac drive; Siemens has expanded its MicroMaster variable-torque drive, and Rockwell Automation has added more power and functions to Kinetix 6000 servo drive. Additional information about each is provided here.

Built-in Modbus and CANopen communication protocols ease Altivar 31’s integration into existing industrial systems.

Newly introduced Altivar 31 drive is designed to control three-phase ac induction motors in the 0.18-15 kW power range. The compact, 145 x 72 x 140-mm (H x W x D) drive’s robust construction allows it to operate in temperatures from -10 to 50 deg C, without the need for current derating. Four voltage ranges—240 V ac, single-phase; and 240, 500, and 600 V, three-phase—plus an integrated RFI class-A filter and positive/negative logic, make Altivar 31 competitive in worldwide markets. The drive conforms to international standards: UL/CSA, CE, and NOM.


High on the list of features is autotuning capability that allows Altivar 31 to quickly adapt to parameters of specific motors, while customized settings can be made via the built-in display or by using a remote terminal. These drives come in enclosed or kit versions. An assembled IP55 enclosure includes a Vario switch disconnector with rotary knob, a potentiometer, a reversing switch, and EMC cabling. A customizable IP55 enclosure is also available, providing space for various motor starter components, in addition to Altivar 31. The kit version simplifies drive installation with other components in control panels.

Ready to install out of the box, Siemens’ MicroMaster 430 drive now has more muscle.

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. has expanded the power range of its MicroMaster 430 variable-torque ac drive from 150 to 350 hp. With all control functions integrated into the drive, MicroMaster 430 is described as "the ideal pump controller" by Siemens. The drive Includes local/remote control on a BOP2 keypad, a simple commissioning macro, and sufficient I/O points even for sophisticated control applications. A standard pump staging controller takes auxiliary logic control from external devices and inputs it to the drive. In addition, the controller can activate up to three other pumps to maintain proper system pressure. Rockwell Automation recently expanded power ranges and features of Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6000 digital servo drive—part of the company’s Kinetix Integrated Motion solution. New power ranges of 1-11 kW (at 230 V input ) and 2-22 kW (at 460 V), now allow machine builders and end-users to apply these servo drives in more industries. Several customer-identified benefits also were added to the new drive version, explains Randy Holterman, Kinetix 6000 product manager, Rockwell Automation.

Panel space savings due to enhanced functions is one benefit of new Kinetix 6000 digital servo drives.

The latest release of compact Line Interface Modules (LIMs) replaces nine individual components, eliminating up to 98 interconnecting wire terminations, widens operating power range and adds features for the generation, protection and control of power. LIM supports up to 16 servo drives and provides 65,000 AIC of branch protection without external fusing.

Power Rails have been enhanced to reduce panel size and let users mount as many as eight servo axes per rail. The rail is a high-power backplane that simplifies the mounting and wiring of a multi-axis servo system by replacing costly, time-consuming wiring.

Resistive Brake Module (RBM) provides electrical separation between a drive and motor to deliver safe stopping solutions, while simplifying the design of safety circuits. RBMs serve an especially useful function when one of multiple drives must be shut down while other drives continue to run.


Additional Feedback-Only Axis provides support for two feedback devices on each Kinetix 6000 motion axis module. This makes it convenient and inexpensive for machine designers to add one feedback device to an existing drive. The device can then be used as a feedback-only axis for gearing and "PCAMing" type motions, as well as for general-purpose position monitoring without additional hardware, according to Rockwell Automation.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering, fbartos@reedbusiness.com

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