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APPLICATION NOTE #: EFFECTIVE DATE: SUPERSEDES DATE: ORIGINATOR: NO.

OF PAGES:

AN_VFD_GEN015 07/2/99 Original MThrash 02

Controlling Multiple Motors from one Inverter

This application note will discuss how to size, protect, wire and apply multiple motors controlled by a single Inverter. This application note will discuss only applications that can be handled by several motors connected to one adjustable frequency drive. We will describe how the drive controls the speed of all of the motors while the motors share the load. The inherent load sharing capability of an AC motor can easily be utilized when a single inverter powers multiple motors. An inverter can be used to provide power to any number of motors. The motors are simply connected in parallel so that each motor receives the same voltage and frequency. The motor must be coupled by a mechanical connection that is capable of transmitting torque without causing damage due to torque variations among the various sections of the machine. Motors that are coupled by contact with a web or strand of material can not be connected to a common controller. Such applications require an individual controller for each motor so that the individual section speeds and web tension can be closely regulated. Motor Speed Since all of the motors that are connected to a single inverter receive the same voltage and frequency, there is no means of adjusting the speed or torque of an individual motor. Adjusting the output frequency of the inverter changes the speed of all of the motors as a group. No other adjustment is available. In the past, variable transformers or series inductors have sometimes been used to provide voltage adjustment for the individual motors. Now that small adjustable frequency drives are economically available, individual controllers should be considered in applications requiring adjustment of individual motors. Sizing The inverter must be selected based on motor current requirements not motor horsepower. The sum of the normal operating currents of the connected motors must not exceed the rated output current of the inverter. The maximum short-term overload current requirements of the motor must not exceed the short-term overload current capability of the controller. In many multiple motor applications, there is no requirement for connecting and disconnecting individual motors. The motors must be controlled as a group by starting and stopping the inverter. In applications where individual motors are stopped and started independently, the controller must be sized so that the short-term overload current capability of the controller is sufficient to supply the maximum inrush current requirements. For example, in the diagram below motor 5 has the capability of being switched on/off line. In the drawing below the inverter must be rated for the FLA of motors 1,2,3,4 plus locked rotor current of the fifth motor. A motor s locked rotor current is typically about 6 to 7 times the full load current. In some cases an output reactor is used for protection against voltage and current spikes created by the motors being switched on and off line. When high slip motors are used, it is important to remember that high slip motors may require more overload current to provide a given level of torque.

Form AN 1

Saftronics Inverter

Load Reactor

Motor Thermal Protection

Motor Thermal Protection

Motor Thermal Protection

Motor Thermal Protection

Motor Thermal Protection

Motor 1

Motor 2

Motor 3

Motor 4

Motor 5

Typical Wiring Diagram

Motor Protection The electronic motor protection provided by the inverter can not provide adequate protection in a multiple motor application. The inverter can only provide overload protection for the sum of all the motors current. Conventional overload and short circuit protection must be provided for each individual motor. The individual motor protection is usually arranged to shut down the controller. In some applications, it may be possible to arrange the motor protection to disconnect an individual motor and allow the remaining motors to assume the total load. Be sure to check the controller instructions to be sure that the controller will operate properly when part of the load disconnected.

Form AN 1