Motor controllers benefit from built-in sensorless vector drive

Paul Boughton

Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley Armorstart distributed motor controllers
now feature a built-in Allen-Bradley Powerflex sensorless vector drive with
Devicenet connectivity.

Requiring no additional enclosures, the new compact Armorstart VSD (variable speed drive) controllers are suitable for cost-effective on-machine applications requiring precise torque and speed control, together with powerful diagnostics and network connectivity.

The Armorstart VSD's modular design makes for quick and reliable installation. Pretested, quick-connect wiring assemblies minimise cabling, resulting in reduced labour costs and wiring problems. Furthermore, the compact, space-saving design of the Armorstart VSD facilitates mounting close to the motor rather than in a separate control cabinet. These innovations can provide savings on installation time of up to 40 per cent.

In addition, the modular design of the Armorstart, with its inbuilt diagnostic functions, simplifies maintenance and troubleshooting. And the onboard LED display provides an indication of the unit's status and faults are displayed such as phase loss, overload and phase imbalance. In the event of a starter or I/O fault, users can efficiently isolate and repair the problem locally - which aids plant availability.

Advanced Devicenet communications within the Armorstart VSD provide an easy and cost-effective method of integrating starters and I/O into the manufacturing process, delivering all the benefits of networked operation.

In addition to providing centralised control and monitoring of shop floor operations, the Armorstart supports ADR (automatic device replacement), which allows the PLC to automatically download the original settings to a replacement starter via Devicenet. In the event of a network problem, Devicelogix enables local control of the motor starter, thus reducing lost production.

Equipped with a robust IP67 enclosure, the Armorstart ensures reliable operation in environmentally demanding conditions, including washdown environments.

Armorstart VSDs can be used with motors ranging from 0.4 to 4kW for reversing and non-reversing applications with a voltage range from 200 to 460V. Factory-installed options include a keypad with jog function, dynamic brake contactor, EMI filter, source brake contactor, output connector and shielded motor cable. Additional flexibility is provided by four inputs and two outputs and an optional keypad for local start/stop control at the motor.

"Manufacturers at all levels are searching for high-performance control devices that will give them greater application flexibility, faster installation and lower engineering costs", says Claude Joye, marketing manager for Rockwell Automation for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"With an embedded vector control drive that makes it easy to achieve higher levels of performance, along with an integrated machine-mount design that uses fewer cables, the Armorstart motor controller gives users a powerful competitive advantage."

For more information, visit


Recent Issues