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Variable Frequency Drive Cable (VFD Cable)

Variable frequency drive cables, also known as VFD cables or VFD tray cables, are part of Allied Wire and Cable's large stock of tray cables. These cables are used to connect variable frequency drive system to a motor. A lot of times, they are found in industrial or factory environments and  can be used in bottling equipment, grinding machines, data processing equipment, and automated servo systems.


Brand New Reduced Diameter VFD Cable

 

VFD cable is designed to withstand the unique challenges of variable frequency drive applications. You may also see variable frequency drives called alternating or variable speed drives. VFDs control the amount of electricity delivered to a motor at any given time. Because they can change the amount of current, they minimize energy waste and allow for a higher level of process control.

The disadvantage of these systems comes with the need to convert energy from AC to DC current, and then back to AC. These energy conversions result in a range of hazards the cable must be able to withstand. Now that technology is so advanced, the other components used in VFD systems can handle the conversions and their consequences fairly easily, making VFD cables the most susceptible to damage. Choosing an inappropriate VFD cable can lead to interference with nearby equipment or system failure.

So what are the challenges faced by VFD cables? Well, the energy conversions produce extra voltage and stray current, high frequency noise, and corona discharge which causes temperature fluctuations.

Luckily, variable frequency drive cables are constructed with these issues in mind. Shielded VFD cable combats the problems of high frequency noise and interference. Common shielding materials include copper tape, combination shielding, and continuously corrugated and welded shielding. Allied offers VFD cables with copper screens, armored VFD, and more.

Insulation should be chosen based on its electrical and physical properties. Because variable frequency drive cables are often used in hazardous factory settings, they will probably need to resist impact, crushing, oil, etc. They may also need to be flexible. The cable's insulation must exhibit high temperature stability in order to deal with potential temperature fluctuations. Overall, thermoset insulations such as XLPE are best for VFD applications.

You can also optimize conductors to best suit your system and its environment. Generally, stranded conductors with larger circular mil areas minimize voltage drop more than others. A good grounding system is also important.

Matching the impedance of your VFD cable to the impedance of the motor is another important consideration. A close match maximizes efficiency and helps avoid the voltage reflections and insulation breakdown that can result from significant impedance mismatches.

Consider buying VFD cables with higher temperature and voltage ratings than your VFD system normally requires. This leaves room for voltage and temperature fluctuations, and limits the risk of cable damage should they occur.

Taking all of these factors into account will help you find a VFD cable that can withstand all of the challenges of your variable frequency drive system, for long-lasting, high-quality performance.

Of course, Allied's knowledgeable salespeople are here to help if you have any questions or could use assistance in determining which variable frequency drive cable is right for you. Call 800-472-4655 or email info@awcwire.com.