Using Soft Starters to Protect your Equipment and to Improve Efficiency

Selecting the best starter for the job could be the key to improving the efficiency and productivity of your business operations. When it comes to industrial automation, whether production is done on a small scale or moderate to large, using a starter which is not up to the job can cause breakdowns which result in lost time and slowdowns in production. Soft starters are highly recommended as the answer to many of the issues which are encountered in this type of setting.

Motor Power Rating, Types of Starts and Soft Starter Size Requirements

The type of start required must be considered. For example, a normal start is required when operating machinery such as a short conveyor belt, centrifugal pumps, lifts, winches or compressors. Heavy duty starts are required for running longer conveyor belts, centrifugal fans, mixers, stirrers, crushers or compactors. It is recommended the soft started selected for any of these tasks be one size larger than the rated motor power, and in all cases, when there are 6 or more starts per hour required, add an additional higher size.

Soft starters as problem solvers

Many of the traditional methods of starting are solved with the use of soft starters. They provide a finer control of voltage sent to motor windings so the current is more controlled. The voltage ramp up time may be adjusted for the application the motor is being used for. Soft starters allow for limiting available motor torque at start up and additionally the length of time for startup. They are more reliable due to the use of thyristors versus mechanical contactors so there are no moving parts. The need for maintenance is lessened and it saves energy as energy peak currents are also reduced. These starters are compatible with PLC, digital NPN and PNP outputs.

Problems Addressed by Soft Starters

Due to efficiency in design and operation, soft starters eliminate these common problems. Heavy wear on gearboxes, belt slippage, wear on bearings, damage to products during sudden stops, transmission peaks and high rush in current can cause overload tripping.

The use of soft starters makes sense for businesses who wish to increase the efficiency of their operations. Fewer mechanical breakdowns, maintenance requirements and a decrease in product damage due to inopportune shutdowns are just a few of the benefits and advantages which are gained by switching over to soft starters versus the traditional 3 phase systems. For more information on soft starters, visit


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