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Can a VFD Be Installed on an Existing Motor?

Can a VFD Be Installed on an Existing Motor?

Improving industrial sites is all about maximizing efficiency. You can optimize your facility by adding variable frequency drives (VFDs) to your motors. Updating your equipment with effective upgrades will improve your workflow and create better output.

However, can a VFD be installed on an existing motor? The answer is yes, but with a few exceptions. Learn all about upgrading your motors with VFDs so you can increase productivity.

Why Would You Need To Install a VFD?

Variable frequency drives work by varying factors like voltage and frequency. Fluctuating these levels allows you to control things such as torque and speed. Depending on the job, changing these levels helps your motor complete tasks more efficiently.

If you want to install a VFD on an existing motor, you’ll need to consider a few things. The best way to determine if your equipment is VFD compatible is with its nameplate information. However, if this data isn’t available, you can still make a decision based on the following criteria.

Consider the Age of Your Motor

In 1992, the federal government passed the Energy Policy Act (EPAct). This legislation required manufacturers to build motors that met minimum efficiency standards. Since then, professionals have created equipment that is energy-efficient on their own or can adapt with various upgrades.

Before installing any new equipment, you’ll need to consider your motor’s age. Pre-EPAct motors might not be able to handle frequency variations and will cause more harm than good.

Proper Insulation Is Key

It’s not uncommon to see voltage spikes in motors with VFDs. While this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, it could be problematic without the proper maintenance.

Make sure your motor has adequate insulation before installing a VFD. You should look at the windings and bearing specifically since these components take on the most damage. Proper insulation will increase your motor’s longevity so that you can get more use out of your expensive equipment.

Make Sure It’s Speed Compatible

VFDs have the ability to push your motor to maximum performance capacity. This is a good thing for certain operations. However, you need to ensure that your equipment can withstand these speeds before adding a VFD.

Overworking your motor can have catastrophic consequences. It’s always best to check with the manufacturing recommendations so you don’t destroy your equipment with upgrades it can’t handle.

Illinois Electric Works is a reliable Midwest variable frequency drive repair service that can handle all your VFD-related needs. Whether you need to fix your current equipment or choose the proper VFD, we have the tools to help. Contact us today to make your facility more energy-efficient.


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