Connecting the dots

Automation is connecting variable frequency drives (VFDs) and batteries that power wireless devices with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
By Jack Smith October 15, 2017

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) and batteries that power wireless devices and the technologies that drive the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) appear to have nothing in common. It would be a challenge—if not an impossibility—to connect those dots. However, with automation, there is usually a way. The common thread between these fields is that of a continuous push to improve. As with every automation technology that’s worth its salt, it’s the advances that connect the dots.

This issue’s cover story describes six ways VFDs can improve motion control applications. According to the author, "Regardless whether they’re used in material handling, machining, or pump and fan applications, VFDs are an affordable option that can help optimize performance, save energy, and permanently lower machine and robotic lifecycle costs. It is the more complex or unusual uses for VFDs that reveal a whole host of potential efficiencies available to creative OEMs and end users. Newer ways of using VFD technology can help solve specific motion control application challenges or make them more economical and profitable."

The second story in this issue explains the difference between industrial- and consumer-grade batteries and why that’s important. "The more remote the application, the more likely the need for industrial-grade lithium batteries. Inexpensive consumer-grade batteries may suffice if the device is easily accessible and operates within a moderate temperature range," writes the author. "However, the cost of replacing a consumer-grade battery can far exceed the price of the battery itself, causing the total cost of ownership to rise dramatically. For example, imagine having to replace a battery in a seismic monitoring system sitting on the ocean floor or in a stress sensor attached to a bridge abutment."

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.

– See other articles from the supplement below.