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Comparing Two Types of Magnetically- Coupled Adjustable Speed Drives with Variable Frequency Drives in Pump and Fan Applications
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This paper presents the results from laboratory tests on MagnaDrive Corporations fixed-magnet magnetically-coupled adjustable speed drive (MC-ASD) and Coyote Electronics electromagnetic MC-ASD as compared to a typical variable frequency drive (VFD) for typical fan and pump loads. It also discusses advantages and disadvantages of using mechanical MC-ASD versus VFDs and it provides field experience with VFDs in refrigerated warehouses as well as the fixed magnet MC-ASD in wastewater and other field applications. Laboratory tests for a 50 hp fan retrofit showed electronic VFD savings at 62%, the MagnaDrive Coupling at 39% and PAYBACK Drive at 46%. At $0.06/kWh and list prices, the simple payback for the VFD is 2.4 years, the MagnaDrive is 4.6 years and the PAYBACK is 1.9 years. MagnaDrive has models from 25 to 500 hp while PAYBACK has models from 3 to 200 hp. Contractors to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance have helped to install VFDs for about 300 evaporator fans in over two dozen refrigerated warehouses and to install fixed-magnet MC-ASDs in about 50 applications with about half of these controlling wastewater pumps. The Alliance has no particular field experience with the electcromagnetic coupling. The primary advantages of magnetically coupled adjustable speed drives (MC-ASD) over VFDs come from reduced maintenance, resistance to dirty environments, separation of load vibration from the motor, and less stringent requirements for precise shaft alignment. Field experience indicates reductions in noise and repairs from vibration loads, tolerance of poor electrical power quality, and ease of installation are often more important than energy savings. The MC-ASDs are being used where VFDs have not survived or are considered too complicated.
Anderson, K. J.; Chvala, W. D. (2003). Comparing Two Types of Magnetically- Coupled Adjustable Speed Drives with Variable Frequency Drives in Pump and Fan Applications. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from