Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is closely regulated as the effects of radio frequency interference (RFI) can be severe and can lead to the malfunction of sensitive electronic equipment. EMC regulations exist to make sure domestic, commercial, medical and industrial electronic devices are protected from RFI and operate as intended.
Pre-Brexit, EMC regulations in the UK were based on various European Union (EU) directives and standards. Many of these standards have been adopted post-Brexit, and EMC regulations still apply to most electronic devices and equipment.
So what does this mean for your motor drive system, and how can you make sure it complies with the latest EMC regulations? We highlight what you need to know in this article.
BS EN IEC 61800-3:2018 is the current EMC standard that applies to power drive systems (PDS). Variable frequency drives (VFDs)/variable speed drives (VSDs) or inverters are the basic drive module (BDM) which becomes a power drive system (PDS) when connected to a motor via a power cable. This is a performance standard, and means the devices covered by EN 61800-3 must meet the performance requirements in the regulations to be sold in the UK.
The regulations cover all installations in domestic, commercial, scientific, medical and industrial environments. However, it does not include motor drives in electric vehicles – these have a separate standard.
It has been proven that high frequency conducted emissions from a PDS can cause premature bearing failure in motors. Significantly, it’s also worth remembering that RFI derived from a poorly designed, assembled and installed PDS can lead to catastrophic problems with plant control system performance including digital measurement and display errors, and ultimately machine safety being compromised.
Electronic device and equipment manufacturers, importers and distributors must make sure their products meet the performance standards of EMC regulations when designing and manufacturing their products.
The first step is to specify motor drive system components that meet the performance standards. To do this, check the manufacturer’s data sheets for the relevant standards, such as EN 61800-3, and the levels of RFI filtering included.
You should also do the following when designing and installing your motor drive system:
Conformance to EMC at the PDS design stage then onwards throughout the life of the project through to the final commissioning stage, should be the normal target.
Dalroad can assist you by selecting EMC-compliant VFD’s for your PDS project and then guide you with installation advice and any support with necessary good engineering practice required when you build control panels and when they are being installed on site.
Contact our team for no-obligation advice and recommendations.