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Best Practice
SABP-P-003 30 J une 2006
Adjustable Frequency Drives
-Selection and Application
Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division






Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards

Table of Contents

1 Introduction.................................................... 2
2 Definitions...................................................... 2
3 Overview …..………...........….…................... 4
3.1 What is an AFD
3.2 Applying AFDs
3.3 Role of Standards
4 Deciding whether to use an AFD…............... 4
4.1 Benefits
4.2 Economic Evaluation
4.3 Typical Applications
4.4 High Speed Applications
4.5 New systems
4.6 Retrofitting to existing systems
5 Installing the AFD………………........……….. 9
5.1 Distribution System Design
5.2 Relaying and metering
5.3 Power Quality Considerations
5.4 Use of Bypasses

Appendices
A Theory of Operation
B How AFDs Save Energy
C IEEE Industry Transaction:
The Correct Method of Calculating Energy Savings
D Economic Analysis
E TechNote – Adjustable Frequency Drives
F FAQs


Document Responsibility: CSD/Electrical Systems Division SABP-P-003
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1 Introduction
1.1 Purpose
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on the identification of
Adjustable Frequency Drive (AFD) applications and considerations to help
ensure a successful installation.
This document is not intended as an AFD tutorial however it does contain
information that will provide a basic understanding of how AFDs work.
1.2 Disclaimer
This Best Practice (BP) is not mandatory. It is a supplement to existing
Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirement (MSAERs) and provides
information that will maximize the opportunity for a successful AFD
application.
Because this is not a mandatory document, in the event of a conflict between
this BP and MSAERs, the MSAER requirements take precedence.
1.3 References
The following is a summary of the documents mentioned in this BP:
Saudi Aramco Material Specification
16-SAMSS-517 High Voltage Adjustable Frequency Drive System
Saudi Aramco Engineering Standards
SAES-P-116 Switchgear and Controlgear
SAES-P-113 Motors and Generators
2 Definitions
Text identified in bold font throughout this document is defined below.
AC: Alternating Current
AFD: Adjustable Frequency Drive. An electronic device that controls the speed of an
AC motor by controlling the voltage and frequency of the power source to the
motor.
BHP: Brake Horsepower. The power requirement at the input shaft of the driven
equipment. If driven at fixed speed, this BHP will vary based upon the
flow/pressure characteristics of the specific equipment.
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BP: Best Practice
HV: High Voltage: 1kV and above. For AFDs, definition is based upon the voltage at
the output of the inverter (i.e., motor connection)
LV: Low Voltage: Less than 1kV.
MSAER: Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirements. These documents are
corporate mandatory documents. Examples of MSAERs are Saudi Aramco
Materials System Specifications (SAMSSs), Engineering Standards (SAESs)
and Standard Drawings (SASDs).
3 Overview
Practically all motors that are used for process applications operate on alternating
current (AC). These motors will operate at a fixed speed based upon the frequency of
the voltage delivered to the motor. This frequency is fixed and therefore these motors
drive the connected load at a fixed speed. Refer to Appendix A for AFD “Theory of
Operation”.
To control a plant, process parameters (pressure, flow, etc.) must be varied. When
operated by a fixed speed motor, a pump or compressor delivers a fairly constant
pressure/flow which doesn’t allow for control. To control the flow in these situations
the conventional practice is to install a control valve at the pump discharge. These
valves drop pressure thus reducing flow. These valves are remotely controlled from the
plant process control computer.
Using control valves to control flow is effective however there are disadvantages
(mainly loss of efficiency as explained latter in this BP). The use of control valves is a
solution to the problem of not being able to vary the pump speed. If the pump speed
could be varied, pressure/flow would be varied and there would be no requirement for
the control valves.
3.1 What is an AFD
An AFD is an electronic device that allows the motor speed to be varied. It is
inserted in the power cable to the motor and converts the fixed frequency &
voltage AC into a variable frequency & voltage output. Refer to Appendix A.
Varying the pump speed varies the pressure thus eliminating the requirement for
control valves. The AFD can be remotely controlled from the process computer
the same way as the control valves.
The AFD, in it’s simplest form, is simply a box that is inserted into the motor
power cable. Fixed frequency & voltage goes in, user defined frequency &
voltage comes out. Depending upon the manufacturer and rating of the AFD,
multiple components may be involved. For example, large AFDs have an
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isolation transformer which may be separate from the AFD unit or built into the
box. Large AFDs may be liquid cooled so a cooling skid may be necessary.
3.2 Applying AFDs
Use of AFDs require different considerations than fixed speed applications.
With fixed speed systems, there is very little need for the motor manufacturer to
know anything about the power system to which the motor is connected. When
the motor is operated with an AFD, the motor is now an integral part of the
AFD and visa-versa. Successful operation of both the motor and the AFD
depend upon the manufacturers’ of both the AFD and motor engineering the
system together.
3.3 Role of Standards
The MSAERs related to AFDs are written on the fundamental premise that all
components that make up the AFD system (including the motor) must be
purchased from theAFD manufacturer. This has the following benefits:
• ensures the entire system is engineered together.
• focuses operational accountability to one source.
• relieves the responsibility of Saudi Aramco or it’s agents from engineering
the system.
• makes the AFD supplier responsible and accountable for maintaining
power quality .
There are three MSAERs that govern the selection and application of AFD
systems:
16-SAMSS-517
This is the material specification for high voltage HV AFDs. As mentioned
above, the scope includes all components of the drive system (including the
motor). The scope also requires the manufacturer meet power quality
standards when the equipment is connected to the Saudi Aramco system.
SAES-P-116
Defines the responsibilities for the selection and application of AFDs
Defines the material requirements for low voltage LV AFDs.
SAES-P-113
Defines applications which must be evaluated for AFD applications.
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4 Deciding whether to use an AFD
4.1 Benefits
AFDs benefits are in two main areas: 1) Energy savings and 2) Non-energy
savings benefits
1) Energy savings
As discussed previously, a pump driven at a constant speed develops a fairly
constant pressure regardless of flow. Therefore, the BHP demand of the
pump does not change that significantly over the flow range. In otherwords,
the driven equipment and process system are not very energy efficient when
operated at fixed speed (33%*). The motor’s function is to provide power to
this inefficient system.
Controlling the operating pressure of the driven equipment by operating it at
variable speed has the effect of greatly improving the efficiency of the
driven equipment system (from 33% to 73%*)
* Refer to Appendix B.
2) Non-Energy Savings Benefits
• Elimination/reduction of field equipment
Examples would be elimination of control valves, gearboxes, driven
equipment protection systems, complete lube oil systems.
• Reduction in mechanical/process equipment size/Increase capacity of
existing pumping/compression systems
Given that the AFD can operate well beyond the plant distribution
voltage frequency (i.e. 60Hz), there is the opportunity to overspeed the
motor and thus the driven equipment. This presents the ability of getting
more capacity out of a given pump than with fixed speed operation. In
some case, this may also allow a smaller pump be used.
• Elimination of lube oil systems
In association with magnetic bearings, HV AFDs on large equipment
present the opportunity to operate an entire equipment skid without lube
oil. Elimination of lube oil systems can be a significant economic and
maintenance advantage.
• Driven equipment protection systems (recycle) may be able to be
reduced in size with AFD operation.
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• Reduction in noise
Mechanical equipment is generally noisier at high speeds than low
speeds. When operating at fixed speed this noise is always present. In
addition, the pressure drop across the control valves contribute to the
overall noise level. With an AFD the speed of the equipment is
generally always less than at fixed speed. There is no noise from the
control valves since there are none.
• Reduction of electrical system disturbances
One significant benefit is that AFDs inherently provide “soft starting”
(i.e., no inrush current during motor starting). This has several
economic and operation benefits:
voltage dips are decreased on busses.
feeder cable may be able to be smaller.
distribution transformer may be able to be lower rated.
• Reduction in size of electrical equipment
Because of the AFDs soft-starting characteristic, equipment that
contribute to the voltage drop in the system (i.e. cables, transformers)
may be smaller.

Another benefit is reduction in the fault level on the bus feeding the
motor. Without an AFD, the motor is connected directly to the bus.
During a fault, the motor briefly acts like a generator and contributes
current to the fault. The bus short circuit rating must be sized to
accommodate this extra fault current. With an AFD, the motor is
electrically isolated from the bus and does not contribute current to a
fault.
• Auto-restart capability.
The AFD, by design, is well suited to automatically reaccelerate the
load after a disturbance on the power distribution system. This
restarting can be done with motors without AFDs but the motor would
have to be allowed to fully decelerate before it could be restarted. With
an AFD, the AFD will automatically synchronous with the decelerating
motor resulting in the motor being brought back to full speed much
quicker than a non-AFD application.
4.2 Economic Evaluation
AFDs have many benefits over conventional motor and flow control systems but
they cost more. Therefore, an economic analysis must be performed to balance
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the added cost with the benefits. Refer to Appendix D for an example.
Identifying the benefits and putting an economic value against them is the
difficult part of the evaluation. Identifying a monetary value of the energy
savings is routine provided it is done correctly (see Appendix C). Identifying the
non-energy savings benefits is more difficult and putting a monetary value
against some of them can be subjective. For example, we can account for the the
cost savings of eliminating some field equipment (e.g. control valve, gearbox
etc) but did we account for the reduction in maintenance associated with
eliminating this equipment. What is the value of reducing noise? What is the
value of having a smaller compressor skid? What is the value of having fewer
power quality problems in the plant?
The Facilities Planning Department (FPD) is the organization responsible for
facilitating this evaluation. Obviously input from a variety of organizations
would be required for FPD to properly evaluate the application
4.3 Typical Applications
Typical applications within Saudi Aramco would be the following:
• Pumps
• Compressors
• Fuel truck offloading
• Process fin-fan coolers
• Boiler forced draft fans
• Electrical Submersible Pumps
• Building Environmental Control Systems (duct fans, chiller pumps)
4.4 High Speed Applications
Without an AFD, the highest motor speed attainable on a 60Hz system is 3600
RPM. If the driven equipment requires a higher speed than this, gearboxes are
required.
AFDs have no restriction on the frequency they can deliver. This allows the
elimination of gearboxes. Eliminating the gearboxes has many benefits such as:
• lower cost.
• energy savings.
• reduction in skid size
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• reduction in the rotating element length (i.e. fewer rotating element dynamic
considerations.
• reduction in size of lube oil system.
• possibility to completely eliminate lube oil system if magnetic bearings are
used.
4.5 New systems
HV AFDs
The MSAERs are designed to focus system engineering, operational and
power quality accountability with the AFD manufacturer.
It is important to reiterate that the HV material specification 16-SAMSS-517
requires that the motor be purchased from the AFD manufacturer. The AFD
manufacturer can supply any motor from a Saudi Aramco approved supplier.
This is a completely different approach to sourcing the motor than in non-
AFD applications. In non-AFD applications, supply of the motor is usually
the driven equipment supplier’s responsibility.
LV AFD
Given that these AFDs are mass produced devices, there is no dedicated
material specification for this equipment. SAES-P-116 requires the AFDs to
simply conform to established industrial/international standards.
J ust as with the HV AFDs, it is important that the the LV AFD and motor be
“engineered” together. Unlike the HV AFDs it is not necessary that the AFD
manufacturer supply the motor as is the case with the HV AFDs. It just
requires that the AFD manufacturer and the motor manufacturer be “brought
together” in some manner to ensure that each party knows what their
equipment will be connected to and allow them to participate in the
application. This can be accomplished in many ways. An example would be
that the purchasing documents require the AFD supplier directly contact the
motor manufacturer during the drive selection process.
4.6 Retrofitting to existing systems
Retrofitting AFDs requires special attention. The need for an engineered system
still exists but, since the motor is existing, it is more challenging to engineer the
AFD/motor system.
Retrofits are also more difficult to economically justify, especially on HV AFDs
since many of the benefits (that would provide a cost credit in a new
application), do not exist. For example in a new system we save the cost of not
installing a control valve. For an existing system, the valve already exists.
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In addition, retrofits may require additional equipment/scope that would not be
required on a new installation. For example, if the existing motor is rated 13.2
kV, the motor may have to be rewound or a step-down transformer installed to
retrofit an AFD. Neither of this would be necessary in a new installation.
Retrofits of LV AFDs do not usually encounter the above problems but the need
for engineering the AFD/motor application still exists.
5 Installing the AFD
5.1 Distribution System Design

As previously mentioned AFDs provide benefits that may allow a reduction in
the cost of the distribution system. For example:
• Feeder cable may be able to be smaller
• Distribution transformer may be able to be lower rated.
…….due to the soft starting capability of the AFD.
• Switchgear short circuit rating might be able to be reduced since the motor
cannot contribute current into a fault.

5.2 Relaying and Metering

The motor is fully protected and controlled by the AFD. No additional motor
protection relaying is required. HV AFDs usually have an isolation transformer
which the MSAERs require be fed from switchgear. The protective relaying on
the feeder breaker should be designed solely for transformer protection.

5.3 Power Quality Considerations

There should be no concerns with power quality. As previously highlighted, the
MSAERs are designed to make the AFD manufacturer responsible for a
maintaining the power quality on the Saudi Aramco system. As such there
should be no need to independently perform any power quality assessment.

5.4 Use of Bypasses

Bypasses are schemes that allow the AFD to be bypassed with switching
devices. The intend is to accommodate AFD failure by allowing the motor to be
operated at fixed speed.

The MSAERs do not allow bypasses on HV AFDs. The reasons are the
following:
• bypass systems are complex and costly.
• industrial experience with AFD reliability does not support their use.
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• bypasses would require the motor voltage be the same as one of the
distribution levels in the facility. This is possible but not always the case.
Since the MSAER makes the AFD manufacturer responsible for the motor
operation, the AFD manufacturer is allowed to select the motor voltage.
Dictating the rated motor voltage may interfere with the AFD manufacturers
ability to optimize the AFD design.
• generally, driven equipment systems have fully installed standby units.
• the process design would have to install process/mechanical equipment to be
able to control the plant when operated at full speed (control valves,
gearboxes etc.)

The MSAERs do not restrict the use of bypasses on LV AFDs. Bypasses are
more common in LV applications but many of the same considerations
mentioned above still exist. As such, the use of bypasses on LV AFDs should be
carefully reviewed to ensure they are providing added value.



Revision Summary
30 J une 2006 New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.
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Appendix A
Theory of Operation
Referring to above, a fixed frequency and voltage is input into the AFD and the AFD
delivers a variable frequency and voltage to allow speed control of the motor.

The output voltage and frequency must be simultaneously varied to maintain the flux
density in the motor (refer to next page for details)

Internally, the AFD performs the conversion by rectifying the AC into DC and then using
electronic switches (e.g. transistors) to convert the DC back to AC.

The following provides a more detailed explanation.



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Appendix B
How AFDs Save Energy









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Appendix C
-IEEE Transaction
The Correct Method of Calculating Energy Savings
to J ustify Adjustable Frequency Drives on Pumps

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Appendix D
Economic Analysis




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Appendix E
TechNote: Adjustable Frequency Drives



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Appendix F
FAQs


Can we use an AFD instead of a gearbox?
An AFD is not a substitute for a gearbox. A gearbox provides a fixed ratio speed change.
An AFD is intended to provide a variable speed ratio change based upon the demands of the
process system.
I have a need for a reduced voltage starter. Can I use an AFD?
An AFD does inherently provide soft starting but an AFD would be an expensive soft-
starter. Soft starters do not vary the frequency but only electronically reduce the voltage to
the motor for a short time to accelerate the motor. As such they as much simper and less
costly than an AFD (approx 20% the cost of an AFD)
How does the AFD improve the motor efficiency?
It doesn’t. The motor is a highly efficient device (over 95% efficient). The energy savings
by using an AFD is a result in improving the efficiency of the driven equipment and process
system. (see Appendix B)
Some large AFDs are liquid cooled. Isn’t it better if they were air cooled?
No. Liquid cooling reduces the size of the AFD, allows for quieter operation and provides
for more efficient component cooling.
AFDs always save energy so why not use them on all motors?
AFDs will not always save energy. The degree of energy savings depends upon the type of
process system connected to the driven equipment. For example, in systems with high static
head or backpressure, the use of AFDs may not save any energy.
Isn’t a bypass necessary in case the AFD fails?
No. Bypasses are extremely complex and increase the cost of the overall system. See the
body of this BP for a more detailed explanation about the use of bypasses.
Do we need to install harmonic filters when we use AFDs?
No. Modern drives rarely require the use of harmonic filters to meet power quality
requirements.