German engineering company Voith has unveiled what it calls “the first member of a new product family” in the field of speed control for compressors and pumps.

The VECO-Drive is an electric superimposing gear and combines a mechanical planetary gear with frequency-controlled servo motors.

Voith says the electrical superimposing gear is “the most efficient way to make speed variable. Servo motors are used to drive a planetary gear and since they only need a small part of rated power, an overall component efficiency of more than 97 per cent is reached. This saves valuable energy and reduces operating expenditures every day.”
Voith launches new VECO-Drive Variable Speed Drive for Compressors and Pumps
The VECO-Drive is installed between a constant speed motor and a variable speed compressor or pump. With the new VECO-Drive, Voith says it is combining “the reliability of mechanical gears with the outstanding productivity of low voltage VFDs”.

Since additional power is supplied to the drive train, a smaller main motor can be used. This saves capital expenditures and also the servo motor can be used as a starter to protect the electric grid from high in-rush currents.

For the functional demonstration of the VECO-Drive, a prototype system was built and tested in Voith’s base in Crailsheim, Germany, last year. Voith engineers designed the system for compressor and pump applications with a maximum output speed of 15,000 rpm, maximum output power of 15 MW and a speed adjustment range from 50 to 100 per cent.

In a statement, Voith said: “Compared to a typical full-scale medium voltage VFD train with a step-up gearbox, the measured system efficiency of a VECO-Drive is about two per cent higher over the whole speed range. Thus, the VECO-Drive system reduces annual energy consumption by more than 2,000 MWh compared to a comparable VFD system. With a typical energy cost of €50/MWh, these energy savings result in cost reductions of more than €100,000 per year.”

Voith Turbo will be showcasing the VECO-Drive along with a host of other technologies at POWER-GEN Europe in Cologne, which runs from June 27-29. Voith Turbo will be a Booth F17.