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VFD training

I have been selling and marketing VFDs for 22 years. Almost every sales call I go on includes some kind of training. Very few design/build engineering firms have a drives expert and rely on salespeople to keep them informed. Almost all LV VFDs these days are so similar it is only price that separates them. I believe it is the informed salesman that makes the difference. By the same token, it is much more important to know and understand what your chosen market requires and what the VFD brings to the table. Every market has its own language and that can be an obstacle. It is not impossible but unlikely that an HVAC oriented salesman will be successful in, say, a steel mill as those industries are so dissimilar. Been there - done that!

When you are looking for training, I recommend that you take all the free manufacturer's training you can. Lunch and Learns provide a great opportunity to share information and get the skinny on different manufacturers. They usually provide the lunch (I always do) so that is a plus. Your people should be ready with specific application questions to challenge the presenter. If you are considering external classes make sure you ask for an overview of the training. Sometimes you run into what I call a "High Five" training which is more like a pep rally than anything else.

It is equally important to differentiate between sales training and technician training. You can waste a lot time not asking the question.

Training now is much more about the specifics of different applications (HVAC, winding etc.) than about the way drives work. I've been training drives for some time, and these days the emphasis is also on interfacing and communications, harmonics, EMC etc. However, many variable frequency drives still give problems because they are incorrectly installed (exposed to dirt and dust) and these basics should be covered as well. There is a lot of stuff on the net of course, but nothing beats a short presentation followed by plenty of hands on with the variable speed drive, motor and hopefully some meaningful load.

The best learning approach is to actually purchase a small VFD and start working with it.

However, in my experience it is NOT just the VFD that makes a difference in your application. Technical support that the OEM offers is the most important factor. The "DriveWizard" or the software also plays a big role since you usually have to tune the VFD to your specific motor. You need to ask if this can be done through the AutoTune routine for different types of motors such as PM.

It is a good idea to figure out your communication needs if this is not a stand alone or a single drop application. Almost always you will run VFDs in concert with a PLC or a PC and it would be easier to commission your system if you have defined these components as well.

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