Reducing EMI in VFD applications

7 Steps to reducing EMI in your drive application
book mount emi filter

7 Steps to Reducing EMI with VFDs

This is the second of a two-part series reviewing EMI in VFD applications. The purpose of the first article was to get you better acquainted with the basics of EMI when using elevator VFDs (this article really applies to all drive application).

 

This article will review 7 tips to mitigate EMI-related problems. When considering EMI, there is always a source, a victim, and a path. Each tip below will use grounding, shielding, or filtering methods to mitigate EMI-related issues.

 

1. Ensure all components are earth grounded appropriately

The earth ground is very important and provides a return path to drain high-frequency noise. In general, a low impedance path should be created which will allow the EMI noise to drain. Considering this, the ground connection should be kept as short as possible. A flat braided ground strap is a good choice and provides

 

Considering this, the ground connection should be kept as short as possible. A flat braided ground strap is a good choice and provides increased surfaced area for connections.

drive braided ground strap

The use of a braided ground strap like this is best practice

 

Finally, the ground conductor gauge should be sized appropriately- a conductor that is too small will offer high resistance and not drain as effectively.

 

 

2. Verify motor room has a good earth connection to the building ground

Grounding to the building via a water pipe is not sufficient! Disturbances on the supply power to due to improper motor room grounding can expose VFDs to voltage distortion from the mains supply.

 

This is problematic when a regenerative drive is used to return excess energy from an overhauling load back to the supply. Regenerative drives measure the main line voltage and frequency in order to deliver excess energy in synchronous with the main line supply. Notching on the main line prevents proper regenerative operation and may cause excessive drive and regen faults.

 

 

3.Connect all ground connections to metal common ground block

A common ground block should always be mounted to the cabinet sub panel. All ground connections should be wired to this common block. A common ground block provides a single grounding point to reduce potential differences between multiple ground connections. This will also prevent ground loops which allow EMI to circulate.

 

grounding block

The use of a common ground block

 

 

4. Use shielded cables for control signals

Shielding sensitive control signals can be used to mitigate radiated EMI. For example, it is always necessary to provide an encoder cable with shielded signals.

 

Permanent magnet motors utilizing high-resolution absolute encoders often use analog signals with a 1V peak-to-peak signal to provide position and speed feedback to the drive. Noise on these signals often results in vibration in the motor and poor ride quality.

 

KEB offers high-quality encoder cables with double shields and twisted pair wires for noise immunity. Shielded cables must always be grounded correctly.

 

encoder_shield

KEB cables contain a shield around all conductor pairs

 

encoder_twistedpairs

Each twisted pair is also shielded

 

 

 

5. Spatially separate AC supply power, motor cable, high power DC voltage cables, and control and data lines

To prevent high-frequency coupling these wires must be spatially separated from each other a minimum of 8 inches when laid parallel to each other.

 

Extra caution should be taken with the VFD output which is especially rich in EMI due to the high-frequency PWM switching.

 

controlCabinet_wiring

 

 

6. Install a high-performance EMI Filter like the E6

High switching frequencies of the IGBT’s at the VFD output interacts with stray capacitances of the electric system producing parasitic currents. Parasitic currents generate excessive heat in the inverter and can be transmitted to the supply power through the VFD, potentially disturbing sensitive equipment connected to the supply.

 

The E6 EMI Filter is designed to lead parasitic currents back to ground instead of the supply cables.

vfd emi diagram

The EMI filter is placed between the line power and the VFD

 

The use of EMI filters is actually mandated in the EU and is part of the CE mark that machinery gets.  Different EMI mitigation levels are defined depending on whether the equipment is used in commercial or residential applications.

 

book mount emi filter

KEB offers back mount and book mount style EMI filters for VFDs

 

7. Install ferrite rings at the inverter output

A relatively inexpensive option to reduce common mode noise is to install correctly sized ferrite rings at the output of the VFD. Common mode noise is a result of the interaction of pulse width modulation and parasitic capacitances of the cable and motor. Common mode noise produced by PWM travels throughout the motor to ground.

 

The result is high voltages and currents which may contribute to nuisance controller faults, premature failure of motor bearings and motor windings.  The inductance of the ferrite increases the impedance between the VFD output and cable, thus filtering high-frequency currents.

ferrite rings for VFD

The use of ferrite rings on the VFD output can dramatically help

 

 

Want more information? – contact us.  Or comment below and let us know your experience with mitigating EMI in VFD applications.

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