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AC Motors and Controls | High Efficiency at an Affordable Price

All factory automation involves some sort of moving machinery, and the most common source of that motion is an electric motor.  Whether you need an AC or DC motor – or if your application requires speed, position or even torque control – there is a motor and control technique to provide that motion.  Simple systems use on/off control (sometimes called “across the line” control), some need an AC or DC drive or a soft starter.  More sophisticated systems may even require PID or another feedback loop for extremely tight control.  Whatever the application requires – Automation Direct has you covered!

Knowing which technology to use for each application is critical for cost effective and efficient control of your factory processes.  Big savings are possible when you find the right equipment at the best price while also saving in other areas like technical support, shipping costs, fast delivery, warranties and more. This is why AutomationDirect works so hard to provide the best prices in the industry for the best quality products, along with award-winning FREE technical support, a vast library of training videos and documentation, the best customer service in the industry, FREE and FAST 2-day shipping for orders $49 and over, and 30-day money-back guarantee on practically every product we sell. Go ahead, we invite you to check out our videos, blogs, documentation and more for our motors, motor controls, soft-starters, drives, motion control systems and so many more products that help you move, push, spin, shift, convey, rotate, and control each of your automation challenges.

Looking for even more content? Click on our Product tab to see more articles on AC motors and controls!

AC Motors and ControlsApplicationApplication StoriesAutomation NotebookDrivesEducation/DIYEnclosures & AccessoriesIndustryIssue 33 - 2015Learning ResourcesMachine ControlMachine ToolMotorsNotebook IssueProductUser SolutionsVariable Speed Drives

Converting a Mill/Drill and Installing a VFD

Several years ago I purchased a Wadkin lathe made in England in late 1964. It is equipped with a very special motor that is 220V, three-phase and 50Hz. Because of the special design of the motor, it has a long extended shaft that carries the four sheave pulley, and because I do not have three-phase…
AC Motors and ControlsProductVariable Speed Drives

How to Select a Variable Frequency Drive

It may be tempting to size a variable frequency drive (VFD) based on horsepower alone. Did you know there are six other factors you should take into consideration to ensure that you specify the correct AC drive for your application? Six Factors to Consider When Choosing a VFD: Full Load Amperage Overload Application Type Altitude…
+Tech TopicsAC Motors and ControlsLearning ResourcesMotion ControlMotorsOnline OnlyProductVariable Speed Drives

Selecting Motors for Industrial Applications

Efficient use of motors is always important, but there are many other things to consider when specifying an electric motor. Mechanical and environmental considerations are on the list, as is the application and operation. All of these factors are important, but the application is where the selection process should start. How to Select a Motor…
AC Motors and ControlsCompany TopicsNewsProductVariable Speed Drives

Variable Frequency Drive Video Tutorials

Have you seen the latest Automation Video Cookbook Chapter? There are over 40 videos showing you step by step how to use all the amazing features of the GS4 Variable Frequency Drive and more being added all the time! Want a quick start with the bare minimum info you need to get up and running…
AC Motors and ControlsEquipment SafetyLearning ResourcesMotor ControlsOnline BlogOnline OnlyProduct

AC Motor On/Off Controls | Automation Notes

Most control systems have to make things move, and that usually involves motors. Lifting, pumping, robotics, conveyors, fans – pretty much everything uses a motor of some kind. General purpose one- or three-phase AC motors are great for simple on/off systems; Inverter-duty motors are specifically designed for operation with variable frequency drives or VFDs. General…
AC Motors and ControlsIssue 47 -2022MotorsProduct

What is VFD Safe Torque Off, and How Does it Improve Safety?

The safe torque off function built-in to modern VFDs significantly improves the integration of emergency stops. Kevin Kakascik, Technical Marketing Engineer with AutomationDirect, wrote an article for the May-June 2021 issue of Industrial Equipment News. The article, titled Motor Drive Safe Torque Off Improves Equipment Safety, explains the capability and how to use it. Here’s…
+Tech TopicsAC Motors and ControlsLearning ResourcesOnline OnlyProductVariable Speed Drives

To VFD or Not to VFD

You’ve probably seen and read way too many articles telling you to use variable frequency drives on your AC motors to save energy, reduce maintenance and lengthen motor life. This is not one of those articles. Instead, we’re going to show you just how to calculate whether or not a VFD makes sense for your…
AC Motors and ControlsMotor ControlsMotorsProduct

Overview of AC Motor Control Options

Most automatic controls involve AC motor control in some way, especially in factory automation. Applications such as pumps, fans, robotics, and conveyors use motors. Whether general-purpose 3-phase ac motors, which are great for simple on/off systems, or the inverter-duty motors specifically designed for operation with variable frequency drives (VFDs), one could say that motors are ubiquitous…
+Tech TopicsAC Motors and ControlsLearning ResourcesMotor ControlsMotorsOnline BlogProduct

How to Choose a General Purpose Motor vs. Inverter-Duty Motor

General purpose motors have been around for many years. They are the workhorse of almost every industry. An inverter-duty motor is a much newer concept that became necessary as motors began to be driven by VFDs (inverters or AC drives). An inverter duty motor can withstand the higher voltage spikes produced by all VFDs (amplified…
AC Motors and ControlsLearning ResourcesProductVariable Speed DrivesWhite PapersWhitepapers

Top 10 Tips: Specifying VFDs | White Paper

VFDs can significantly extend the life of motors and cut operating costs, but selecting the right unit is critical to achieving these benefits. This White Paper provides detailed information, such as determining load and braking requirements, to help users choose the right VFD. It also explains how to maximize benefits through various communication options and best operating…
+Tech TopicsAC Motors and ControlsAutomation NotebookLearning ResourcesMotor ControlsProduct

How to Wire a Motor Starter

A motor starter is a combination of devices used to start, run, and stop an AC induction motor based on commands from an operator or a controller. In North America, an induction motor will typically operate at 230V or 460V, 3-phase, 60 Hz and has a control voltage of 115 VAC or 24 VDC. Several…
AC Motors and ControlsLearning ResourcesMotorsOnline BlogProduct

How Do AC Motors Work?

AC motors are electric motors driven by alternating current (AC). AC motors are widely used in industry, primarily due to their high efficiency, and their ability to produce constant torque up to the rated speed. AC Motor Types The two most widely used types of AC motors are induction motors and synchronous motors. How AC…
+Tech TopicsAC Motors and ControlsApplicationAutomation NotebookCover StoriesEnergy/UtilitiesIndustryIssue 4 – 2005Learning ResourcesManufacturingNotebook IssueProductVariable Speed Drives

AC Drives Focused on Energy Conservation

Today, energy conservation and cost-cutting solutions have become a major focus in the manufacturing sector. Energy costs continue to increase and the extreme growth in China is contributing to rising costs in other areas of goods, including steel and coal. Managers of manufacturing facilities are faced with many questions regarding energy conservation and efficiency. They…
+Tech TopicsAC Motors and ControlsLearning ResourcesMotor ControlsOnline OnlyProduct

How to Select a Soft Starter for Your Motor

What may seem to be a simple task of selecting a soft starter for your motor may be a more demanding task than first meets the eye. “I just need to know the HP and Voltage to pick the correct one, isn’t that right?”

Check out this article from Pumps and Systems about the added benefits of a VFD and find out if it’s right for your application. Read more.