Though medium-voltage variable frequency drives (VFDs) are proven to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, their electronic components can be negatively affected by the harsh environmental conditions in which large drives are commonly found.

Historically, the responsibility for protecting these critical assets from extreme temperatures, moisture and air contaminants has fallen to the end user. Now, however, integrators and manufacturers are starting to incorporate stand-alone, environmentally controlled enclosures as part of the standard drive package. These packages tend to fall into three categories: self-enclosed Type 4 VFD cabinets, containerized solutions and PDCs / E-houses. Selection depends on the plant or site’s specific needs.

By integrating the drive with an appropriate environmental enclosure, the user’s environmental control burdens are minimized, and the drive’s life and efficiency are greatly improved. Installations in a wide range of harsh environments are evidence of the effectiveness of this approach from sub-artic temperatures in Alaska to salt air and extreme heat in the Gulf of Arabia.