Options for Discontinued Siemens Masterdrive Systems
With the beginning of the planned phase-out of Siemens Masterdrive in October of 2010, replacement parts and units that have been refurbished became increasingly difficult to obtain. Plus, those parts and units that were available began to climb in both price and delivery times. For owners of this drive system, understandable anxiety set in.
What Does the Phase-Out Mean?
Essentially, the phase-out means that the drive system has been discontinued by the manufacturer. For a time, there were still replacement parts and reconditioned drives readily available, but as they were no longer being manufactured, these stores would eventually run out.
Options for Discontinued Drives
After 2020, Siemens will no longer provide support for Masterdrive. One seemingly straightforward option would be to change out the entire system, but this would likely mean upgrading the entire automation system. This option comes with considerable expense and probably requires a great deal of time.
However, because the drive system was so popular, there is a broad secondary market that will be self sustainable for many years beyond 2020. That means that there are plenty of opportunities to extend the useful life for existing drives at a small percentage of the expense of a new system.
Repair or Replace: Factors to Review
Before arriving at a decision on whether to extend the life of a Siemens Masterdrive system or complete a replacement and overhaul of your entire system, consider these key factors:
- Performance. The age of the drive will not affect its performance. The drive’s speed and torque will remain consistent with as-built levels.
- Service Availability. Many service providers will travel to areas with no local providers available or accept delivery of shipped drives for service.
- Spare Part Availability. Certain IGBTs pose a risk for spare parts, particularly those with very large frame sizes. Still, the risk is reduced by devices stocked by Siemens and local service providers.
- Reliability. This is arguably the most important factor to consider as it may not make sense to repair an inverter that is already failing at rates greater than expected.
Masterdrive Extension Programs
Quad Plus has serviced well over 2000 Masterdrives throughout the years. Because of this extensive experience, we have collected vast amounts of data regarding which components tend to fail first and which preemptive actions are most likely to maintain productivity. As a result, we are able to offer a proactive program that can help extend the life and preserve a high rate of reliability for these drives.
Some of these failure points include:
- Cooling Systems. Water coolant should be cleaned and flushed, hoses and clamps upgraded, and heatsinks cleaned. Fans also tend to wear out after about four years.
- DC Bus Capacitors. These should be changed out after a maximum of 15 years, or sooner, depending on the application and working environment.
- Power Supplies. Small contactors and electrolytic caps should be inspected or replaced as needed.
- Gate Drivers. Preemptive replacement of components including fiber optics (ivi, ipi, impi)
- IGBT. These should be assessed for proper functioning based on the application and the working environment.
- Internal Power Connections should be inspected.
Through our own experience or that of others, most service providers have also discovered that using OEM parts delivers the best outcomes. In the right environment, this kind of program can extend the working life of the drive for ten years or more.
Individual or Phased Replacement
Another strategy to consider is a phased or planned replacement of one drive at a time over the course of a few years. For example, many customers will have a displaced drive reconditioned and kept as a spare for future use. This method will allow a complete system to undergo an upgrade over several fiscal years. That
way, the customer can complete the overhaul during planned periods of downtime and from a planned budget.
The Right Choice for Your Operation
Ultimately, the decision comes down to the reliability of your current drives, your budget for upgrades, and the need for service or upgrades throughout your operation. If now is not the right time for replacement, Quad Plus’s life-extending program for your discontinued Siemens Masterdrive systems can cost approximately 70 percent of the total cost of a new system, including the cost of engineering and automation costs associated with replacement.
If you’d like additional information on our Masterdrive life-extension program or if you’d like assistance developing a migration plan from your Masterdrives, please contact Jim Woulf at (920) 515-4155 or via email at email@example.com.
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