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The Benefits of an Active Front End (AFE) Drive

Posted by Jason Justice on Feb 22nd 2019

An Active Front End (AFE) or Regen Inverter not only reduces harmonics, but also provides other benefits that can reduce costs.

Rather than using diodes in the rectifier to convert the incoming AC power to DC, an active front end uses insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs). The AFE monitors the input current waveform and shapes it to be sinusoidal, reducing total harmonic distortion (THD) to 5 percent or less and near unity power.

An active front end AFE drive replaces the diodes in the rectifier with IGBTs, which significantly reduce harmonics and allow regenerated power to be fed back to the supply.

Another benefit of active front end drives is their ability to handle regenerative power. The IGBT rectifier design allows four-quadrant operation, meaning the motor can produce either positive or negative torque during either the forward or reverse motor rotation. When torque and motor rotations are in different directions the motor acts like a generator, and the power produced by the motor can be fed back into the electrical supply. This eliminates the need for large resistor banks to dissipate the regenerated energy and reduces costs by feeding the energy back to the line, where it can be reused.

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