Power Electronics

Variable Speed Drives in Appliances to Double

THE USE OF INVERTER-BASED variable speed drives (VSDs) in home appliances is forecast to double over the next five years, according to the latest detailed assessment of the market from IMS Research. Currently, appliances with VSDs account for just one in eight new appliances — mainly in air conditioners and washing machines.

However, times are changing quickly. At the heart of this VSD uptake are governmental labeling schemes to promote more energy-efficient appliances. Just last month, the U.S. EPA announced it would be taking control over the popular Energy Star program and would introduce a new top-tier classification called “Super Star” to create a more rigorous set of criteria for top performing appliances.

“While home appliance shipments have decreased globally, the use of electronics within them has not,” commented report author Jason dePreaux. “One of the main drivers of this trend has been the global emphasis on energy efficiency. A large number of countries continue to amend minimum performance standards and comparative labeling schemes in an effort to curb electricity consumption.

“For example, the EU is currently revamping its label of refrigerators despite the fact that it was updated a mere four years ago. The swiftness of appliance efficiency rulemaking means that future appliances must be smarter in the way they use power.”

In addition to increased efficiency, variable-speed motor control also appeals to the desire for more reliable performance and quieter operation. Shipment growth of appliances with variable-speed motor drives is forecast to grow rapidly over the next five years.

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