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New CT VSDs revive Commander name and green colour

05 November, 2018

Control Techniques has revived the Commander name and green colour for a new family of general-purpose variable-speed drives (VSDs) that will make their debut at the SPS IPC Drives show in Germany later this month. The easy-to-use Commander C200 and C300 drives will span ratings from 0.25–132kW and are claimed to have among the smallest footprints in their class, making them attractive to machine-builders and OEMs.

Control Techniques has been the home of the green Commander drive since its introduction in 1983,” says Control Techniques president, Tony Pickering. “This new range picks up the baton to continue that lineage.

“The Commander name has a lot of heritage within Control Techniques, and the drives industry,” he adds, “which makes this new range hugely exciting for us. For almost as long as there’s been variable-speed drives, there has been a Commander drive from Control Techniques. It’s a name which people know and trust, and we’re pleased to be able to bring it back to market.”

The new drives – the sixth generation – will replace CT’s earlier Unidrive M200 and M300 VSDs and are based on the same technology platform as the Unidrive M. They include V/Hz, open-loop vector and enhanced open-loop rotor flux control modes, and have built-in anticondensation motor heater functions.

The Commander C200 version is aimed at general applications, and includes functions designed to make setup and installation as easy as possible. Commander C300 adds a dual Safe Torque Off (STO) input for applications requiring safety. It complies with SIL 3 / Pl e.

Both models have on-board Codesys-based PLCs which comply with IEC 61131-3, avoiding the need for an external controller and saving on cost and space when installing the drives in a system or cabinet. They are compatible with CT’s plug-in option modules, which include support for Profinet, Profibus, Ethernet/IP, EtherCat, DeviceNet and CANopen communications.

There are two built-in autotune procedures to simplify set-ups, and all of the parameters needed to set up around 80% of general-purpose applications are shown on the front of the drive, avoiding the need to refer to a manual.

A suite of software tools is available to help commission and maintain the drives. For fast task-based commissioning and easy maintenance, Connect offers intuitive graphical tools to enhance data analysis. It uses dynamic drive logic diagrams to visualise and control a drive in real time. A customisable parameter browser can be used to view, edit and save parameters, as well as importing parameter files from older CT drives. 

For more advanced applications, Machine Control Studio provides a flexible, intuitive environment for programming via the on-board PLC.

Control Techniques new range of general-purpose drives revive the familiar green livery and the Commander name

Control Techniques also supports users’ own function block libraries, with on-line monitoring of program variables with user-defined watch windows, and help for on-line changing of programs.

A Diagnostic Tool, in the form of a free app for mobile devices, allows users to solve any error codes the drive may display. It includes easy-to-find wiring diagrams for first time setup and fault-finding, with links to the relevant manuals. The app also has details of support teams around the world that can offer technical assistance.

Versions of the new drives rated above 7.5kW will be built at Control Techniques’ factory in Newtown, Wales, while smaller models will be built at factories operated by CT’s owner, Nidec, in Asia. The drives will be available from January 2019 at similar prices to their predecessors.

As well as launching the new Commander C family at the SPS IPC Drives Show, Control Techniques will also use the event to launch its Digitax HD servodrives with M750 Ethernet, as well as high-performance Unidrive M700 drives with a safety option.

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