Why do variable speed drives fail and how do we test them?: Page 5 of 5

May 02, 2017 //By Kari Tikkanen
Why do variable speed drives fail and how do we test them?
Freezing cold, intense heat, vibration, corrosive chemicals… It’s impossible to know what sort of dangers drives might face. The answer is to design drives for durability and subject them to rigorous testing.

Testing drives together with motors

When OEMs source a new drive they need to know how it will perform with their motors. At ABB we have created a dedicated Drives Customer Laboratory that enables various motor/drive combinations to be tested under loading conditions that simulate the actual application.

This testing is mainly concerned with performance of the motor/drive system rather than reliability. However, it does enable measurement of the actual stresses imposed by the application. This real-world information can then be used to predict the reliability of the drive in this particular case as well as feeding into our overall test programs.


Failure analysis

When a failure occurs, the next step is naturally to ask what went wrong – and how it might be avoided in future. That is the role of the Drives Failure Analysis Laboratory that undertakes root cause analysis using equipment and techniques such as 3D X-rays, acoustic scanners, SAM microscopes, and component cross sectioning. This helps determine if the product was nominal or defective, what caused the stress that led to the failure and this information then informs future test regimes.


About the author:

Kari Tikkanen is Principal Reliability Engineering Manager for ABB’s Robotics and Motion Division - abb.com/drives

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