Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum GmbH

Inverter drives for greater efficiency

Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum GmbH uses drive technology from Yaskawa

In the vacuum pumps of Cologne-based Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum GmbH, V1000 inverter drives ensure energy efficiency, reliable communication, and convenient operation and monitoring.
From its headquarters in Cologne, Germany, Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum GmbH offers vacuum solutions for a wide range of modern production and analysis procedures as well as for research purposes. The company’s diverse product portfolio comprises fore and high vacuum pumps, complete vacuum systems including compatible accessories as well as consulting and other services for all aspects of vacuum technology. In all of these areas, the benefits to the user always take precedence. The Dryvac series of vacuum pumps is an excellent example of this. Designed specifically for the strenuous process requirements of the photovoltaics industry as well as for use with various coating technologies, these dry compressing screw pumps are suited for even the most demanding applications.
When designing this new generation of pumps, the developers placed special emphasis on meeting the varied demands of today’s users. After all, using optimised vacuum technology in processes not only increases productivity, but also improves efficiency and minimises resource consumption. At the same time, the technology must fulfil the legal specifications for energy efficiency while also addressing the inexorable shift towards the use of bus systems in controllers and regulators as well as for monitoring the status of individual functional groups, such as those of a vacuum pump system.

Successful mastery of technical challenges

The conception and realisation of a new generation of pumps within a short development period poses a technical challenge even for specialists with extensive experience and expertise in the development and production of vacuum pumps. This is particularly true when product innovations are to be realised that are not a part of a company’s core competency. In this case, the company usually looks for reliable partners with the required expertise. This is exactly what happened with the new dry compressing vacuum screw pumps:
all pumps in the DRYVAC range are equipped with modern Yaskawa inverter drives, which have proven to be highly durable and reliable during extensive testing in the development phase of the new pump generation. Yaskawa also impressed with its excellent and reliable support throughout the entire development process. Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum appreciated the fact that all product-specific requirements of the inverter drives were fully taken into account and implemented. Last but not least, the excellent price/performance ratio also served as an important selection criterion.
The inverter drives integrated into the pumps provide the user with a number of benefits. Firstly, purchasing, installing and connecting a separate inverter is no longer necessary. At the same time, the optimal tuning of the motor and the inverter ensures energy-efficient operation, which fulfils legal requirements and reduces operating costs. In addition, the integration of the inverter provides the designer of the system with increased flexibility and independence, as the pumps can be used worldwide with different power supply voltages and frequencies.

Additional integrated functions

With additional hardware and software functions, Yaskawa has finetuned the V1000 inverter drives integrated into the vacuum pumps for the individual application. The inverters can thus perform functions that extend far beyond simple drive control: For example, the inverter’s internal terminal board allows for extremely precise evaluation of the pump’s current operating data. The output range of the pumps can thus be much better exploited, meaning that they work more efficiently without the need for additional electronics. And the terminal board offers even more possibilities. Replacing an inverter thus becomes mere child’s play.
While it is unlikely that the units will cause problems since they are designed to operate continuously for ten years (at 80% rated output), a replacement unit can be quickly installed in the unlikely case that this becomes necessary. The terminal board, on which all parameters and additional functions are saved, can simply be inserted into the new inverter. It is not even necessary to remove the control lines, which in turn leads to minimal downtimes of the vacuum pump.
The inverter software has also been perfectly adapted to the area of application, with countless pump-specific features and protective functions included. For example, if a valve closes, the inverter drive reacts to the resulting change in load quickly and fully automatically. This means that even very short cycle times with regular changes in load are possible. However, the V1000 inverter drives already come with a wide array of interesting standard functions, which not only impressed the vacuum specialists but also many users from other areas. Their compact dimensions make the inverter drives some of the smallest in the world, which means that they require very little installation space. A number of different enclosure variants are also available. In addition to the standard IP20 enclosure, there are finless models for external cooling units as well as variants which fulfil the requirements of the IP66 protection rating.

Big power from a small drive

The dimensions may be small, but the power is impressive: In heavy-duty mode, overloads of up to 150% are possible. For applications that only require low overloads, the drive can be operated in normal-duty mode with up to 120% overload. This allows a smaller drive to perform work that would normally require a larger unit. For controlled operation, the user can select between open-loop vector or V/f control. With regards to communication capabilities, the inverters once again leave nothing to be desired since all conventional bus systems can be used to connect the inverters to a higher-level control network. The drive technology can therefore be incorporated into the user’s automation environment seamlessly. This opens up interesting possibilities for mechanical engineering.