It’s a harsh world… part 1

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cold. Hot. Caustic. Metallic. Indoor. Outdoor. Dust. Particulates. Fluff… When it comes to environments, there’s simply no telling where an AC drive will be installed.

So many applications bring with them so many individual challenges that it’s possible for the installation environment to be overlooked completely. However, not considering the environment from the beginning can result in a combination of increased maintenance costs, higher service costs, a decrease in operational reliability or, worst of all, more downtime.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll take a fairly detailed look into what kind of impact each of these environments can potentially have on your AC drive. We’ll identify which applications are more commonly affected, how the conditions affect the AC drives (and other electronic components), what are the appropriate precautions that can be taken to protect your investments, and which products Danfoss Drives can provide to make the job even easier.

So, which environments can you expect to read about over the entire “It’s a harsh world…” series? You’ll see below a breakdown of the topics. As we add posts to the series, we’ll update this post with links to the others to make navigation as easy as possible. Just scroll down to the particular topic that interests you and click on the title to jump right in.

Drives vs. Enclosure classification

In this post, we’ll provide a breakdown of the IP ratings and UL-Type classifications and discuss the similarities and differences between IP and UL-Type ratings. We’ll also talk about what’s not necessarily disclosed with these enclosure classification ratings and provide you with some questions to ask when looking for your next AC drive.

Drives vs. Low temperatures

In this post, we’ll discuss the impacts of cold weather on your system. Beyond just simple cold, we’ll look at how this relates to snow, ice and unwanted condensation. We’ll also discuss ways to keep your equipment operating in the most reliable way possible.

Drives vs. High temperatures

In this post, we’ll flip the coin to the other side to see what to expect when the numbers on the thermometer start to rise. We’ll look at the unique impacts a high ambient temperature has on AC-drive sizing and selection, and the extra precautions to take when cooling off your AC drives.

Drives vs. High altitudes

In this post, we’ll discuss the unique challenges presented when the altitudes climb the scales. We’ll discuss the way altitude impacts cooling as well as the lesser-known impact high altitudes have on the physics of electronics.

Drives vs. High vibration

In this post, we’ll discuss the situations where vibration can impact your AC drive. We’ll dig into the different challenges between shock and vibration and how to prepare your installation environment to be able to account for either of those situations.

Drives vs. Dust, fluff and filings

In this post, we’ll discuss how sometimes the smallest particles can pose the biggest threats. We’ll look at the different impacts and risks that arise from metallic and non-metallic dusts, fluff buildup in textiles, and metallic and non-metallic filings. Most importantly, we’ll provide some tips to help minimize the impacts of these environmental hazards.

Drives vs. Condensation, humidity and corrosion

In this post, we’ll discuss the impacts that moisture has on the electronics in the environment. We’ll dig into how caustic, corrosive chemicals take advantage of moisture to provide your AC drives with a real challenge, and we’ll give you the tools to combat the negative effects of moisture in your environment.

Drives vs. The food and beverage industry

In this post, we’ll discuss the unique challenges that are present in the food and beverage industry. Along with many of the topics covered in previous posts, we’ll look at the unique challenges presented by high-pressure wash-down and hygienic requirements, and discuss how Danfoss Drives is positioned to help you painlessly protect your equipment in these applications.

Drives vs. Nature

In this post, we’ll discuss how the ever-changing weather of the outdoors affects the operation of your AC drives. We’ll look back at some of the information from previous topics, but we’ll also dig deeper into the special challenges that arise from the sun, especially ultraviolet (UV) rays and how they impact your AC drives when installed in direct sunlight.

Drives vs. Explosive areas

In this post, we’ll discuss the different situations where an environment can be considered explosive. We’ll take a look at the differences in areas where vapors, dusts and fibers and flyings are present in varying concentrations, and how to best protect the environment, in this case, from the AC drives and the motors they control.

Drives vs. Noisy environments

In the final post of this series, we’ll look at the environmental factors that are sometimes difficult to predict – EMC and RFI. We’ll look at the impacts that Electromagnetic Interference (EMC/EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) have on electronic devices such as AC drives, and how best to mitigate or eliminate these negative factors in your application.

As you can see, there are quite a few factors that can impact your AC drive from sizing and selection to operation and maintenance. The first post in the “It’s a harsh world…” series will be coming in two weeks’ time, and we’ll be publishing one or two posts per week throughout the series, so make sure to bookmark this page.

Check back regularly with us here at for regular updates on the best ways to ensure that your investments in AC drives are always the safest investments around. Additionally, let us know in the comments what environmental impacts give you the biggest challenges and how we can help you overcome them. Regardless of whose name is on the label, we’re here to help! In the meantime, you can find out more about all our products here.

Jake Roeder, Global Product Marketing Manager, Danfoss Drives
Abraham González Ponce, Application Knowledge Manager, Application & Service Products, Danfoss Drives.

Photo source: St Joseph lighthouse, Michigan, photographer Tom Gill (check out his blog for more frozen lighthouses).