Starters or VFDs?

Starters or VFD? Talk about a loaded question.

Jim Montague, Executive Editor at Control Design Magazine, writes about the different technologies that we’re exposed to when it comes to controlling our electric motors.

Motor Starters Don’t Slow Down
Motor Starters Are Getting Smaller, Even Less Costly Due to Better Designs, Even More Reliable, and More Globally Standardized and Accepted

Despite being old-fashioned, motor starters are a simple choice and at times the more reliable option over a VFD.

Motors starters are a low-cost and still highly viable technology, and are in fact ideal for many applications, explains Brian Griffin, marketing specialist for ABB’s ( low-voltage products. “Motors starters are old school, but many engineers still like to use NEMA starters because they’ve been so reliable for their critical compressors, chillers and material handling applications. Many fans and pumps have gone to soft starters and variable-speed drives (VFDs), but a lot of fans and especially fire pumps still use regular starters. And many users want to keep using starters because they don’t have a lot of new expertise and they’re short-staffed, so they can replace a starter without having to consult design drawings.”

VFDs have their place, too. The initial expense is greater than the traditional starter, but quite honestly, it really depends on the application to decide on the preferable option.

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