4 potential causes of inverter failure

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One of the most underutilized electrical components used in industrial automation is the lowly inverter. A piece of equipment rarely becomes so straightforward and dependable that process engineers forget it even exists.

The product category used to regulate an electric motor’s speed and hence lower energy usage in a variable speed application has more names than Prince, including inverters, drives, VSDs, variable speed drives, and variable frequency drives. However, if you count his choice to become known by a symbol rather than a word in 1993, he really only has three.

Power inverters might have only electronic circuitry or can have a combination of electronic and mechanical circuitry. Inverters have a very wide range of uses because they transform direct current (DC) electricity from batteries, solar panels, or fuel cells into alternating current (AC). Every business, including the food and beverage sector, uses electric motors for a variety of devices, including pumps, refrigerated vans, conveyor belts, fans, and ventilators.

1.Degradation of the capacitor

The primary factor leading to inverter failure is electro-mechanical wear on capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors have a limited shelf life and deteriorate more quickly than dry components, hence inverters use capacitors to maintain a steady power output at variable current levels. Failure of the inverter could result from this. Additionally, capacitors are quite sensitive to temperature changes. The component’s lifespan may be shortened by temperatures that are higher than the recommended working temperature, which are usually brought on by excessive current. However, when operated at temperatures below the working temperature, capacitor life increases because electrolytes evaporate more quickly at higher temperatures. Fortunately, most wear and tear issues may be avoided by maintaining a consistent maintenance schedule and changing capacitors frequently.

2.Overuse

We said that sometimes process managers fail to notice inverters. You might be surprised to learn how regularly this occurs. Utilizing inverters past their recommended working range, whether out of choice, oversight, or ignorance, can result in inverter bridge failure. Making sure that all inverters are functioning properly is the easiest way to prevent this problem because using any component at a higher rating than its operational limit will shorten its lifespan and cause failure.Consult with the industrial automation companies before concluding with what happened to your inverter.

3.Under- and overvoltages

The latter two problems that can lead to inverter failure are over-current and over-voltage. The inverter’s components, most frequently the inverter bridge, may be harmed if the current or voltage exceed its rated limits. The excessive heat produced by the voltage or current surge is typically to blame for this damage. Fuse or circuit breakers can prevent overcurrent, but overvoltage might be challenging to prevent. Voltage spikes can be brought on by humans occasionally, but they can also be brought on by solar flares or lightning, which are tough to prevent if you live on Earth like we do.

4.Ultrasonic frequency vibrations

The final problem on the list adds to the mechanical strain an inverter experiences. Friction caused by ultrasonic vibrations created in the inductive components’ cores increases the device’s undesired heat generation and further deteriorates inverter component health. Like with any electrical device, maintenance is essential and shouldn’t be disregarded. Over time, electrical connections frequently become looser or corrode. A maintenance manager could be tempted to ignore these indicators of wear and tear if the inverter is still working. The battery box terminals, fuses, and inverter connection must be cleaned at least once every six months since, as the adage goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

All battery terminals must be cleaned and maintained before a protective sealant is applied. When choosing a protective coating, stay away from grease-based options because they have a tendency to draw in pollutants like dust, which accelerates connection breakdown while masking it from subsequent visual checks. Inverter lifespan can be considerably extended with appropriate installation and maintenance, but when failure does occur, there are a few choices. A refurbished item might be worth taking into account, especially for older or obsolete models.Check out for inverter repair services.

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