Yaskawa Drives

Yaskawa U1000 VFD Helps OEM Offer a Clean Energy Solution

Posted April 30, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Yaskawa, Yaskawa Drives


A leader in cutting edge sawmill equipment since 1954, Cleereman Industries in Newald, Wis. They started out owning and operating a sawmill business and now are a manufacturer of a wide range of sawmill equipment that includes Carriages, Track Frames, and Trim & Grading Lines.

U1000 Drive

Cleereman recently decided to redesign a rotary log kicker in order to increase its size range, as well as transition its hydraulic system to a fully clean electric system. The challenge was the overall size of the log kicker. The resulting machine inertia makes the 15 cycle per minute rate difficult to achieve. The machine’s inertia and cycle per hour requirement would have required a large braking package to dissipate the energy.


Cleereman turned to L&S Electric for a solution to their challenge.

Initial thoughts of a standard VFD and brake resistor were considered, but L&S representatives recommended a more energy efficient solution. Due to its power regeneration capabilities, a Yaskawa U1000 Industrial Matrix Drive was selected to control the 30HP electric drive system.

This solution allowed Cleereman to get away from the maintenance time and costs that are associated with hydraulic systems, and provided them a cleaner, more energy efficient solution in a smaller package.


Cleereman now can smoothly control the very high inertia log kicker. Whether motoring or regenerating, the U1000 Industrial Matrix Drive provides Cleereman with a clean power solution by maintaining ultra low input current harmonics.

In addition, the U1000’s inherent regenerative capabilities eliminated the braking resistors that dissipated heat from the deceleration of the load.

Cleereman now provides a solution that reduces their customers’ utility costs. The energy wasted using resistors is now diverted back onto the grid. Removal of the resistor package also increases machine lifetime and reduces machine maintenance requirements by eliminating another point of potential failure. Lastly, using the U1000 Industrial Matrix Drive eliminates fire safety concerns that come with using resistors in lumber mills to burn off regenerative energy.


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VFD Training Class, Baton Rouge, Feb. 15

Posted January 17, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Training Class, Yaskawa Drives

Don't miss this once-a-year opportunity to learn about programming Yaskawa A1000 VFDs. Lunch is included in the price of the class. Class is limited to 18. See typical syllabus below.

Yaskawa Road Show training comes to Baton Rouge, Feb. 15.

Typical Class Syllabus:

.25 Hours Yaskawa Intro.

1:30 Induction motor basics

0:20 Basic menu structure (Detailed look at Modified Constants)

0:45 U1 monitors (includes model number, drive selection, and connection diagram)

0:15 Initialization (Factory and User Defined)

0:20 Auto Tune

0:30 Lunch

0:30 divided between 2 breaks

1:45 Parameters from B to O

0:15 Read/write parameters to keypad

0:20 Fault codes-U-monitors

0:45 Internal schematic of drive


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Sugar Mill Show

Posted February 7, 2018 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Yaskawa, Yaskawa Drives

Big week for Mike Adams in Baton Rouge. Monday, he filled up an 18-seat class of customers for Yaskawa A1000 drive training. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, he spearheaded the efforts at the Sugar Mill Show in Baton Rouge. Adams is shown here with Ron Dufresne, Yaskawa rep for Louisiana and southern Mississippi (left); Richard Lewis, Engineering Manager Houston IIDM (middle).

Ron Dufresne ,Richard Lewis, Mike Adams

Ron Dufresne ,Richard Lewis, Mike Adams

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AC Drives in Extrusion Machine Systems

Posted April 19, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Yaskawa Drives

Tags: , , ,

A lot has been written and said about AC drives in extrusion machine systems. And about DC drives in extrusion applications. Let's get to the basics.

  1. Even though the DC drive is more efficient than the AC drive, the AC motor is more efficient than the DC motor by a much greater amount. So overall, the AC system is more efficient than the DC system.
The extrusion industry for years favored DC drives to control the big DC motors. But is that still the best practice in 2016?

The extrusion industry for years favored DC drives to control the big DC motors. But is that still the best practice in 2016?

2. The AC system has a Power Factor of about 98% whereas the DC system varies proportional to speed from about 1% to 82%. Thus, the overall power distribution system is more efficient with AC than with DC.

Now, for some more details.

Line Notching

  • DC drives switch line voltage to the motor using a Phase Control method; the AC drive switches the line using a diode to a DC bus.
  • SCR switching will cause line notching (due to the relatively slow turn off time) which can be devastating to adjacent equipment. With the AC drive, diode switching does not cause line notching due to its relatively fast turn off time.

Extrusion machine’s control system’s response

  • The plastics industry for years considered DC king because of its speed regulation with tach feedback. AC did not rate because it had poor speed regulation.
  • Today, through Vector Control, the AC system without feedback (Open loop vector) will perform at least as well as the DC with tach feedback and AC with Encoder feedback can outperform DC with tach feedback.
  • I acknowledge that DC can perform as well as the AC if the DC system can use encoder feedback.

Extrusion system reliability comparison between AC and DC drives

  • DC is inherently more reliable than AC since it has fewer parts to fail (until you take the Motor into account).
  • AC is inherently less reliable than DC, until you take the Motor into account, since it has more parts than DC.
  • However, the DC system is less reliable than AC in that the major failure point of the DC system is the DC motor.
  • The DC motor brush system is a high maintenance item giving rise to an inherently weak link in the system.
  • A DC motor failure has a high probability of causing a DC drive failure as collateral damage.
  • The DC drive system can also be less reliable than AC since it depends upon the AC utility line switched by SCRs to control the current to the DC motor.
  • In the event of a motor failure, the SCR will continue to conduct till:
    The AC line commutates to the opposite polarity or,
    The AC line fuse blows whichever comes first.
    The latter is many times the result of the former.
  • With the AC system, the transistor is switched off much faster than the SCR.
  • The AC drive can detect the high current of a motor failure and switch off before blowing a fuse or damaging an AC drive component
  • Many AC drive manufacturers’ systems still cannot detect a destructive fault and will fail as a result of the motor failure.

Why Yaskawa Matters in Extrusion

  • Yaskawa has broken the reliability curve (better stated that Yaskawa has SMASHED the reliability curve) of all other solutions.
  • Yaskawa has, by nature of their quality process, their design criteria, and their excessive attention to detail, made the most reliable drive on the planet
  • Yaskawa’s patented transistor system does in most cases turn off before a catastrophic failure can occur.
  • Here is an application paper on Yaskawa and extrusion machine applications.


  • When planning what to do with your extruder's DC drive system, consider the following: AC beats DC for performance; AC beats DC for energy savings; Yaskawa AC trumps DC for system reliability; chose an systems integrator who has experience with DC to AC retrofits.


Steve Lyons is a member of the Houston engineered solutions team and is widely known as an industry authority on AC drive applications in control systems, including extrusion, centrifuge and many others. You can reach him at steve.lyons@iidm.com

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VFD on Fans, Pumps or Blowers

Posted April 11, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Yaskawa Drives

Tags: , ,

Why use a VFD on Fans, Pumps or Blowers? First, visualize your production facility:

  • How many fans are started and stopped using a starter.
  • What about pumps and blowers?
  • How many of those use a started to control stopping and starting?
  • Are you able to control the speed or flow?
Using a VFD on pumps, like this sewage treatment pump, can reign in energy costs and extend the life of the motor running the pump.

Using a VFD on pumps, like this sewage treatment pump, can reign in energy costs and extend the life of the motor running the pump.

Biggest question (and most costly) is: Are you wasting money and energy?

These are just a few simple questions that should start you thinking about better application control, which most times leads to energy savings. A variable frequency drive (VFD) might be your answer.


Simple Math Proves Savings

Most pumps, fans and blower systems are powered by induction motors. The energy used by an industrial induction motor is a function of the speed it runs at. In an induction motor, the power used by the motor varies depending on the cubed value of the motor’s speed. If the motor’s speed is raised, energy consumption increases. If the motor’s speed is lowered, so is energy use.

When you use a starter to start that induction motor, the motor comes on at full rated speed. This creates an inrush of electricity as well as full wear and tear on the motor and the motor housing. VFDs have the ability to run motors at a percentage of rated speed and, with limits, even above rated speed if desired.

Now about that energy savings. If you use a VFD run a motor at 50% rated speed, you are reducing the energy it takes to run the motor at rated speed by nearly 88%. How did I get this you might ask? Take the .5 speed and cube it. That is .5 x .5 x .5 = .125 or 12.5%. This means at half speed you are only using 12.5% of the same energy at full speed: That’s an 88% reduction. It sound like a lot of math, but contact me and I can walk you through it if needed. We do a ton of VFD work so I am happy to help.

Yaskawa Electric has an awesome online tool called the Yaskawa Energy Savings Predictor for estimating your own energy savings. Plug in some parameters and see what you think.

Without a VFD on a fan, or pump or blower, there is no other way to reduce the speed to realize this kind of savings. On pumps you may have a control valve. This valve controls flow or pressure. This consumes the same amount of energy on any position as motor speed is at rated speed the entire time. Fans might use a 2-speed motor but those motors lack the capability to vary motor speed to keep within the application needs. A VFD allows you to take process inputs and better control your application needs on fans, pumps and blowers.

Dan Mahoney


Dan Mahoney helps plant engineers and automation and controls planners in the Houston area for Innovative-IDM. He's a member of the President's Club and can be contacted at dan.mahoney@iidm.com

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