VFDs vs. Soft Starters
A device that is available that can do similar functions as a VFD is known as a soft starter. There are some fundamental differences between these two and understanding the differences can show you the benefits that the VFD has over the soft starter.
For example, when you're using a soft starter, the motor is started at a reduced voltage and when it has reached full speed, the soft starter is going to kick into play. With a VFD, you have the ability to be able to vary the speed of the motor as it is operating by regulating the output frequency from the VFD.
To break it down more simply, a soft starter may be fine if you're only going to start the motor and ramp it up to full speed, but if any variation is going to be needed, variable frequency drives should be considered. The additional cost of the variable frequency drives will be well worth it when you need it for this purpose and will eventually pay for themselves in energy savings.
You will be happy to know that it is possible to replace the soft starter with a VFD. This may be a solution that you want to consider if it is necessary for you to vary the speed of the motor because a soft starter is not going to provide you with that option. One thing is certain, when you switch to a VFD, you can really increase your production. This solution is ideal for use on a blower or fan application, as well as on a pump.
We recommend the Yaskawa line of VFDs. These are top-of-the-line products and can really make a difference in your energy savings and cost control. When you purchase one of these items, financial incentives may be possible from your energy provider. You also have an improvement in your efficiency and the ability to network through a user-friendly interface.