The first member of intelligent drive solutions, systems and services specialist Voith’s new product family in the field of speed control for compressors and pumps, the VECO-Drive, combines the reliability of mechanical gears with the productivity of low-voltage, variable-frequency drives (VFDs).
Introduced by Voith in May, the Veco-Drive is an electric superimposing gear that owes its inspiration to the established principle of the Voith Vorecon, with more than 600 installations.
The Veco-Drive combines a mechanical planetary gear, which is driven by frequency- controlled servomotors. “The electrical superimposing gear is the most efficient way to make speed variable. Since [the servomotors] only need a small part of rated power, an overall component efficiency of more than 97% is reached. The result of this component efficiency is a daily saving in energy and operating expenditure,” explains Voith.
The Veco-Drive is installed between a constant speed motor and a variable-speed compressor or pump. Since additional power is supplied to the drivetrain, a smaller main motor can be used, reducing capital expenditure. Moreover, the servomotor can be used as a starter to protect the electric grid from high inrush currents.
For the functional demonstration of the Veco-Drive, a prototype system was built and tested in Crailsheim, Germany, in 2016. Voith engineers designed the system for compressor and pump applications with a maximum output speed of 15 000 rpm, a maximum output power of 15 MW and a speed adjustment range from 50% to 100%. Therefore, compared with a typical full-scale medium-voltage VFD train with a step-up gearbox, the measured system efficiency of a Veco-Drive is about 2% higher over the entire speed range. This enables the Veco-Drive system to reduce energy consumption by more than 2 000 MWh/y, compared with a similar VFD system. With a typical energy cost of €50/MWh, these energy savings result in cost reductions of more than €100 000/y.
The Veco-Drive is designed as a modular system to offer individual specifications for different application types, classes of explosion protection and speed levels. Advanced functions, like the integrated programmable logic controller-based output controller, user interfaces, condition monitoring and simplified maintenance, are part of the scope of supply, whereas remote access and remote diagnosis are available on demand.
For 150 years, Voith’s technologies have been well received by customers, business partners and employees worldwide, says the company. Founded in 1867, the 19 000-strong company has offices in more than 60 countries worldwide and generates sales of €4.3-billion.
Voith Turbo was established in South Africa in 1982. It is a member of the worldwide Voith group of companies headquartered in Heidenheim, Germany and a direct subsidiary of Voith Turbo Vertriebsgesellschaft. In South Africa, Voith is active in the power, oil and gas, mining and metals, rail, commercial vehicles, paper and hydropower market segments. The main South African facility is in Witfield, Gauteng, and includes sales, workshops, stores and testing facilities. Further, a network of Voith representatives, distributors and agents ensures sales, service and distribution coverage into the African continent.