Drive technology is always changing to meet the industry’s greater need for efficiency and control. Edward Tom, the drives product manager for Yaskawa America’s drives and motion division, stopped by a recent episode of MPT’s podcast, The Efficiency Point, to discuss his company’s recently released GA500 Industrial Microdrive and why users need not be intimidated by high-tech drives.

MPT: What’s the history of the GA500 design and where does it branch off from earlier Yaskawa products?

Edward Tom: The GA500 actually has a pretty long lineage going back. But just starting more with the recent one, it does replace our current product, and what it does is take its main core items, the ones that we feel are great benefits, great design points for it. But where it really branches off is by adding to it, making it easier to use for customers and more user friendly. Also when it comes to just the operation of a habit so that if a person needs to interface with it later on and do any troubleshooting, it makes that easy for them as well. So the biggest thing with it is that, when compared to its predecessor, it’s something we like to say is easier to use, it has more capabilities built into it in terms of its control portion, and also an expanded horsepower range. So the GA500 is pushing the limits of what would be considered a microdrive.

MPT: Who would be the target audiences for the GA500?

Edward Tom: The target audience for the GA500 is any industrial application, so industrial pumping applications of that sort as well. And what it’s really intended to do is to help make it easier for people to interface with it. The first thing we want to do is make sure the drive relieves some of the tension that some people might have—even if it’s their first time interfacing with the device. A lot of times, some people may look at that black box and kind of freeze up a little bit. And we want to make sure that when they do take a look at it, they have the information and they feel comfortable with it. So that’s one of the main things we wanted to try to address with it.

What we’ve learned is that, a lot of times, users kind of look at it and if it’s completely new, they really are just scared. I think that’s not uncommon, and you don’t know how to start or you’re afraid of breaking it, we’ll say. So eliminating that fear was one of the big things we wanted to do. 

MPT: Which industries present the problems this product will solve?

Edward Tom: I mean, in VFDs and just drives in general, one of the two of the things that we offer is the energy savings aspect of it, being able to run at whatever speed that an application needs to as well as also lower the maintenance portion. When you are able to vary the speed much more on electrical standpoint versus mechanical, what you now do is also eliminate some of the maintenance that’s associated with having the mechanical components in there. 

So a lot of it really is intended to make daily use easier—simplify a lot of the systems that are out there so that there’s not that higher complexity and there’s less to worry about, whether it be from the beginning of the design phase with someone creating the machine all the way to the end user having it installed at their at their facility.


To listen to an extended version of this interview, be sure to subscribe to MPT’s podcast, The Efficiency Point

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