According to Steve Homan with ECO Washlink Systems, variable frequency drives (VFDs) “are a necessity at any wash.” They help minimize the waste of electricity and they help owners and operators dial in equipment.

Simply put, VFDs allow owners to have control over how a motor is being run. Here, a controller will tell the VFD when and how to do certain things. In this instance, the drives will change the motor speed, and it is the controller telling the drive what to do. Homan likens the relationship to that of a brain and a hand. The controller is the brain, and the VFD is the hand.

Rob Miller, lead system designer for DRB Systems Inc., says previously carwash owners put VFDs on every wash component. Now “really good operators” are being more selective and finding the proper places for VFDs.

Now operators can control what speed their motors are operating at, and just dropping a motor from 60 to 50 hertz can provide significant results, Miller says. When the next vehicle comes through, the running motors can be turned back up to high speed.

VFDs drive efficiencies on blowers and can even be called upon to control the speed of tunnel conveyors, according to Miller. With conveyors, lower speed often equals lower power consumption.