The Internet of Things: Empowered by Industrial Drives

640_car-plantDanfoss Drives: With their greater intelligence, AC drives are delivering real benefits for boosting machine performance and availability, and are in an ideal position to empower the Internet of Things.

Industrial drives have developed to the point where they are seen as commodity items, but continued technology advances are bringing in new functions and capabilities for improving productivity in a digital age.

Traditionally, the primary uses of industrial drives have been in controlling the speed of equipment such as pumps, fans, and conveyors, but although they continue to be used in these applications, today’s end-users have a different approach from that of a decade ago.The drives industry is now mature and drives are widely accepted as a product. This shift in attitude brings with it the assumption that drives are simple to buy, install, start up, commission, own and run.

At the same time, drives are finding new applications, such as in exercise machines, pizza ovens, honey centrifuges and car washes. They are seen as commodity items and users are demanding simplicity.

The impression is that advances in drive technology are no longer happening at the rate that they did in the early years. But in fact, according to Robert Brooks, industry marketing manager for food and beverage at Omron Europe, the last 20 years have seen dramatic changes in the world of drives. The functionality and capabilities of the modern product were almost unimaginable back then, and the increased performance has transformed machine design. “The modern drive is a much more intelligent part of the machine or process than it was two decades ago,” says Brooks. “With this greater intelligence, it can deliver real benefits for boosting machine performance and availability, and is a key enabler for continuous improvement on the line.”

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