Driven 20

Driven 20
a magazine for VACON stakeholders
VACON® NXP System Drive
The Drives Family
Vacon China Drives
20 1/2014
dear reader DR
20 1/2014
Driven. Volume 20. 1/2014. A magazine for Vacon stakeholders. © 2014 Vacon. VACON® is a registered trademark of Vacon Plc.
Editorial Board: Joni Lampinen (Editor-In-Chief), Kaija Olli (Managing Editor), Michael Björkman, Sebastian Linko,
Heikki Hiltunen.
English language editor: Andrew Fisher - Business English Services.
Design by satukala graphic design.
Photos by Vacon unless otherwise stated. Cover photo David Wang.
Printed by FRAM. Published by Vacon Plc, Finland. ISSN 1795-7664
If you no longer wish to receive Driven magazine, please email us at
4 our business THE DRIVES FAMILY
8 vacon news + vacon results 2013
14 our business POWER CONVERSION WITH VACON® NXP Grid Converter
tuuli sarvilinna
Vice President, Marketing,
Vacon Group.
EXPANDING the portfolio
to help customers and make
complex solutions simple
Vacon’s new strategy, which was published in November 2013, listed our
growth opportunities and gave a hint of what was coming: an expansion
of our product portfolio to cover system drives. Your response to the new
VACON® NXP System Drive, officially launched at the Vacon Drives Conference in Dubai in mid-January, has been very positive and encouraging. We
are on the right track and there is a clear need for this product: The VACON
NXP System Drive enables our system integrator partners to concentrate on
the overall solution while we focus on the drives. We want to make complex
solutions for heavy industry simple to use, configure and design. The VACON
NXP System Drive offers many other benefits as described on pages 12-13.
The launch of the VACON NXP System Drive was the first product launch
project I have been involved in since I joined Vacon almost one year ago. This
project saw the light of day, accompanied by a display of magic, during my
first ever Drives Conference. Both the launch preparations and the Drives
Conference were very enjoyable and exciting experiences. They strengthened my feeling of belonging to the Drives Family, our community that
brings together personnel, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders,
scholars and students – all the people who are Driven by Drives.
To reach our goal of having the best people, best customers and best products in the market, we still need the same dedication, passion and spirit on
which the company was founded 20 years ago. A strong team spirit and a
passionate attitude are something to cherish and nurture – it is as simple as that. Reading this Driven 20 magazine will hopefully give you
an idea of what Vacon and The Drives Family are all about!
drives conference 2014 our business ob
20 1/2014
WE SEE that true value is created together. That is
why we are creating The Drives Family where the
best people work together to develop the best products, applications and services for our customers.
Vacon will be a company that brings together personnel, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, scholars and students – all the people who are
Driven by Drives.
LOOKING AHEAD, we see that products and even industrial systems will communicate with each other
and create added value in networks. The competitive edge of AC drives will be found in the software.
This is where the biggest innovations and technology breakthroughs will be made.
AC DRIVES are solving some of the most exciting
challenges in the world. These drives are making
possible energy efficiency, smart buildings, electric
industrial vehicles, new smart industry and renewable energy production.
WE WILL BRING revolutionary new products, applications and services to our customers. Whenever
people think of AC drives, they will think of Vacon.
We provide a clear competitive edge to our customers. We already help them optimize their operations, save and produce energy efficiently and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thus making the
world and our way of living more sustainable.
OUR ATTITUDE, innovation, competence and courage will make us the first choice. We will have the
best people, best customers and best products in
the market. We have a unique spirit and culture
based on our shared values.
GLOBAL MEGATRENDS, such as urbanization, the
rise in industrial automation, energy efficiency,
emerging markets and renewable energy, support
growth in the AC drives market. We believe that the
AC drives market will grow faster than average industrial production in the long run.
WE AIM TO GROW faster than the market and with
solid profitability. This allows us to invest in future
growth and to share the value within The Drives
Mission: Possible
Vacon Drives Conference 2014
in Dubai, UAE
A total of 320 members of The Drives Family from 60 countries gathered
in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai in the United Arab Emirates
in mid-January. In his welcoming speech, conference
host Heikki Hiltunen, Executive Vice President,
wished all participants a good time!
Urbanization is one of the megatrends
driving growth in the AC drive market. Vesa
Laisi, President and CEO, says: “People are
moving into cities and want to have building
automation applications that make their
lives easier, such as air conditioning, highspeed elevators, escalators — you name it.
All these applications need AC drives!” VACON® AC drives were also needed to control the construction hoists when building
Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in
the world and located in Dubai (read more
in Driven 6).
A total of 150 break-out sessions were
held during the conference, where our
experts shared their knowledge, in some
cases generating a lively dialogue. This is
all part of Vacon’s new community-based vision, The Drives
Family, which was also one
topic in the panel discussion
on the last day.
“I would like to see
our customers and our own
employees working more and
more together, coming up with
great innovations in the future
for our common success!
Vesa Laisi, President and CEO
drives conference 2014 our business ob
20 1/2014
is about networking, sharing information, creating team spirit
Mission: Possible
and generating opportunities for future growth. In their
Thank you all – our Mission
feedback, the attendees felt that the conference achieved
these goals and even exceeded their expectations, and
they described the event as a whole with
glowing superlatives.
Among the highlights of
the conference was the
magic show launching the
VACON® NXP System Drive
(more about the product on
p. 12-13).
in Dubai was completed
successfully! We have celebrated
the past, and further strengthened
the foundation for creating a
prosperous future. Hope to see
you at the next Vacon Drives
Host Heikki Hiltunen welcoming a total
of 320 members of The Drives Family from
60 countries to Mission: Possible in Dubai
on 12-17 January 2014. The venue, the JW
Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, is one of
the landmarks in the city and is the tallest
hotel building in the world.
panel discussion
Jukka Kasi, Executive Vice
President, Product Operations
(left), Vesa Laisi, and
Heikki Hiltunen in a panel
Conference — wherever it will be!
Heikki Hiltunen,
Executive Vice President
mission: sandstorm
One of the 150 break-out sessions
was given by Stefan Strandberg,
Director, Technology and Research
for Global R&D.
In accordance with Drives
Conference traditions, awards
were given for outstanding
achievements during the
gala dinner on the last night.
Customers, partners and
our sales and marketing
personnel received awards.
Among the award winners
were the Vacon Pacific team
and their partners.
One of the most memorable events was Mission: Sandstorm, a dinner in the desert. The
Drives Family were dressed in Bedouin clothing, and enjoyed the sunset, local food and
beverages, and entertainment.
the vacon truck
A wide range of products were on display in
the Vacon Truck, which had travelled to Dubai
after more than 100 stops in Europe in 2013.
Some of the product portfolio break-out sessions were held in the Vacon Truck.
Youtube > Vacon Group > Drives Conference 2014.
vacon news | more about vacon at VN
20 1/2014
Background photo by
New premises
in São Paulo, Brazil
round 90 members of The Drives
Family came together on 2 December 2013 to celebrate 20 years of
Vacon and the official opening of
the new company premises in São Paulo,
Vacon’s Finnish roots were represented
by Heikki Hiltunen, Executive Vice President,
Jan Jarne, Finnish General Consul to Brazil,
and Matti Landin, Director of Latin America
for Finpro, who explained the vast potential
for Finnish companies in Brazil. Claudio Baccarelli, Managing Director of Vacon in Brazil,
also gave a presentation explaining Vacon’s
performance and targets in the region.
Matti Landin (left) and Heikki Hiltunen cutting the ribbon. Claudio Baccarelli (left) and Jan Jarne watch on.
The Training Center in Vaasa has been relocated to larger, purpose-built
premises with a fresh look. Left, the classroom + lab (“Thomas Edison”) and
right, the workshop and coffee room (“Leonardo da Vinci”).
new Training Center
in Vaasa
The Vacon Training Center in Vaasa, Finland, has moved to newly
renovated premises in the Futura II building near the head office
and factory. All technical training in Vaasa will now be held in the
Training Center. With a total area of 260 m2, the Training Center
houses a workshop, lab, classroom with 20 seats and an office
area. All Vacon products are available at the lab, which provides
excellent opportunities for practical hands-on training and testing. In addition to the standard training courses, the new facilities can also be the venue for customer workshops, personnel
training and for personnel and customer events. The idea is to
make maximum use of the facilities. “You are welcome to bring
your colleagues and customers here for training, a workshop or
some other event,” say the Training Center personnel.
branch office
in Croatia
Vacon strengthened its foothold and ability to provide local support for its customers in the Adriatic area by opening a representative office in Zagreb, the capital of
Croatia. “I think this was a good time for
Vacon to establish an office in this region.
There are many promising and expanding business sectors in Croatia such as
the marine and offshore industry and
many other industries where VACON®
AC drives can help customers with cost
and energy efficiency. In addition, Croatia’s central location in the area gives the
company many good new growth possibilities,” says Johann Goldfuss, Managing
Director for Vacon’s subsidiary in Austria.
VACON® 100 X -
best in
The 39th MCE global comfort technology exhibition was held in Milan, Italy
from 18-21 March. MCE is an extremely important exhibition
that showcases the most advanced technologies in home and
building automation, energy efficiency and HVAC systems.
Thanks to its innovative technology and efficiency, VACON
100 X was selected by the Next Energy Scientific Committee
(chaired by the Politecnico di Milano) as ‘Best in class’ in the
category ‘Products and systems presented by MCE Exhibitors’. See full story at
MCE was well attended by many OEM professionals, system
integrators, engineers and end users. Visitors to Vacon’s stand
were happy to meet the team and enjoy a live experience with
the products. They were able to see and touch the machinery
demonstration, play with the special effect 3D products in virtual mode and see the new Vacon solar pump solution.
First XML produced manuals available!
The first Vacon manual produced with a structured
XML documentation system and written in STE
(Simplified Technical English) is now available.
Vacon is one of the first companies in Finland to
implement these two new standards in product
documentation. The new VACON® 100 application
manual and installation manuals (DPD00927F and
DPD00873E) can be downloaded at
com. The application manual has already been translated into several other languages taking advantage
of the XML system. The language versions are now
available in electronic and printed formats.
The XML system has all data in modules, and
these are only maintained and updated in one location and are completely re-usable. It will also be easy
to obtain customized manuals from the system, such
as for specific frame sizes. A structured documentation production system is the only option when the
amount of data and number of languages increase.
During 2014, Vacon will have more manuals con-
verted to XML, which significantly enhances the accuracy of the manuals and speeds up the time-tomarket and translation processes. The XML system
also opens the way for mobile touchscreen apps and
augmented reality solutions, which are the future in
product information.
STE (Simplified Technical English) is a standard
for technical English that permits the use of a limited number of words and terms and uses short,
clear sentences. A Vacon-specific STE vocabulary
has been created for the standard. STE improves the
readability of manuals and reduces the risk of misunderstanding the content. Along with STE, Vacon
is creating a Vacon Technical Glossary in all Drives
Family languages, aiming for more consistent manuals and translations throughout the Vacon Group.
User documentation forms an integral part of a
product, so these development steps will further
support and strengthen Vacon’s product leadership
in the AC drives market.
If you have any questions or comments on Vacon product manuals, don’t hesitate to contact Pasi Savola, Documentation Manager.
20 1/2014
vacon results | more about vacon at
Guy Piedfort joined the Vacon team
in Belgium on 6 January 2014. He
has taken over responsibility for
Belgium and Luxemburg from
Daniel Daniël De Coster, who plans to retire in
2014. Before joining Vacon, Guy has had over
23 years of drives experience at Siemens and
was responsible for the technical and commercial management of key accounts.
Effective 31 March 2014, Javier Lara has
been appointed managing director of
Vacon Spain in Barcelona. Javier Lara has
wide experience in sales and marketing
in various countries, especially in Iberia,
UK and Latin America.
Effective 1 May 2014, Santiago Martin, former managing director of
Vacon Spain, has been appointed Vice President, Latin America. In
the photo, Santiago Martin (left) and Javier Lara (right).
the Finnish Challenge Tour
in Hyvinkää in August
Increased revenues,
improved profitability
n 2013, Vacon increased its revenues and improved
its profitability in the challenging state of the market. In the company’s assessment, the growth in
the AC drive market remained slow in 2013.
Revenues in 2013 totalled EUR 403.0 million and
the operating profit percentage excluding one-time
items was 10.1%. Vacon’s order intake was in 2013
nearly on the same level as in the previous year.
Orders in the EMEA and APAC regions increased a
little in 2013. Orders in North and South America
declined in January-December 2013.
In January-December 2013 Vacon’s revenues increased from the period for comparison. Revenues
increased for example for products for building automation and renewable energy production. In 2013
revenues rose in the EMEA and APAC regions, but fell
in North and South America. Vacon has taken additional measures to put orders and revenues in North
and South America on a growth track in 2014.
In 2013, the company’s profitability clearly improved
from the period for comparison, but the profitability of
the year’s final quarter was weaker than during the period for comparison due to the decline in revenues. A
particular factor in the improvement in the profitability
in 2013 was the cost benefits obtained from transferring material sourcing to lower-cost countries.
Prospects and market guidelines for 2014
Market research institute IHS estimates that the AC
drive market will grow at an average rate of 7% in
the period 2012-2017. Global megatrends, such as
urbanisation, growth in industrial automation, energy efficiency, developing markets and renewable
energy boost growth in the AC drive market. Growth
in the AC drive market varies from year to year, even
from one quarter to another, but as a general esFinancial reports in 2014:
Jan-Mar 23 April, Jan-Jun 30 July, Jan-Sep 22 Oct.
Vesa Laisi, President and CEO, Vacon Plc,
phone +358 (0)40 8371 510, vesa.laisi(at)
Sebastian Linko, Director, Corporate Communications
and Investor Relations, Vacon Plc,
phone +358 (0)40 8371 634, sebastian.linko(at)
timate, the AC drive market is growing faster than
global average growth in gross national product.
Overall market developments are exposed to various uncertainties in 2014. Vacon estimates that the
AC drive market will increase some 5-10 % in 2014,
depending on overall market developments. The
company has expanded and renewed its product offering in the past few years, which places the company in a strong position to grow faster than the AC
drive market in 2014.
Vacon’s goal is to improve its profitability in 2014.
Key factors in this will be the cost benefits from transferring material sourcing to lower cost countries, and
raising overall efficiency in its operations. Vacon estimates that its revenues will increase 5 - 15% and its
operating profit percentage excluding one-time items
will be 11 - 13% in 2014.
2013 results
Order intake
403.0388.4 3.8%
Operating profit w/o 1-time items
2012 Change
Operating profit, % of revenues 10.1%
Net cash flow from op. activities
52.3 -10.7%
EPS, eur
Dividend per share, eur
revenues by region
revenues by sales channel
“Succeeding in sports requires passion, commitment and focus. These qualities are also part of
Vacon’s brand. We at Vacon want to support worldclass sports and offer our customers unique experiences,” says Joni Lampinen, Vacon’s Brand and
Marketing Communications Director.
The Vacon Open will be widely televised throughout the Nordic countries and Europe. “The event is
being held later in the year than in the past, which
in every way will give the event better visibility and
it will also receive more attention,” Lampinen continues.
In the European Challenge Tour events players
can earn points towards their Olympic golf ranking.
This year the season will take in 27 tournaments in
21 countries.
general review
acon is main sponsor of the European Challenge Tour golf event to be played at Kytäjä
Golf, Hyvinkää, Finland on 14-17 August this
year. The Vacon Open will feature many wellknown players and will offer great experiences for
golf enthusiasts on the course and on television in
the Nordic countries and Europe.
Vacon Plc has signed a cooperation agreement
with the Finnish Golf Union and Sponsvision, promoters of the Finnish Challenge Tour event, giving
Vacon rights to the European Challenge Tour tournament name, to be played at Kytäjä Golf, Hyvinkää
on 14-17 August. The Vacon Open will be attended
by Ari Savolainen, who has been playing as a professional for almost ten years. He is also a member of
Vacon’s Team Driven, a team of top athletes.
*) Figures adjusted in accordance with IAS 19.
More details of changes in IFRS standards are
given in the interim report.
Direct sales Distributor
Brand label System int
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Photos by Shutterstock and Vacon
Common DC bus technology is one of the growing trends in
electrical engineering, giving savings in energy, space and
costs. Vacon is now introducing the VACON® NXP System Drive:
a standardized system drive that can be configured using preengineered, verified options. The VACON NXP System Drive
simplifies integration and installation, and also brings end users
significant life time benefits such as lower maintenance costs and a
minimal need for spare parts and training.
Modularity gives
for many different
in detail
The VACON® NXP System Drive
is based on standardized system
drive modules, which can be configured using pre-engineered, verified options. For more information, please go to www.vacon.
com > Products > AC drives >
VACON NXP System Drive or
YouTube > Vacon Group
acon provides engineering services globally
for its partners. “Vacon is a partner who it
is easy to work with, and we want to further
enhance our cooperation with partners. The
VACON NXP System Drive concept will improve our
abilities to serve our partners, to be more responsive and to provide a broader scope of delivery,” says
Jari Marjo, Marketing Director, Premium Drives,
Vacon Plc. “The concept also allows system integrators to focus on the overall solution, while we focus
on the drives,” Marjo continues.
Pre-engineered sections, but
configurable with options
VACON NXP System Drives can be used in a wide
range of industries, such as power generation (including renewable energy production), water and
wastewater, metals, pulp and paper, marine and
offshore, and cranes and hoists.
The VACON NXP System Drive is based on preengineered sections which are configurable: It is
based on air-cooled VACON® NXP and VACON®
Common DC bus products, comprising an extensive
range of modules in a wide power range. The VACON
NXP System Drive is available in several IP ratings,
and CE and UL certification provides external verification for the product. The control and power sections in the modules are separated for greater safety. Auxiliary components, incoming devices, supply
units and inverter modules are provided as separate
pre-engineered sections.
Diverse life-cycle benefits
The VACON NXP System Drive provides a wide range
of life-cycle benefits. Thanks to the tested and verified enclosure design and the standardization of
the process and tools, the engineering lead time is
short, which helps system integrators. Vacon has
tools to assist in the selection of drives. Installation,
integration and commissioning are simplified, and a
comprehensive set of documentation is provided at
the time of delivery.
Standardized modular design also improves reliability, gives savings and minimizes the need for
spare parts. “Installing and maintaining the VACON
NXP System Drive is quick thanks to easy access:
the modules and components can be pulled out from
the front of the enclosure. Replacing a module takes
only 15 minutes! This ensures minimum downtime,”
explains Jari Marjo. Maintenance tasks do not require any special tools, and the use of standardized
sections means that maintenance personnel need
less training. Vacon’s global service network can, if
necessary, provide support at any time.
In terms of cash flow optimization, standardized
sections offer cost savings by enabling late delivery
of drive modules. For large-scale projects where
there is often a long delay between delivery and installation, the enclosure can be delivered first and
the drive modules later when they are actually needed in the commissioning. As the VACON NXP System
Drive is based on standardized sections, there is no
need to reserve extra time for installation.
Vacon is a partner who it is easy
to work with, and we want to
further enhance our cooperation
with partners.
Jari Marjo, Marketing Director,
Premium Drives, Vacon Plc.
for videos on the subject.
For questions or comments,
contact Jari Marjo, Marketing
Director, Premium Drives, Vacon
Plc, mobile +358 40 8371 951, email
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Story by Anton Nurmikoski
Photo by
Power conversion
Grid Converter
The VACON® NXP grid converter
For more detailed information on the
VACON NXP Grid Converter, please see
Increasing public awareness of the impact of air pollution on
the environment – and on health – is forcing many ship and > Products >
AC drives > VACON NXP Grid Converter.
sea port owners to look for more efficient technologies for
generating electrical power.
missions of carbon (CO2), nitrogen (NOx)
and sulfur (SOx) substances from maritime
shipping are growing year-on-year, due to a
steady increase in traffic. Meanwhile, prices
for refined petroleum products with lower emission
values are at an all-time high. This trend is unlikely
to change in the near future – bad news for ship
The good news is that Vacon has a long experience of using VACON NXP Grid Converters in renewable power generation, and the same technology
can be successfully applied to marine applications
such as shore-to-ship applications (also known as
Cold Ironing), shaft generator systems and static
power supplies. Ship owners and port operators
can utilize grid converter technology to significantly
reduce carbon and nitrogen emission levels and improve ship fuel economy, thus responding to the latest changes in emission control legislation.
Shore supply connection
A shore supply connection with VACON NXP Grid
Converter removes the need to run auxiliary generators while a ship is berthed in port. Electrical
power is instead sourced from the local grid, which
gives rise to far less pollution than power generated
onboard. Taking into account the fact that, on average, more than 50% of the energy content of heavy
fuel oil is wasted in different ways, a shore supply
connection can have a significant impact on fuel
economy. This gives ship owners a better chance
of avoiding the CO2 emission charges which often
apply in port areas. Additional benefits include re14
in detail
typical solution, the shaft generator feeds power to
the ship grid (power take out) but it is also possible
to use the generator as a motor (power take in). It
is for example possible to boost the prime mover by
taking electrical power from the ship grid. A black
start (also known as a cold start) is possible when
running synchronous generators.
ductions in noise, vibration levels, and maintenance
costs for auxiliary generators.
Electricity is supplied to the ship at 50 Hz or 60
Hz through ship grid equipment, which comprises
a low-voltage grid converter, a harmonic filter and
an isolating transformer. Shore side equipment
with sufficient ratings is selected according to the
required THDi level, which can be as low as <5%
when an active front-end unit is installed. VACON
NXP Grid Converter modules can also be paralleled
for higher power ratings or redundancy.
Shaft generator application
As well as being connected to a shore supply, the
Grid Converter can also be used in shaft generator
applications. Utilizing Vacon technology with a shaft
generator allows the propulsion machinery (typically diesel engines) to operate with an optimal duty
point at various speeds while maintaining a ship grid
frequency fixed at 50 Hz or 60 Hz, ensuring that fuel
consumption remains highly efficient. This gives an
average reduction of 10-20% in consumption, and
at the same time minimizes exhaust emissions. The
technology can be applied both to new ships and to
older vessels through a retrofit. In many cases, the
payback period is less than two years.
As with a shore supply, it comprises equipment
both for the generator and for the ship grid. The
generator, which can be a synchronous or asynchronous PM, is controlled by a low-voltage inverter.
The ship grid equipment includes a Grid Converter,
a harmonic filter and an isolation transformer. In a
Distinctive features
One of the distinctive features of VACON NXP Grid
Converter technology is the possibility to distribute the total load across several generation points,
such as between several Grid Converters or auxiliary generators connected to the same grid. Grid Converter software takes care of load sharing by drooping frequency and voltage in accordance with the
total power demand. The load sharing logic makes
sure that the grid is supplied with precisely the correct amount of required power. Interaction with upper logic or the power management system (PMS)
is through I/O or, alternatively, through a masterfollower fiber-optic connection, which allows the
user to have an overall view of the whole system.
Another feature that is characteristic of VACON
NXP Grid Converter technology is the capability to
detect and produce sufficient short-circuit current
in case of a grid fault. The typical requirement for
available short-circuit current is two or three times
the nominal current, for up to several seconds. This
feature ensures that grid selectivity is maintained
and equipment is safely isolated from the fault location as quickly as possible.
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20 1/2014
Story by Anton Nurmikoski
Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises
Power conversion
Grid Converter
Case study –
River cruiser
ACON NXP Grid Converter technology has been
successfully used on a cruise vessel operated
by Viking River Cruises in Central Europe. The
vessel’s diesel-electric propulsion system is
based solely on inverter-driven asynchronous generators and propulsion motors. All Vacon converters
are connected to a common DC bus. In contrast to
a conventional propulsion system, this solution does
not require a space-consuming switchboard, a clear
benefit onboard where space is at a premium.
The main propulsion system consists of four
electrically-driven Schottel rudder propellers. The
required electrical power for the ship’s network and
propulsion system is provided by three diesel gen-
erator sets (2 x 1000 kW, 1 x 560 kW). The generators are dimensioned to provide sufficient power for
the ship’s network and propulsion drives mainly by
just two diesel generator sets. However, only one
generator set is needed to ensure reliable operation of the vessel.
The DC main board allows a very short response
time to load variations. The short response time
combined with a sophisticated load management
system eliminates the need for a brake chopper, or
similar device, which is typically used in conventional diesel-electric propulsion systems.
The many benefits of this innovative system include a significant reduction in fuel consumption
as well as in CO2, NOx and SOx emission levels. The
ship’s grid load is continuously monitored and power generation is adjusted accordingly, so the engines
produce only the necessary amount of power at any
given moment. When berthed, the ship is supplied
with electric power from a local grid through the
Grid Converter, which cuts fuel consumption even
further. In conclusion, it can be said that VACON
NXP Grid Converter technology has helped develop
a new concept based on powerful propulsion that
will benefit the environment, passengers and ship
owners alike.
The ship’s grid load is continuously
monitored and power generation is
adjusted accordingly, so the engines
produce only the necessary amount of
power at any given moment.
20 1/2014
in detail
from the earth
“Our aim is to supply as many people, businesses
and institutions as possible with clean district
heat,” states Michael Weng, managing director of
Energiewende Garching. The geothermal system
began operation in April 2012 in the municipality
near Munich, Germany. It offers huge benefits,
not least due to the trouble-free operation of the
pumping installation for the heat well, controlled
by AC drives.
ome 99% of planet Earth has a temperature of
more than 1000 degrees Celsius. This heat is
used in geothermal processes. “Geothermal
energy” or “energy from the earth” describes
the heat stored in the part of the earth’s crust
that is accessible to us, heat that can be extracted
and used to good purpose. The name Energiewende
Garching (EWG, “Energy Turnaround for and in
Garching”) is not just a name for the operators, the
Municipality of Garching and Bayernwerk AG, the
largest energy provider in the region, which both
have a 50% holding in EWG. It is also a program
that is accepted as an ongoing commitment and is
carried out in a spirit of climate and environmental
protection, aiming at the sustainable provision of
energy needs.
Sophisticated high-tech solutions
To ensure a sustainable, regenerative supply of district heat to Garching, a hydrothermal system is used
that accesses hot, underground water resources.
The hydrothermal heat energy for Garching is obtained from the TH2 geothermal borehole at a depth
of around 2000 m. After heat extraction, the water is
returned through the TH1 return borehole to the grey
limestone groundwater strata from which it originates, at a depth of 2000 m. The process engineering
involved designing and constructing a pressurization
system to ensure that the entire heat recovery system (from extraction borehole to return borehole) is
kept under pressure in order to reliably prevent outgassing from the hot water.
Natural pressure only raises the hot water to
around 110 meters below ground level, so the water,
with a temperature of 74°C, is pumped to the surface
by a submerged centrifugal pump. This pump is 18 m
long and is suspended in the borehole at a depth of
340 m. From the outside the submerged centrifugal
geothermal water pump appears to be just a long, slim
metal tube, but inside it is packed with state-of-the art
technology designed for many years of service under
extreme conditions. The pump can achieve a volume
flow up to a maximum of 100 liters per second. With a
top temperature of 74°C at the extraction borehole, the
geothermal energy circuit provides a usable heat content of up to 8 MW (approx. 192 MW hours a day). The
pump is located beneath a garage-sized building on the
drilling site that also houses the end of the extraction
Story by ICD Hamburg GmbH
Photos by and Vacon
chosen because of its
exceptional performance
pipe leading to the surface. The feed pump power supply is located in another building on the TH2 drilling site.
Sophisticated VACON AC drives make
process possible
The heart of the extraction system is the motor that
drives the underground extraction pump; this is
supplied by a 12-pulse AC drive with an integrated
sinus filter in the output that allows the speed to
be controlled between 39 and 57 Hz. An enclosed
VACON® NXC AC drive was chosen because of its
exceptional performance characteristics. The AC
drives from Vacon are compact and have been extensively tested for use under tough operating conditions. They are generally used in the mining, oil,
gas, water and waste water treatment industries.
The excellent thermal properties of the enclosure
ensure that the AC drive has a long life and troublefree operation, even in harsh conditions.
The power supply to the installation is via a special
transformer with a 20 kV primary winding and three
secondary windings providing 2 x 690 V and 400 V. The
two secondary 690 V windings supply the AC drive
unit through a 12 pulse input. This particular configuration means that the AC drive can be configured as
a low voltage supply system, which offers advantages
during installation and in terms of the qualifications
required of the operator’s personnel. In the output of
the sinus filter there is a step-up-transformer ensuring that the motor feeds with its nominal voltage.
The chosen supply system makes it possible to keep
harmonic content on the 20 kV side at a relatively low
level. In this application a robust, proven product is
used, characterized by totally problem-free operation
and easy parameter setting from a PC or its display.
Operating the load, in this case just a pump, may at
first seem unremarkable. However, operating an 18
m long slim structure without the risk of dangerous
vibrations, over virtually the entire frequency range is
quite a challenge. This is a task which the VACON AC
drive, with its sophisticated motor control software
running on the powerful NXP3 main processor, manages very well.
Consideration of the environment and
the location
As a shareholder of EWG, the Municipality of Garching is fully aware of its duty to act responsibly, considering the future needs of the economic area and
the community. The system does not supply just
the householders of Garching, it also supplies businesses in the district of Hochbrück with geothermal
district heat. Because Garching is an economic area
that must be able to compete with neighbouring
communities and with the regional capital, the geothermal energy project has created an important advantage for this area. Companies that are looking to
settle in this municipality appreciate the sustainable
design of the buildings and, above all, the ecological
heat supply available on affordable terms. Affordable
protection of the environment, reliable operation of
technical facilities and local contacts: all these are
advantages that companies appreciate.
“We have a duty to create
a heat supply system
today; one that is
independent and
safeguards our future.”
Hannelore Gabor,
the First Mayor
20 1/2014
clean tech
Photos by Karen Tam
the president
of the united
states visits Vacon
in North Carolina
President Barack Obama
paid a visit to the Vacon
Research and Development
center in Research Triangle
Park, NC on 15 January 2014.
The visit was part of the
president’s travel
to North Carolina.
The president’s tour
at Vacon was also
accompanied by
Ernest Moniz,
United States
Secretary of
e were privileged and honored to welcome President Obama to Vacon. We arranged a tour at our
R&D lab, demonstrating how Vacon is actively
involved with making the world and our way
of living more sustainable in terms of energy efficiency,” said Dan Isaksson, vice president of medium
voltage drives at Vacon, who was one of the hosts
during the visit.
“So the reason I came here today is because
we’ve got to do more to connect universities like NC
State with companies like Vacon to make America
the number-one place in the world to open new
businesses and create new jobs. We want to do that
here in North Carolina, and we want to do this all
across America,” said President Obama during his
speech at the North Carolina State University.
Vacon, headquartered in Finland, is the world’s
largest company focusing solely on AC drives, which
are used to control the speed of electric motors to
maximize energy efficiency. Vacon’s operations in
North Carolina are focused on research and development of Vacon’s new product line, medium-voltage AC drives.
In November 2013 Vacon published its new vision, The Drives Family where the best people work
together to develop the best products, applications
and services for customers. “The newly-published
Vacon vision is tangible here in North Carolina.
The combination of a highly skilled and innovative
workforce, a business-friendly climate and the opportunity to collaborate with various companies and
universities made the Triangle area a great choice
for Vacon,” Isaksson said.
Watch the video on
YouTube > Search for
Vacon Group or go to
Next Generation
Power Electronics
Innovation Institute in
North Carolina, USA
vision - The
Drives Family
The Obama Administration announced on 15 January 2014
the selection of North Carolina State University to lead a
public-private manufacturing innovation institute for next
generation power electronics. The institute will bring together over 25 companies, universities and state and federal organizations to develop and manufacture wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor-based power electronics.
Power electronics convert and control electrical power across
the grid and in a growing array of products used by industry,
consumers, the military, and utilities. Wide bandgap (WBG)
semiconductors – the same materials used in LED light fixtures and many flat screen TVs – can improve energy efficiency in the next generation of power electronics while also
reducing cost and system size. WBG semiconductors used in
variable frequency drives (VFDs), for example, can increase
the efficiency of industrial motor systems. WBG-based power
electronics function at higher operating temperatures and
frequencies than today’s widely used, silicon-based power
The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute — which
supports President Obama’s vision for a full national network of up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes — will
be supported by a $70 million Energy Department investment over five years as well as a matching $70 million in
U.S. Department of Energy
non-federal cost-share.
Vacon has defined a new vision for its
operations: to create The Drives Family
(read more on p. 4). Cooperation within
the Next Generation Power Electronics
Institute in North Carolina is one way of
building The Drives Family.
After visiting Vacon Research and Development center in Research Triangle Park
on 15 January 2014, President Obama’s
second stop was to deliver remarks at
North Carolina State University, home of
one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the USA, and to announce the selection of North Carolina
State University to lead a public-private
manufacturing innovation institute for
next generation power electronics. Watch
the video on YouTube > Search for Vacon
Group or go to
Beside the president, Rod Washington, Sr. Development
Engineer, Vacon Inc. Behind (left), Dan Isaksson, Vice President, Medium Voltage Drives, Vacon, and Ernest Moniz,
Secretary of Energy.
in detail
Check out a new Energy Department video
on wide bandgap semiconductors and how they are expected to
jumpstart the next generation of smaller, faster, cheaper and
more efficient power electronics for personal devices, electric
vehicles, renewable power interconnection, industrial-scale mo
tors and a smarter, more flexible grid.
20 1/2014
Story by Vacon Middle East team
Photos by and courtesy of Arab Potash Company
Arab Potash Company (APC) is
a major producer of potash, an essential mineral
used for example in fertilizers. APC’s plant in Ghor Al Safi,
approximately 110 km south of Amman in Jordan, has been extended
several times to increase and optimize production. VACON® AC drives have
been used at the site since 2006 to control pumps and process equipment.
The business relationship is growing continuously.
process control
at Arab Potash Company
otash production at Arab Potash Company’s
site in Ghor Al Safi began in 1983 with an
annual capacity of 1.2 million tons. In 2012,
APC produced 1.8 million tons of potash
and aims at further increasing its annual capacity to
2.5 million tons. To achieve this, APC has both upgraded its existing production lines and built new
ones, such as a cold crystallization plant.
Variable speed drives supplied in the 1990s by
another manufacturer have been replaced with
VACON AC drives, and most of these are used to
control pumps and other process equipment. Vacon
has supplied to the site VACON® NXC, VACON® NXP
and VACON® NXS drives in the range of 2.2 kW to 710
kW (400 V and 690 V) with an approximate installed
power of 26 MW. All drives are in IP54 enclosures,
which means that the drives can be installed in the
process environment without any extra protection.
The Profibus-DP protocol is used for communication. The deliveries also include dust filters, panel
heaters, motor temperature protection modules,
contactor units, line isolators and dU/dt filters.
Optimum pump control and significant
energy savings
Put simply, the key process in the potash recovery
at Ghor Al Safi involves pumping water (brine) from
the Dead Sea into huge salt ponds and then, after
solar evaporation, pumping the concentrated brine
on to the processing plants to produce the final
product, potassium chloride.
The operation of these pumps is controlled by
VACON AC drives. Using the VACON AC drives improves
process control and enables optimum pump control,
resulting in a steady flow and pressure. By accelerating the pump motors quickly but smoothly to their
running speed, the drives help avoid extra mechanical stress on the parts. Pump control with VACON AC
drives also reduces energy consumption by 20%. This
is achieved by continuously adjusting the speed of the
motor according to process requirements. The power
required by the drive is proportional to the speed of the
driven equipment. This means that even a small drop
in speed leads to huge energy savings.
Easy to operate and monitor
Continuous monitoring of the process is important
for the quality of the end product. “VACON AC drives
are reliable and easy to operate. They have extensive communication possibilities which enable us
to have full control and to monitor the drives over
the DCS and SCADA automation systems at all the
plants,” says Mr M Owadeh, Electrical & Instruments Manager, Arab Potash Company.
Close cooperation and local support
APC’s strategy is to rely on strategic long term associations, geographical advantages and high quality service. Cooperation between Arab Potash Company and Vacon started in 2006 when the companies
signed a contract for high power drives worth more
than one million euros. In 2011 and 2012, the companies signed several other contracts.
Vacon’s long term partner in Jordan, Younes
Khader Trading, has provided technical, commissioning and after sales support locally. Younes
Khader is Vacon’s authorized service center and
provides repair facilities, spare parts and training.
Mr Mohammad Y. Khader, General Manager of the
company says: “We have been working with Vacon
for the past 15 years and are pleased to say that this
long-term partnership has resulted in having loyal
customers such as APC, which has approved Vacon
as their variable speed AC drives supplier. Keeping in
stock VACON variable speed AC drives up to 355 kW
and spare parts for drives up to 710 kW, and offering
24-hour service have a great impact in the area where
the customer’s needs are served immediately.”
As the result of years of cooperation, mutual trust
among the partners is strong. “Thanks to the high
quality of the VACON variable speed AC drives and
the qualified Vacon service center with training facilities available nearby, we recommend VACON AC
drives for our coming projects and for our OEM suppliers, such as FLSmidth which supplies us with harvesters from the USA,” says Mr M Owadeh, Electrical
& Instruments Manager, Arab Potash Company.
Ismo Korhonen, Vacon’s Regional Sales Director
for the Gulf Region, is very honored by the long-term
cooperation with Arab Potash Company. “Our first
agreement with Arab Potash Company in 2006 was
an excellent breakthrough for Vacon, particularly in
the Middle East region, and an indication of the trust
that customers have in us and our products. We are
extremely glad that APC has chosen us as their AC
drives supplier and that our business relationship is
today continuing to grow positively,” he says.
Vacon has had a presence in the United Arab
Emirates since 2005, with its office located in the
Dubai Airport Free Zone, the region’s premier free
zone destination. It has a Regional Service & Training Center in the UAE and provides efficient services and support to all its clients in the Middle East,
either directly or through well-established service
in detail
potash refers to a group of potassium (K) bearing minerals and chemicals.
The compound, Potassium Chloride (KCL), refers to a naturally occurring,
pink, salty mineral. KCL is the dominating mineral in the world potash
market. Potash is an important mineral used in the fertilizer industry,
which plays a significant role in producing more and more high-quality
agricultural products for the world’s growing population.
The Arab Potash Company (APC) sells potash in more than 30 countries but is a major
supplier in about ten markets and the primary supplier in its region. Today, some 40 to
45 % of APC’s sales go to India, which is the world’s largest importer of fertilizers. APC’s
production is graded in four categories: standard, fine, industrial and granular potash.
Arab Potash Company’s Ghor Al Safi site is located 110 kilometers south of Amman and
200 kilometers north of Aqaba in Jordan. The site is a solar evaporation pond system
with an area of 150 square kilometers and processing plants for the ore. A molecule of
water takes up to 12 months on the trip from the Dead Sea through APC’s pond system
and back again after shedding its cargo of minerals.
20 1/2014
Story by Günter Schwarz
VACON 100® units keep
waste treatment
process running
in Salzburg
Salzburg Waste Management Ltd. (SAB*)
in Austria faced serious problems in June
2013 when severe floods damaged their
organic waste treatment plant and block
heating station. A very quick response
was required and emergency operation,
otherwise the bacterial strain that is
needed for the biological treatment would
die. If that happened, SAB would suffer a
complete standstill in this section of their
plant for a further 6 months.
acon Austria – located in Leobersdorf – was
able to promptly deliver a few multi-purpose
VACON 100 AC drives to keep the process up
and running. Since rebuilding was necessary, SAB decided to modernize the plant at the
same time, and selected Vacon as their preferred
AC drives supplier. Vacon will also be the preferred
supplier in future projects. “We are very happy about
our new partnership with SAB and look forward to
extended cooperation,” says Johann Goldfuss, Managing Director, Vacon Austria.
Versatile VACON 100 for wide range of uses
The plant was restarted in November 2013. Vacon
has supplied a total of 21 VACON 100 drives to the
whole treatment plant, in the power range of 1.5 kW
up to 55 kW. VACON 100 is a multipurpose drive that
can be used in hundreds of different applications
and its features are designed to make it easy to
run and maintain. At SAB’s treatment plant, VACON
100 drives control centrifugal pumps, fans, conveyors and squeezing machines. SAB decided to use
Photos by and courtesy of SAB
VACON 100 drives in all applications, even though
the VACON 100 FLOW would also have been an ideal
choice for the pumps and fans. SAB keeps a few
VACON 100 units in stock in case of sudden replacement needs, so having just one type of drive for all
applications makes life simpler.
All drives are provided with the Safe Torque Off
option, which significantly improves safety at work by
preventing the motor from generating torque on the
motor shaft and preventing unintentional start-ups.
The function also corresponds to an uncontrolled
stop in accordance with stop category 0 of EN 602041. The integrated Profibus interface is used for communication with the upper-level (PLC) system.
Robust and user- and environmentfriendly
With the VACON 100 drives controlling the speed
of the motors of the pumps, fans, conveyors and
squeezing machines, this significantly improved
process control and reliability. For instance, starting the pumps smoothly decreases the stress on
the electrical network and mechanical parts and reduces pressure spikes in the pipeline. Reduced mechanical stress results in lower maintenance costs.
SAB is happy with the features of the VACON 100,
especially with its user friendliness and robust design, which makes it suitable for industrial applications. The VACON 100 is fitted with varnished boards,
which have a longer lifetime in demanding environments, and the power capacitors use environmentally friendly thin film technology.
in detail
*SAB: Salzburg Waste Management Ltd. is
the contractual partner of 51 municipalities in the
provinces of Salzburg, and manages the waste of
approximately 400,000 people and 3,000 commercial
and industrial enterprises. More than 100 employees
handle the treatment and disposal of over 200,000
tonnes of waste a year in this state-of-the-art facility.
“Thanks to the quick delivery
and extensive support provided
by Vacon, we were able to keep
the process in the biological
treatment plant alive and
running and therefore saved a
lot of time.”
Christian Aigner
(DI, FH), plant manager at SAB.
20 1/2014
Story by Kaija Olli
Photos by Vacon
Imagine a public building serving tens of thousands
of people daily. Good air quality and fire safety are
matters of high priority. VACON® 100 X AC drives
in detail
are an ideal choice to control fans that bring fresh
Per Aarsleff A/S selected VACON®
100 X drives to control fans in one
of their ventilation system projects.
IP66 (Type 4X) enclosures protect
the drives when they operate in a
demanding environment.
air to the building and provide effective ventilation
in case of fire.
air quality
and fire
acon has supplied VACON 100 X AC drives to
Per Aarsleff A/S, a leading Danish contracting
company. Their expertise lies in problem solving, planning and implementing large-scale
projects for infrastructure, climate change adaptation, the environment, energy etc. – from design to
handover. Aarsleff has a strong position in Denmark
and the Baltic Sea region, and they solve projects in
most parts of the world. Recently, Per Aarsleff A/S
selected the VACON 100 X drives to control fans in
one of their large-scale ventilation system projects.
Vacon’s fan application controls air quality, including temperature.
Fire safety mode is unique
If for instance a fire occurs in a public building, the
VACON 100 X drives can improve safety by enabling
the fire mode incorporated in the drive. The drive
overrides the self-protection and motor protection diagnostics and continues to operate to ensure
that the smoke extraction fans function, which significantly improves safety in the event of a fire and
during evacuation. This is a unique function that
no other AC drive supplier offers, and it was one of
the main criteria for Per Aarsleff A/S to select the
VACON 100 X drives. “Safety is a very important
issue for us in all projects we deliver all over the
“It is a great benefit that in the event of a fire and during
evacuation, the fans can be activated either to remove the
smoke or to bring fresh air into the building.”
Ole Petersen, Project Manager
world, and we see the possibilities VACON AC drives
can provide in our projects. It is a great benefit that
in the event of a fire and during evacuation, the
fans can be activated either to remove the smoke
or to bring fresh air into the building,” explains Ole
Petersen, Project Manager at Per Aarsleff A/S. “We
are very pleased with the good service and quick delivery that Vacon has provided,” says Mr Petersen.
IP66 (Type 4X) ideal for tough environment
Another decisive factor was that the VACON 100 X
AC drive is available in an IP66 (Type 4X) enclosure,
which provides high-level protection in any demanding environment, where cold or heat, humidity, acids, diesel fumes and even vibration can cause
problems for electrical equipment. “The IP66 enclosure and the robust, die-cast metal frame make the
VACON 100 X ideal for a tough environment,” says
Antti Vuola, Product Marketing Director, Standard
Drives. “If, for instance, the VACON 100 X drives are
installed in an environment where low temperatures are possible, the VACON 100 X AC drives can
even be delivered with a heating element to prevent
possible failure caused by the low temperature in
the installation area,” he adds. The VACON 100 X
drives incorporate the option of being able to operate in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 60°C.
20 1/2014
Story by Joris Feekman, Rollo de Walden
Photos by BCS and Vacon
BCS Group keeps
down under
and around
the world
Airlines and their passengers waiting for
baggage are a demanding crowd. Equipment
has to be completely efficient and reliable to
ensure logistics processes function smoothly,
without interruption and on time. BCS can
rest assured that this will be the case, as they
have recently chosen VACON 20 X variable
speed AC drives (VSDs) to provide motor
control for their baggage handling systems.
*BCS Group is a synergistic group of technology companies that
are leaders in materials handling and plant automation. BCS customers are
primarily in the airports and logistics sectors for materials handling and in the
general manufacturing sector for automation solutions, tools and software.
BCS has been nominated in the TIN 100 report as one of NZ’s top 10 technology companies to watch, and is headquartered in Auckland NZ employing
350 staff globally, including operations in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia,
Singapore, Indonesia, Mexico, and North America. BCS also have supporting
partners in Canada, Caribbean, China, Africa, Middle East, Europe and other
SE Asian countries.
“We were highly impressed
by the levels of commitment
and delivery shown when
we requested a prototype,
in detail
The VACON® 20 X provides motor
control for BCS’s baggage handling
systems. The VACON 20 X is
provided with fast power and control
and the ease with which
they were able to customize
the product for our
requirements. Their bond
with their customers was
something that BCS shares
as a core value and, for
that reason, we can see the
partnership lasting for a long
CS Group* is a New Zealand-based company that specializes in providing innovative solutions to global air transport and
logistics customers. For a number of years,
BCS had been using gearboxes and variable speed
AC drives (VSD) from a major supplier to the logistics
industry. However, a number of problems arose when
the supplier’s drive, which had been locally modified,
was superseded by a new model. BCS evaluated the
new drive model from this supplier, but it was not
customizable and consequently could not meet the
needs of BCS.
On the lookout for a new supplier
Frank Kassai, Controls Engineering Manager, BCS,
explains: “We were ideally looking for a decentralized variable speed AC drive in the power range of
0.75 kW to 7.5 kW with all the properties required
for baggage handling systems. These include AS-i
bus communication, local control, mains isolator,
power and motor connectors, internal brake resistor and mechanical brake control.” Reliability and
serviceability are key issues in this industry as it is
very important that luggage makes it to the plane
in time.
During their search for an AC drive, BCS was contacted by Eecotech NZ Ltd, a New Zealand-based
partner of Vacon, and discovered that the VACON
20 X could offer what BCS needed. Vacon could also
develop a BCS-specific software application, so the
final offering surpassed all their expectations.
The ideal compact drive for
decentralized applications
The VACON 20 X has been developed and is manufactured by Vacon S.p.A., Vacon’s Italian subsidiary
with operations in Reggio Emilia and in the alpine
town of Merano. Andrea Perin, Country Manager for
Vacon S.p.A., was handed the task of customizing
the drive to meet BCS’ requirements, and created a
concept design that BCS was keen to progress with.
This was soon developed into a prototype, at which
point Vacon and BCS officially became partners.
“We were extremely pleased with the product
we eventually delivered to BCS, and it’s a venture
that suits both sides. We are also very grateful for
Frank Kassai, BCS
the contribution made by Bjarke Byllemos from
Eecotech to the sales and development process,”
says Joris Feekman, Area Manager of Victoria,
South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand for
Vacon. “BCS now has the AC drive they need for
their application and we learned a lot from BCS
about baggage and material handling systems.”
VACON® AC drives in logistics applications
Vacon has recently made huge inroads into the logistics industry, and baggage and material handling
accounts for much of this – in no small part down to
the team up with BCS. VACON AC drives can now be
found in major airports in Melbourne, Sydney and
Perth and as far afield as Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia. 750 VACON AC drives
have been supplied to BCS alone, and that number
should rise as existing projects develop and new
ones come along.
“Aside from the quality of the product they supplied, there were plenty of reasons why we chose
Vacon,” concludes Frank Kassai, BCS.
20 1/2014
Story by Peter Collins, Varicon (3D) Drives Ltd
Photos by Shutterstock/John Kasawa and Vacon
By fitting VACON® 100 FLOW variable speed AC drives (VSDs) to the three main
inlet pumps at Newbury sewage treatment works (STW) in Berkshire, UK,
in detail
Varicon (3D) Drives has made it possible for Thames Water to achieve large
energy savings complemented by significant reductions in downtime.
The energy savings alone will cover the cost of the VSDs
and their installation in less than two years.
hames Water continually assesses all areas of
its operations to find opportunities for saving
energy. As part of this exercise, the company
determined that replacing the fixed-speed soft
start used to control the main inlet pumps at Newbury STW with three separate VSDs would provide
important energy saving benefits.
*Since its formation in 1999,
Vacon Drives UK has been
based at Hinckley, Leicestershire, a location which provides
excellent logistical coverage to
the UK and Ireland.
Fixed-speed soft start replaced with
three separate
For assistance in carrying out this project, Ricky
O’Sullivan, Technical Coordinator, Thames Water
Swindon/Newbury Area Waste Operations, approached Varicon (3D) Drives, the company that provides support and repairs for all of Thames Water’s
VSD and soft start installations. Varicon (3D) Drives,
which is Vacon UK’s* authorized service partner, responded by proposing a competitive solution based
on three of the latest VACON 100 FLOW drives, each
rated at 55 kW.
Developed specifically for pump applications,
VACON 100 FLOW drives combine exceptionally high
operating efficiency with the latest thin film capacitor technology to ensure long life and lowest total
VACON 100 FLOW is available in two voltage versions
208 - 240 V and 380 - 500 V. Dedicated functionality
for pump, fan and compressor applications makes
system integration easy and efficient.
Power range of 0.55 kW/0.75 HP to 160 kW/250 HP
IP21/UL Type 1 or IP54/UL Type 12 certified enclosures
Multipump single drive, Multimaster and Multifollower pump
control solutions as standard, Internal real-time clock enables programming of timer functions
Graphical keypad with wizards and application menus
Electrolytic-free DC link capacitors for long lifetime and minimized lifecycle cost
Integrated Safe Torque Off (STO) option, Safe Stop and ATEX
thermistor protection
BACnet IP, Modbus TCP, Profinet IO (optional) and Ethernet
IP (optional) via on-board Ethernet, Modbus RTU, Metasys N2
and BACnet MSTP via RS485 available as standard
cost of ownership. The drives also incorporate a
range of pump-specific features as standard, including anti-ragging and auto-cleaning options,
which detect when pump torque is increasing due
to a blocked pump and runs a user-defined cleaning sequence. This reduces the risk of unplanned
downtime in wastewater applications. The VACON
100 FLOW also has provision for multi-pump control
and a real time clock that facilitates time-stamped
logging of operating parameters and fault information.
In the Newbury STW application, Thames Water
had found that using soft start control for the main
inlet pumps caused large surges to the inlet screen
system and, because of the small inlet size, during
storm events this would be diverted over the weir.
This resulted in a significant amount of rag moving through the plant, causing pump blockages
throughout the site.
The inlet pumps were, in fact, subject to rag
blockages on an almost daily basis, and the recent replacement of the pumps did not completely
resolve this situation. Varicon (3D) Drives was,
however, confident that the anti-ragging and autocleaning features provided as standard by the
VACON 100 FLOW drives would be the key to an effective solution.
Fitted adjacent to motor control centre
Varicon (3D) Drives undertook the supply and installation of the VACON drives. Because of the lack of
available space and difficult cable access with the
existing motor control centre (MCC), the new drives
were fitted adjacent to the MCC. This presented no
problems as the version of the drive chosen has an
IP54 ingress protection rating.
Significant benefits and short payback
The new VACON 100 FLOW drives have completely
eliminated ragging issues with the pumps at Newbury STW, and overall process control has been
significantly improved. There are no longer surges
when the pumps start as their acceleration is closely controlled and this has resulted in significant
downtime reductions across the whole site.
“The project was completed with a minimum of
disruption to our operations,” said Ricky O’Sullivan,
“and we were extremely impressed both with the
specification of the VACON drives and the quality
of the work provided by Varicon (3D) Drives. We’ll
certainly hit our anticipated payback period of two
years based on energy cost savings, but we’re actually getting much more in the way of benefits, and
these benefits are sure to increase further over the
traditionally challenging winter period.” As a result
of his experiences with this project, Ricky O’Sullivan
is now looking at other potential applications within
his area of Thames Water where he can work with
Varicon (3D) Drives and VACON drives to save money and improve process performance.
20 1/2014
he Port of Fremantle operates through two
harbors: the inner harbor in Fremantle, which
handles almost all of the container trade for
Western Australia, and the outer harbor located about 22 km to the south at Kwinana, which is one
of Australia’s major bulk cargo ports handling iron
ore, grain, petroleum, liquid petroleum gas, fertilisers, coal, sulphur, and other bulk commodities.
To raise capacity and improve efficiency for the
export of iron ore and coal at the Kwinana Bulk Terminal, a $44 million project was completed in 2012.
The new bulk loading facility enables the export of
up to 4.4 million tonnes of iron ore annually, as well
as other mineral products.
Most of the funding was contributed by Mineral
Resources Limited1, a diversified mining company,
and most of the installation work on the new system
Story and photos by Rodney Aumann
was undertaken by its construction arm Crushing
Services International2. Automation Alliance, Vacon
Pacific’s system integrator in Perth, also had an
important role in the commissioning of the control
system, integrating the new VACON variable speed
AC drives into the upgraded Scada system.
VACON AC drives throughout Kwinana
Bulk Terminal
As part of the upgrade, VACON AC drives are now
used exclusively throughout Kwinana Bulk Terminal. Most of the applications are feeders, conveyors
and crane long travel operations. Today, more than
drives control over 85 motors, operating on site with
a total motor power exceeding 4.1 MW, all at 415 V.
Motor sizes range from 4.5 kW up to 375 kW. Fur-
Kwinana bulk
terminal receives
a new life IN WESTERN
ther upgrades and improvements will see this number exceed 4.5 MW in the near future.
In addition, a few Vacon CX drives, Vacon’s first
generation drives, are still in use today on the loader and unloader in regenerative grab crane applications for unloading.
Gary Breen, Kwinana Bulk Terminal, Outer Harbour Electrical Projects and Reliability Officer, is
very pleased: “Since we started using VACON variable speed AC drives back in 2004, our productivity
and reliability has increased immensely. As the cost
of port operations increases, we need to ensure that
the operation of Kwinana Bulk Terminal remains
economical for Western Australia and for the long
term viability of Fremantle Ports and the employees.
Since using VACON drives, we have had no failures
with the VSDs, and the sales support and service
from Vacon in Western Australia and from the Melbourne head office has been exceptional.”
in detail
Scope of upgrading at Kwinana Bulk Terminal
• Reinstatement of rail to accept standard gauge rolling
stock, upgrading of the train unloading system
• New train receival conveyor system, transfer tower and
auto stacker, installation of a new stacker
• New export conveyor system, product hoppers and transfer
tower, new product sampler and weigh station
• Upgrading of jetty conveyors and transfer chutes
• Services such as electrical and water
Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) is a leading Australian based diversified mining service, contracting, processing and commodities production
company. The company has a portfolio of market leading brands including
PIHA, Crushing Services International, Process Minerals International, Polaris Metals and Mesa Minerals.
Crushing Services International Pty Ltd (CSI), a wholly-owned subsidiary
of Mineral Resources Limited, provides a range of contract crushing and
specialised mine services across all metalliferous mining sectors (gold,
copper, iron ore, manganese) - delivering tailored solutions to the rapidly
growing international mining and resource sector. The core activities of CSI
are the provision of crushing and screening services to the mining industry
with operations around Australia.
Trade through Kwinana Bulk Terminal increased by 0.8 million
tonnes or 30.2 % to 3.3 million tonnes in 2011-12, mainly due to
the commencement of iron ore exports from November 2011.
Trade throughput at this facility in 2012 -13 is forecast to be
around 4.8 million tonnes at a rate of approximately 2650 t/hr.
In 2012-13, the Port of Fremantle accounted for 78 % by value
of WA’s seaborne imports and 11 % by value of WA’s seaborne
exports. Total port trade was 32.0 million mass tonnes, with a
value of more than A$30.0 billion (€21 billion).
40 km south of the Western Australian capital city of Perth,
Fremantle Port is a vitally important part of the transport infrastructure,
supporting investment and economic growth and contributing to
the local and state economy. In recent years, the bulk terminal
in Kwinana has undergone an extensive upgrading project.
VACON® variable speed AC drives (VSDs) are now used
exclusively to control feeders, conveyors, cranes etc.
20 1/2014
Story based partly on article by Aldo Biraghi
Photos by,
Vacon, Courtesy of Bottero S.p.A. and Pneumofore
Compressed air and vacuum technology provide an effective
method for manufacturing glass bottles and containers.
Controlling the vacuum pumps with VACON NXP AC drives and
VACON Multimaster software improves efficiency, reliability
and end-product quality. This is the solution used at Hindustan
National Glass Industries (HNGI) in India. The vacuum pumps
were delivered by Italian-based Pneumofore*.
Optimized vacuum
pump operation at
glass bottle
ith a 65% share of the Indian
market, Hindustan National
Glass Industries (HNGI) is the
largest manufacturer of glass
bottles and containers in the country, and is also aiming to become a
global industry leader. HNGI’s new
plants in Nashik in Maharashtra
and in Naidupeta in Andhra Pradesh
both contain six production lines
with twelve sections, with each line
capable of producing thousands of
bottles a minute. HNGI decided to
utilize vacuum pump technology at
the new production lines and contacted Pneumofore in Rivoli (TO),
Italy, which provides solutions for
industrial vacuum and compressed
air applications around the world.
Varying production capacity
HNGI wanted the twelve production lines at the Nashik and Naidupeta plants to have:
• sufficient vacuum levels required for high speed
and precise molding of hollow glass containers and
• automatically adjustable production capacities.
The vacuum pump system had therefore to be
dimensioned for a maximum capacity but designed
to be flexible, able to work with high efficiency and
at a constant pressure of 150 mbar(a). The vacuum
pump system had to serve a total of 72 sections and
have a maximum total capacity of 252 m3/min.
Vacuum pumps are increasingly being installed
with AC drives. Pneumofore decided to install six UV50
VS90 vacuum pumps, each driven by a 90 kW motor
operating at variable speed. The VACON NXP AC drives
controlling the pump motors enable the rotational
speed to vary between 950 and 1750 rev/min and the
flow rate between 1890 and 3240 m3/h. The VACON
NXP AC drives permit optimized power consumption
according to changing needs, depending on the rate of
production, number of personnel working or seasonal
changes. Operating at lower revolutions reduces energy consumption. Reduced wear on the moving mechanical parts results in less need for maintenance
and extends the life of the vacuum pumps. The VACON
NXP drives also help keep the pressure constant,
which is essential for consistent quality and strength
in the glass bottles and containers.
VACON Multimaster – the expert in
balanced workload
At HNGI’s plants, the successful operation of the
Pneumofore vacuum pumps is largely based on
VACON Multimaster, special software to improve reliability and efficiency. At the Nashik and Naidupeta
plants, the VACON Multimaster keeps as many vacuum pumps as possible at their optimum operating
point and enables the pumps to alternate to balance
the working hours and load.
The VACON NXP drives in the vacuum pump system communicate with each other and are able to
judge how many pumps are needed at any particular time and the speed the pumps should operate
at, and notice if there is a fault in one of the motors, pumps or AC drives. If the demand exceeds the
maximum capacity of the leading pump and more
capacity is needed, auxiliary pumps are connected
in detail
In the molding process, the glass adheres to the walls of the
mold as the result of a combination of two actions: the force of the
compressed air blown into the mold and the force of the vacuum
created between the walls of the mold and the glass. The combination
of these two forces improves productivity and has a major impact on
the quality of the container: a high-quality container must be solid,
have uniform thickness and weigh as little as possible.
Above left: A typical production line for glass bottles. Above right: Six
Pneumofore UV50 VS90 vacuum pumps each with a motor power of
90 kW. Compact VACON® NXP AC drives are installed outside the
enclosures. Provided in IP54 protection class, the high-performance,
high-efficiency VACON NXP drive withstands humidity (even 100%) and
high-temperatures (up to 50° C without derating) very well.
as required. The leading pump and the auxiliary
pumps run in parallel, which saves energy and reduces wear on the pumps.
Mauro Ferrero, Commercial Director, Pneumofore, is pleased: “The vacuum pump systems at
HNGI’s plants react within a few seconds to changes
in production. In this kind of application it normally
takes much longer for changes to be activated, so in
this respect this vacuum pump system is definitely a
very high performance system,” he says.
The right partner with the right product
For this project, Pneumofore found the right partner
in Vacon S.p.A., Vacon Plc’s subsidiary based in Italy**, whose skilled personnel were able to develop
a solution to a specific problem: “Pneumofore found
that the VACON NXP AC drive with the VACON Multimaster software provided the best possible solution
to the needs of this application. In Vacon we found a
partner with whom we can openly discuss matters,
solve problems and make changes to the software
to make it more efficient in a specific application.
This approach would have been difficult with other
AC drive suppliers,” Mr Ferrero concludes.
*Founded in 1923, Pneumofore designs, produces, and supports cutting-edge air technology for industrial applications worldwide. From centralized
vacuum pumps systems to explosion-proof air compressors, Pneumofore delivers robust solutions for today’s most demanding requirements.
**Founded in 1998, Vacon S.p.A. in Italy operates in two locations: in Reggio Emilia and in Postal, near Merano. The operations in Reggio Emilia cover
sales (including all Vacon Group products), service, and application software development. The operations in Merano cover R&D, sourcing and production.
20 1/2014
Sweden-based Centraction has achieved significant savings in electrical installation:
the VACON 100 FLOW AC drive completely eliminates the need for an electrical cabinet for
controlling their F Series central vacuum cleaning units. Minor software changes were made
with Vacon’s Drive Customizer programming tool to include the functions of the
Story by Martin Landegren, Antti Vuola
Photos by, Centraction and Vacon
in detail
The VACON® 100 FLOW is mounted on Centraction’s
F Series
detailcentral vacuum cleaning units. The drives
were supplied by Vacon AB, Vacon Plc’s subsidiary
based in Solna, Sweden.
electrical cabinet in the drive.
functions of
electrical cabinet
entral vacuum cleaning is an efficient
method for removing dirt, debris and microscopic dust particles. Based in Smedjebacken in central Sweden, Centraction is
a company with long, in-depth experience in central
vacuum cleaning technology. Their central vacuum
cleaners and mobile vacuum cleaners for industrial
and commercial applications are used in more than
25 countries in a wide range of environments such
as plastic industries, hotels, clean rooms, hospitals,
construction sites as well as in the automotive, food
and aircraft industries.
Previously, Centraction needed all the following
to control their F Series unit:
• One AC drive (Lenze)
• One 500mm x 500mm electrical cabinet
»» one PLC with 8 digital inputs and 8 digital outputs
»» one 230 V- 24 V transformer
»» four safety fuses
»» one relay
»» cable rails and 30 terminals
One VACON 100 FLOW drive now handles all the
control tasks of the F Series central vacuum cleaning unit, giving considerable savings in space requirements and component costs. “It just required
some fine-tuning to Vacon’s Standard Application to
make it fully meet the functionality of the electrical
cabinet we used to use. We were able to make the
necessary changes ourselves using the Drive Customizer programming tool,” says Jan-Henrik Svenson, CEO, Centraction.
Centraction made the following changes
to the Standard Application
Adding delay in the signal functions:
When the vacuum cleaner starts, a hatch controlled
by the VACON 100 FLOW drive is closed. When the
dust bag is full the hatch cannot open, which is indicated by a sensor. This stops the vacuum cleaner.
To allow sufficient time for the hatch to close, a time
delay was added to the start signal. This was done
with the Drive Customizer.
Activating an automatic cleaning process:
Automatic cleaning is activated when the vacuum
cleaner motor is stopped. A valve opens for two seconds to blow the filter clean using compressed air.
After this, the valve is closed for eight seconds. This
is repeated three times.
Automatic activation of maintenance run:
Centraction’s previous solution incorporated a function that started the vacuum cleaner and activated
two magnet valves at a given time for a maintenance
run, which was also controlled by the PLC. In the
current solution this function is managed by the real
time clock and the timers in the VACON 100 FLOW
The main points in a nutshell
• Replacing a PLC-based solution successfully
with a VACON 100 FLOW AC drive
• Key features that are provided as standard in the
VACON 100 FLOW made this possible:
o Drive Customizer
o real time clock and timers
Drive Customizer
• Graphical programming tool incorporated in the
VACON 100 FLOW, allows users to make application changes themselves
• Built-in functionality enables the drive to adapt
the functions requiring I/O and control logic
• Wide array of logical and numerical functions
which ensure specific user requirements are met
• No need for special tools or training
• Fully graphically configurable using VACON® Live
Check out the video on the Drive Customizer on
YouTube. Search for Vacon Group > Drive
“It just required some finetuning to Vacon’s Standard
Application to make it fully
meet the functionality of
the electrical cabinet we
used to use. “
Jan-Henrik Svenson,
CEO, Centraction
20 1/2014
vacon china people in focus
Photos by David Wang and Vacon
Stadium View from River © NBBJ
Plenty of reasons to
celebrate in China
acon had had a representative office in Beijing since 2000, but the real foundations of
Vacon China Drives* were laid in 2003, when
operations were established in Suzhou, a city
of 10 million people near Shanghai. In February
2005, Jari Koskinen, Vacon Group’s Vice President,
Production, took the position of Managing Director in Suzhou with the target of strengthening local
presence by building Vacon’s own factory and setting up a subcontractor network and an extensive
sales and service network in China.
Minifactory concept enabled profitable
operations in one year
The goal was to make Vacon’s China operations
profitable in one year. Jari Koskinen recalls: “In the
Suzhou Industrial Park where Vacon was located,
400-500 foreign companies were set up every year.
80% of them were still unprofitable after five years
of operation. This was the reason why my team and
I created what we called the minifactory concept,
which is a method unique to Vacon. In a nutshell,
the minifactory concept means that we can offer
all power ranges to local customers with a delivery
time of one day. At that time, the modules were assembled in Vaasa, Finland, and the modification for
individual customers was carried out to order at the
minifactory in Suzhou. In this way Vacon came to the
Chinese market offering products from a local factory in a power range from low to very high. In the
In January 2014, Vacon China Drives had two anniversaries to
‹*Vacon Suzhou Drives Co. Ltd was founded in
Suzhou in 2003, and in 2013 the company was officially
renamed Vacon China Drives Co., Ltd.
beginning, the minifactory operations brought well
over 50% of revenues and made it possible for operations to become profitable within one year from
the start of production.” Koskinen returned to the
Vaasa factory in August 2007.
Large-scale operations and committed
The Suzhou factory has been re-located a couple of
times as the operations have expanded, and in May
2011 a new factory was inaugurated in the Suzhou
Industrial Park. The new premises occupy 24,000
m² and include both an R&D laboratory and an after-sales service center. “The new factory strengthened Vacon’s production capacity in China and enabled Vacon to give full attention to the wide range
of industries that it serves, which includes mining
and metals, cranes and hoists, marine and offshore,
water and waste water, pulp and paper, and building
automation,” says Matti Vekkeli, Managing Director
of Vacon China Drives since August 2013.
In addition to the factory in Suzhou, Vacon China Drives has local branch companies in Beijing,
Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Qingdao
and Xi’an. It also offers a network of 24/7 technical
support based in Suzhou, which serves customers
throughout China and the Asia Pacific region. “We are
able to offer high quality products, our expertise and
a flexible way of doing business to serve the Chinese
industry and Asian economy,” Vekkeli concludes.
Vacon China Drives employs over 350 people,
who are highly skilled and committed to their work
and employer. “We have a wonderful team spirit and
our personnel are also eager to arrange personnel events and activities outside office hours. For
instance, about 100 people participated in an international sports event in Suzhou last April,” says Lin
Rong, HR Director, Vacon China Drives.
celebrate: 10 years since operations started in Suzhou and
20 years since Vacon was founded in Finland. The Suzhou factory was
established to provide local manufacturing, with ambitious goals in
mind. The personnel and the customers have brought success.
Vacon China Drives Management Team.
Jari Koskinen testing the functionality of the
minifactory concept at Vacon’s factory in Suzhou on 19
March 2005. Actual production started in the beginning of
April 2005. Operations were profitable after just one year
in the world’s most competitive market. Koskinen, who is
one of the founders of the Vacon, considers this as one of
the highlights during the past 20 years, for him personally
and for Vacon. The minifactory concept was also one of
the themes he discussed in his doctoral dissertation “A Dynamic Business Model for High-Tech Industry in a
Global Environment” – which was examined and approved
at the University of Vaasa, Finland, on 17 February 2014.
In Vacon Plc’s Annual General Meeting on 27 March 2014,
Jari Koskinen was elected as a new member of the Board
of Directors. Congratulations!
in detail
Annual party with Vacon 20/20 theme
On 10 January it was time to celebrate 10 years in China and the 20th
anniversary of Vacon. The day started with a team building exercise and
continued with the annual personnel event, this time with the theme of Vacon
20/20: celebrating the past, creating the future. The guest of honor was Mr
Arto Haapea, Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of Finland
in Shanghai, accompanied by Vesa Laisi, CEO, and Tuula Hautamäki,
Senior Vice President, HR, from Finland. They all expressed their warm
congratulations to the Vacon China Drives team for their achievements and
wished everyone a happy Chinese New Year. The highlight of the evening
were 11 wonderful performances on stage presented by teams consisting
of Vacon China and Vacon Korea personnel. “The event was a huge success,
everyone enjoyed themselves!” says Lin Rong. The Vacon 20/20 event in
Suzhou was a good start for creating the future in China.
a magazine for VACON stakeholders
Driven by Drives.
Vacon is driven by a passion to develop, manufacture and sell the best AC drives and inverters
in the world – and provide customers with efficient product lifecycle services. Our AC drives offer
optimum process control and energy efficiency for electric motors. Vacon inverters play
a key role when energy is produced from renewable sources. Vacon has production and
R&D facilities in Europe, Asia and North America, and sales offices in 30 countries. Further,
Vacon has sales representatives and service partners in nearly 90 countries.
In 2013, Vacon’s revenues amounted to EUR 403.0 million, and the company employed
globally approximately 1,600 people. The shares of Vacon Plc (VAC1V) are quoted
on the main list of the Helsinki stock exchange (NASDAQ OMX Helsinki).
20 1/2014
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