Exactly 20 years after inventing the first variable speed drive (VSD) compressor, Atlas Copco designed its own inverter for their VSD machines. The Neos is Atlas Copco’s first in-house designed inverter for GA oil-injected screw compressors. But why did a compressor builder decide to invent its own inverter?
There is one myth we should bust right away: the Neos wasn’t built because there is something wrong with the inverters from suppliers. Atlas Copco has been using off-the-shelf inverters successfully for years. Those components work fine, but then they work fine for all kinds of motors: those in pumps, fans, cranes, mixers, etc. And that brings us to the first point…
1. It is exactly what Atlas Copco’s GA VSD compressors need
The Neos is designed to fit Atlas Copco’s VSD compressors perfectly… and only Atlas Copco’s VSD compressors. Only 5% of the electric motors and inverters are used in compressors. This means we are not the main market for our inverter suppliers, nor the ideal application for their inverters.
Variable Speed Drive compressors have other needs than other machinery, like a constant torque, where the input power/input current varies with the speed. Compressors are a “heavy duty” application, whereas most electric motors serve lighter duty applications. Compressor builders often have to buy a larger-sized inverter to deal with that strain.
The Neos is exactly the workhorse our compressors want. It has everything a VSD compressor needs and nothing more. That brings us to the second point.
2. It’s the essential compressor drive: robust, compact, reliable
Off-the-shelf inverters come with lots of extra features: connections, communication and control modules and other superfluous options that are interesting for other applications than compressors. With the Neos we stripped the inverter back to its essentials, making it compact, reliable and completely integrated in our compressors. Instead of needless digital outputs and an extra control panel, engineers teamed the Neos up with Atlas Copco’s compressor controller, the Elektronikon® Mk 5 and made sure both interacted seamlessly.
Features that the Neos doesn’t have, are features that can’t break down. In other words: this simple, robust inverter comes together with excellent reliability. In fact, robustness and reliability were the starting points of the Neos design project.
3. It weathers through every condition
The Neos endured extensive testing and proved to be every bit as reliable as we designed to be. To test the Neos, we operated it in the dustiest, hottest and filthiest working conditions we could find. A warehouse for ores in Belgium, a ceramics factory in Bahrain… It can operate at continuous full load until 50°C ambient, 60°C de-rated. With more than 100 000 running hours on the counter, we can safely say the Neos passed all the tests. The Neos also kept running reliably thanks to its IP 5X rating enclosure protection, which means dust is kept away from sensitive electronics at all costs. Read more about IP rating on Wikipedia.
4. We will always have the right Neos on the shelf
Inverter drive suppliers sometimes phase a drive out and every time they do so, we have to qualify its successor from scratch and spare parts become hard to come by. With the Neos, Atlas Copco has the advantage of independent, full control over the availability of spare parts, now and in the future. In other words: even though the Neos has proven to be reliable, we have a suitable spare one any time you need it.
And it gets even better: if you have an “old” GA VSD compressor, we can upgrade it with the Neos. Contact your local customer center to find out more.
5. We designed the Neos because we can
Our knowledge of Variable Speed Drive inverters stretches back to 1994, when Atlas Copco pioneered the first VSD compressor. We brought all that experience to the drawing table and came up with a compact, reliable and sustainable inverter and without a doubt the best solution for our GA VSD oil-injected screw compressors.