Technology, VSD Compressors

Understanding Why VSD Makes a Difference


In economics, market equilibrium is reached when supply and demand are equal. It’s the point of optimum balance where customers get the goods they demand and suppliers produce just enough to meet those demands. Reaching market equilibrium means there’s no allocative inefficiency and no goods go to waste.

With compressed air, it’s just as important to match the supply of air with its demand so the highest level of energy efficiency can be reached. According to the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, many compressed air systems only run at full capacity about 60 to 100 hours a week, which means they’re running at a partial demand load the other 68 to 108 hours. The compressors end up sitting idly and wasting energy, and the fluctuating demand cannot be met unless you’re constantly starting and stopping the compressor’s motor.

Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology was created to address fluctuating air demand by using a special drive to control the speed of the unit and maintaining a constant delivery pressure. By varying the electric motor’s frequency and voltage, the motor can be controlled by the demand for air.

Energy Efficiency 

When VSD compressors are properly sized for end use applications, it can yield significant energy savings and better overall efficiency. On average, companies can save up to 35 percent of energy costs that are related to compressors.

Fewer Mechanical Stresses

A VSD system uses its inverter for a soft start operation when ramping up its motor speed. This startup process eliminates amperage draw peaks that are common with fixed speed motors. With soft starts, there are fewer mechanical stresses that can reduce the lifetime of your machine.

Rebate Incentives

Some states and local municipalities reward companies for investing in energy-saving production equipment, which can include VSD technology. These rewards may come in the form of rebates and other financial incentives. Check with your local government to see if VSD qualifies for rebates at your facility.

Many air compressor applications can benefit from VSD technology, saving you energy on inefficient starts and stops to your system. To see if you can benefit from switching to VSD, leave us a comment below or reach out to an Atlas Copco expert today.

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