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Drive system optimisation

01 July 2014

In today’s economy more emphasis is being placed on ‘getting more for less‘; in simple terms, optimising your business to return more profit. As responsible global citizens, companies are also looking at technologies to reduce their carbon emissions and utilise their energy consumption more wisely.

The plant industry in particular is looking at issues such as lifecycle management, global support and vendors who can provide a single source of supply, to maximise productivity.

Trying to address these issues purely by using clever technology will only achieve benefits to a certain degree. To be able to gain the most benefit, businesses must look beyond just ‘a clever box‘ to see how their business needs can be addressed, now and in the future.

Integrated drive technology

Within industry, regardless of type, all drives utilise electric motors. Many are controlled by variable speed drives connected to gearboxes and couplings. This equipment may have been sourced from various suppliers and quite possibly has been installed to help address some of the issues mentioned above.

The integrated drive system (IDS) is a concept which elevates products beyond pure product supply. It is an all-encompassing solution, whereby the 'complete drive system solution' is specified and supported throughout its lifecycle.

It is a method of addressing both the operational and energy efficiency requirement of a company. It optimises a drive system to the highest degree of performance and allows complete acquisition of data to achieve predictive maintenance and solve problems before they create downtime.

The system supports the machine or plant throughout its entire lifecycle.  It simplifies procurement by using a single source supply route. The key word used throughout is optimisation.


Procurement can be a time-consuming task; several vendors may be involved. This can make your requirements harder to understand, leadng to a non-aligned solution that has the potential to be misunderstood and that may not meet all your business and technical needs.

Alternatively, adopting a single source supplier can align your needs and business requirements to another single business, allowing for a single point of contact for all equipment to be supplied.  An experienced supplier can offer value added services such as expert engineering support, extensive experience in your sector, and production facilities around the world and close to you.

Encompassing IDS

Having the correct tools to be able to design, simulate and justify cost savings and performance are key to being able to realise the full potential of any industrial machinery package. Implementation of IDS allows the user to implement software that can specify, simulate and calculate energy efficiency and performance of the drive system. This is critical to ensuring the specific requirements of a plant user’s application.

To ensure ease of commissioning and the construction of the drive system, IDS solutions have a seamless approach and harmonisation of the drive train components, ensuring there is no risk of incompatibility between them – and ensuring commissioning time is kept to a minimum.


Integration of the drive system to the machine control system and beyond can be achieved using the latest communication protocols, allowing for increased availability, data access, flexibility and remote diagnostics, and ensuring the maximum potential is achieved.

To confirm that a machine or drive system is always working at peak performance, IDS involves using lifecycle support, a method of maintaining the drive system in a planned manner. This avoids unnecessary failures, and ensures that both the performance and efficiency of the drive train within the process are not compromised.

Getting the best operational performance requires measurement or data acquisition, the practice of continuously monitoring an industrial plant or system to achieve the highest level of quality and performance. This means that profitability and machine utilisation are maximsed – as well as preventing unforeseen breakdowns.

For future proofing the solution, lifecycle support can also take the responsibility of modernisation programmes or modifications so that industry’s constantly changing demands are always met and exceeded.

Integrated drive systems are methods of business being able to address the forever changing industrial environment; they are a means of ensuring that all of business’s technical, procurement, energy and operational needs are met. Fully integrated drive systems can bring benefits to everyone.

Key Points

  • With the integrated drive system (IDS) concept, the 'complete drive system solution' is specified and supported throughout its lifecycle
  • It can optimise a drive system and allow acquisition of data to achieve predictive maintenance, solving problems before they create downtime
  • Having the correct tools to be able to design, simulate and justify cost savings and performance are key