Variable Frequency Drives and the Impact of IIoT – VFD Control Panels


April 6, 2021

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are electronic devices that manipulate electrical current in specific ways. In industrial settings, VFDs are used to funnel AC power, convert it into DC power, and temporarily store converted current until it is needed. VFDs are also an important component in IGBTs (insulated-gate bipolar transistors). In these devices, VFDs allow the rapid modulation of incoming and outgoing current. VFDs are an essential part of many industrial operations and provide a number of benefits that reduce the time and resources needed to perform operations while simultaneously increasing the safety of equipment and technicians in the area.

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is a growing influence on industrial operations. When combined with the convenience of VFD capabilities, industrial manufacturers can positively impact their daily operations in a variety of ways.

The Fundamentals of VFD Industrial Application

In industrial settings, VFDs are housed in a secure metal cabinet-style control panel unit. This housing protects delicate internal components from environmental factors like moisture, high heat, or corrosive elements. It also helps protect any personnel who happen to be in the room during an arc flash or another uncontrollable electrical surge. A closed control panel contains the heat and energy produced by these events, which can save lives and vital equipment found in the area.

Each VFD unit is designed specifically for the business and space for which it is intended. These are some of the capabilities VFD-outfitted panels offer in industrial manufacturing settings.

  •    –   Visual control. VFD units are equipped with displays and interfaces that allow operators to monitor conditions easily. In addition to monitor current flow and VFD operations, these interfaces can communicate with other connected devices and allow technicians to view the conditions and parameters of these components as well.
  •    –   Adjustable speed. VFDs can change motor speed to adjust the flow of current. This is useful for maintaining current flow to electronic equipment when power supplies are spotty or somewhat unpredictable.
  •    –   Power switching and protection. VFD panels are designed to shut off when current flow can’t be controlled to protect any connected equipment and internal components from excessive power surges. VFDs also protect technicians via sensor technology. When the unit detects that certain areas have been accessed, power is shut off to prevent technicians from injury.

VFDs are flexible technology that improves industrial operations in a variety of important ways.

The Role of VFDs in the Industrial Internet of Things

The internet of things is made up of a variety of WiFi-capable devices that are connected to a central network. In an industrial setting, this can include handheld scanners, computerized mobile workstations, smartphones with applications, and other electronic devices with access to a common pool of information. The IIoT benefits from the addition of VFDs in these ways.

  • Remote access. Technicians can monitor the conditions of projects and equipment from anywhere. Workers receive alerts more quickly, which means they can rapidly respond to problems and restore operations without time-consuming delays.

  • Multiple access points. The ability to access data and programs from multiple interfaces makes shift changes, sharing duties, and team operations run more smoothly.

  • Real-time monitoring. With internet-connected devices, technicians have up-to-the-minute data available at all times. This reduces the lag normally associated with recording and sharing information and helps manufacturers realize more efficient processes.


IIoT also enables strong predictive maintenance initiatives. The ability to constantly monitor conditions and parameters allows technicians to track trends that could indicate the need for intervention. That means they can fix things before they break and thus avoid downtime that could compromise production schedules.


The use of IIoT-enhanced VFDs allows industrial operations to reduce their average energy use and lower emissions. The VFD directs available current in a way that ensures the maximum use of available electricity. With the reduction in wasted energy, operations naturally produce less CO2 and other harmful emissions. VFD is also a quieter choice when compared to other current control devices like generators.


IndustLabs manufactures VFD control panels specifically designed for your operation’s specifications. Our devices have been proven to reduce CO2 emissions, lower maintenance costs, and control ambient noise. We can connect your unit to your IIoT to increase remote capabilities, enhance the collection of useable data, and control downtime.



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