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ABB puts everything in the drive

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ABB has taken some risk by launching a high cost, multi-featured variable speed drive.

While the new ACS 800 drive series, which is up to 50% smaller than its equivalent predecessor in the ACS 600 range, will not come cheap — it promises to offer faster commissioning and programming capability to offset costs.

ABB vice-president — ABB Drives — Automation Technology Division, Robert Zhu, said the new ACS 800 series had an internal PLC that allowed complex programming to be achieved. “Everything is inside the drive,” Zhu told PACE. “In the past, the PLC was completely external. With this ACS 800 some parts of the logic will be in the drive. However, it wont fully replace a PLC.”

The new series, destined especially for the mining and process industries, is targeted to improve ABB’s share of the global drives market to around 20% “in a few years time”, Zhu said.

Industry researcher ARC puts ABB as the leader in the global drives market after which comes Rockwell, Siemens and Yaskawa.

The so-called Start-up Assistant, a hand held device, helps the user with the installation, while programming is achieved using its Adaptive Programming feature.

The Start-up Assistant, which works like a “help” tool, selects the application’s settings when starting up.

Zhu said the Start-up Assistant could be considered a little “controversial” because it removes the need for a manual, which users might find hard to accept.

Meanwhile, the Adaptive Programming, works like a set of programming blocks to enable operations from a predefined set of functions. All common mathe-matical and logical functions as well as switches, comparators, filters and timers are available, all in a bid to simplify programming. Users define inputs to the blocks, wiring between the blocks and connections to the drive I/O or to the drive control.

Trish Crawford

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