Ultra-low harmonic drives from ABB ensure pollution-free electricity supplies

Electricity networks can easily be affected by harmonics, or higher-order oscillations introduced by various types of electrical equipment. Although solutions exist to counter or mitigate harmonics, it is better to install equipment that does not cause them in the first place. On the basis that “Prevention is better than cure”, ABB has developed a complete product family of variable speed drives (VSDs) that avoid these harmonics by design. The broad range of ultra-low harmonic (ULH) drives covers the complete power and voltage range for all kinds of industries and applications, providing customers with an effective solution to successfully tackle harmonic issues. 
The problem with harmonics

Harmonics in themselves are not a problem. Without harmonics, musical instruments would all sound the same, musicians wouldn’t be able to play chords and surfers wouldn’t have much pleasure on the waves. But in electrical systems, harmonics can result in negative disturbances, such as overheating or malfunctioning of equipment connected to the grid.

Because the generators in power plants rotate at constant and regulated speed, the current in an AC grid should ideally follow a smooth sine wave. However, in reality it often doesn’t because harmonics are introduced into the grid through equipment such as motor starters or variable speed drives. Harmonics can cause motors, transformers and other equipment to heat up, which is wasteful of energy, requires additional cooling and can ultimately damage the equipment. Displays and lighting can flicker, circuit breakers can trip and measurement devices can give false readings.

Prevention is better than cure

Preventing the development of harmonics is a far better strategy than treating the “symptoms” when the negative effects have already occurred. For this reason, ABB has developed a complete family of ULH drives designed from the start with built-in harmonic avoidance systems. By equipping the drives with specific features and capabilities, the problems caused by harmonics are avoided in the first place. This helps save customers a lot of time and money by ensuring trouble-free operation and a long lifetime for their equipment.

Wide range of ultra-low harmonic drive solutions

To take the harm out of harmonics, ABB’s ULH drives range includes variants of its ACS880 industrial drives and ACH580 HVAC drives. No matter what industry, application, power or voltage range is required, ABB offers the ideal ULH drive – based on the well-known ‘learn it once and use it everywhere’ all-compatible platform. Furthermore, ABB experts can provide customers with consultancy and support for any questions relating to harmonic distortion.

In 2015, ABB in Germany generated sales revenues of EUR 3.40 billion and employed 10,480 persons. ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees. 

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