What Is a Motor Drive?

The term “drive” in the realm of motor technology is often used to describe systems that include a motor, and these assemblies are able to conduct operations with multiple operating speeds. There are various types of drives as well, AC drive, with variable speed drive, and variable frequency drive systems all being unique types. While motor drives are crucial for the standard operations of many systems and assemblies, some may not quite be aware of what they are and what they exactly do. As such, we will discuss motor drives in more detail in this blog, allowing you to have a better grasp of their roles and types.

Before understanding what motor drives or drive systems are, it is first important to understand what motors and drives are independently. Motors are the mechanical or electrical device that allows for rotational or linear force to be generated for the means of powering a machine or apparatus. For a motor to function, it must be provided with power that is then transformed. As such, the drive is the electronic device that both harnesses and manages the electrical power used by the motor. With a drive, the motor will receive electrical power with a controlled frequency and amount. As such, the drive is responsible for the speed and torque of the motor.

Drives are generally separated into two groups, those of which are inverter drives and servo drives. Inverter drives are the most common, and they can be used for managing the speed and torque of the motor. While servo drives can also control speed and torque, they also can position machine components so that more complex movement can be achieved.

To ensure optimal torque, speed, and efficiency, a drive system must be made up of a matching drive and motor. For DC motors, a DC drive will be needed’ and thyristor-based control circuits are common in these assemblies for optimal management. It is often important to have such circuits as their thyristor bridge circuit will rectify AC current into DC current for the motor armature. For AC motors like induction types, AC drives are the best. These drives may be known as variable frequency drives or inverters. With an AC drive, AC current can be converted into DC current while varying switching methods are in place to ensure variable voltage and frequency outputs.

Motor drives or drive systems may be used for a wide variety of applications, and the specific type used will generally come down to the particular needs of the application. For example, DC motor drives are regularly used to manage the motor speeds and torque of machine tools, pumps, electric vehicles, and other such assemblies. AC motor drives, on the other hand, are often found in pumps, blowers, and fans where speed needs to be controlled. With a proper understanding of motors, drives, and your application, making the right purchasing choice can be much easier.

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December 1, 2022

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