Safe and productive machines with frequency converters  

Safe and productive machines with frequency converters

Compliance with safety regulations is an extremely critical and challenging area in mechanical engineering. Especially with older machines are in use, you can face a costly adaptation to meet safety standards or need to purchase new equipment. In this case, a frequency converter may help you to save production costs and reduce downtime.

The Altivar 320 (short: ATV320) from Schneider Electric, showcases the advantages a frequency converter offers compared to other circuits. In this guide we show you what to look out for when buying and when to consider using one.

Protection features

To protect you and your machine, choose a frequency converter that has the protective functions required for the respective operation. This way you can prevent mechanical injuries and limit the wear of the machine components. Here’s an overview of the most common protective functions:

  • Safe Torque Off (STO): Safe Torque Off
  • Safe Stop 1 (SS1): safe stop
  • Safe Maximum Speed (SMS): safe maximum speed
  • Safe Limited Speed (SLS): safely reduced speed
  • Guard Door Locking (GDL): safe release of safety doors
  • Safe Brake Control (SBC): safe brake control

The Altivar 320 offers one of the most comprehensive security packages on the market: As standard, the series offers five freely combinable safety functions (STO, SS1, SLS, SMS and GDL) and flexibly adapts to the requirements of everyday work. The GDL safety function is unique on the market and releases safety doors from the frequency converter without added components.

Energy efficiency and cost reduction

Why choose a frequency converter and not a soft starter or similar?

Energy-efficient technologies are in greater demand than ever before. In addition to providing the best possible protection of man and machine, a frequency converter guarantees maximum energy efficiency.

The flexible speed control enables high efficiencies in electric motors, creating energy savings of up to 30%. There’s even greater savings potential with speed-controlled systems like fans, blowers and extraction systems. A frequency converter with comprehensive safety equipment has the added benefit of eliminating any costs incurred for contactors, encoders or external monitoring modules.

The Altivar 320 as a solution has a small number of components which considerably reduces the wiring effort. Simple machine commissioning also saves time and money. To save time on installation and development, use the ready-made automation architectures that are pre-tested, validated and documented.

Compatibility and flexibility

A frequency converter is suitable for use with three-phase motors, which are the most common form of electric motors used in a wide variety of industries. Check the given input voltage to select the appropriate model. The output voltage, which usually ranges from 0.1 to 15 kW, and the maximum output power of the frequency converter must also match.

To make sure the frequency converter can be easily integrated into your existing architecture, spend some time checking existing communication interfaces and compatibility with other automation components. High corrosion resistance and reliability are essential to survive in harsh environments.

The Altivar 320 is suitable for both three-phase asynchronous and synchronous motors for output voltages of 0.18 to 15 kW each and offers numerous interfaces: Modbus Serial, CANopen, Modbus TCP & Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet and some more. Altivar 320 is easy to integrate into a variety of existing architectures.

Ambient temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius pose no problem thanks to the standard IEC 61721-3-3 Class 3C3 circuit board coating. This makes the Altivar 320 frequency converter ideal for use in a wide variety of target industries such as the textile industry, the packaging industry, material transport and material processing, as well as conveyor belts, pumps, fans and hoists.

Cover photo: Schneider Electric


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