Eaton is expanding its range of PowerXL DE1 variable speed starters with the DE11. In addition to providing the Modbus interface as standard and the option for SmartWire DT, the new product range from the power management company also offers an option to directly connect to CANopen. This immediately opens up many additional fields of application within mechanical engineering, and meets the ErP Directive simply, efficiently and cost-effectively.
The variable speed starter is a new device category that Eaton recently introduced to the market. Eaton wanted to provide customers with an alternative that allows them to reliably protect and switch their motors while running them in an energy-efficient way. When it comes to requirements for minimum degrees of efficiency, such as for pump and fan applications, processes and equipment often require electronic variable speed control. In many cases, however, variable frequency drives are often excessive in terms of their functionality and too complex to operate, while motor starters are easy to use but have limited functionality. The variable speed starter bridges this gap and combines the advantages of both devices.
Just like the DE1, the DE11 enables variable speed control for applications up to 7.5 kW, and is similar to a contactor or motor starter with the option of ‘out-of-the-box’ operation without needing to set parameters. In the new DE11 configuration level, plug-in control terminals enable pre-assembly, which saves time and effort for mechanical engineers and control cabinet builders - straight from batch production. The user can install the device either horizontally or vertically. Since the width of the device corresponds to a standard motor starter, it can generally be replaced directly. This also means that retrofitting projects will be straightforward.
Going from the factory settings, individual, application-specific adjustments can be made. As such the user can use a universal, plug-in configuration model and make essential custom adjustments to the factory settings using just a screwdriver – no keyboard, software or manual are needed. In practical comparisons with conventional solutions, this type of configuration reduced installation time by up to 70 per cent.
Equipped with ‘trip-free design’, the variable speed starter provides the highest levels of availability. As well as these features, the device is able to detect regenerative energy recovery from motors and automatically monitor it; it has an automatic restart function, DC braking function, DC control in the event of imbalance, automatic switching frequency reduction at high load or at high ambient temperatures; internal motor and short-circuit protection and direct thermistor motor protection. The device is also ready for use without derating, at up to 60 °C.
With its unique performance specification, the PowerXL DE1 variable speed starter won the Industriepreis 2015 [2015 German Industry Prize] in the Electrical Engineering category. Both the DE1 and the DE11 meet the requirements not just of pumps and fans, but of many other market applications for which there were previously no ideal solutions. These include cases where direct start-up using star-delta or soft starter is not possible because the application does not allow a reduced start frequency and because direct start-up results in an extremely high, undesired starting current. In addition, the device offers a solution for a growing number of fixed-speed applications, where frequencies different to mains frequency are required.