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Variable speed drives

In 1969, ABB launched its variable-speed drives, which adjust the speed of electric motors to match the actual load they must perform, rather than having the motor run at full throttle. The result was a dramatic reduction in power consumption – typically by around 50 percent in pump, fan and compressor applications – and a considerable improvement in process control.

Equipped with a revolutionary ABB technology called Direct Torque Control (DTC), the drives continuously calculate and adjust the frequency, current and voltage, providing only the power that the motor needs.

Today, ABB is the world’s leader in low-voltage drives and high-power, medium-voltage drives. Its portfolio of drive systems extends across a large power range, from 100 watts to 100 megawatts and are used in all manner of applications and industries, from residential and commercial buildings to mines and processing plants.

The installed base of ABB drives saved approximately 510 TWh of electricity in 2016, equivalent to the annual power consumption of more than 125 million European Union households, and avoided around 410 million tons of CO2 emissions, corresponding to the yearly emissions of more than 100 million cars.

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