10 million opportunities to do more while using less energy

2015-12-01 - The ten millionth energy-efficient variable speed drive recently rolled off the assembly line in ABB’s factory in Beijing.

Drive number ten million, an ABB ACS880 industrial drive, will go to Wuhan Guide Electric Co., Ltd. in China - a system integrator who manufactures electric control systems for port cranes.

Variable speed drives match a motor’s speed and torque to an application’s actual work demand, which improves precision and control. This is especially critical for port cranes, which need to unload ships as quickly as possible while safely lifting heavy containers and accurately placing them in yards or onto trains and trucks.

But equally important to drive’s precision is their ability to save energy by ensuring that motors work no harder than necessary. More than 90 percent of industrial motors cannot adjust their own power consumption so they run at full speed regardless of the needed output, or rely on inefficient mechanical braking methods. Variable speed drives can precisely adjust the motor speed to the actual work requirement, which can typically reduce a motor’s energy consumption by 20-50 percent.

Motors account for around 28 percent1 of the world’s annual energy use, and every year millions more are added. Therefore drives offer substantial opportunities to reduce the environmental impact from powering the cranes, machines and conveyor belts needed in ports and factories, and from the pumps and fans in buildings where people live and work.

If drives were mandatory for all pump and fan applications alone, total global energy savings would be 3’338 TWh – this is equivalent to the entire electrical energy production of all 28 European Union (EU) countries in 2013.2

ABB developed its first AC drive in the 1970s, and has saved a huge amount of energy over the past 40 years delivering millions of drives to all industries. The installed base of ABB drives in China have saved 201 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) electricity, enough to power Beijing for two years.

China is home to 70 percent of the world’s largest commercial ports, and depends on automated cranes to productively and accurately move enormous volumes of goods. Small and medium sized ports are also under pressure to automate more so they can compete with large ports in terms of productivity and safety to attract increasingly larger “megaships’ and their heavier containers. So energy efficient drives like ABB’s ACS880 create a win-win situation for users, allowing them to improve productivity while reducing the environmental impact of their operations.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering their environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 140,000 people.

For help with any technical terms in this release, please go to: www.abb.com/glossary.


1 IEA, Energy Efficiency Policy Opportunities for Electric Motor Driven Systems, 2011
2 Eurostat, Electricity production, consumption and market overview


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