What are Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) Cables?

To understand Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) cables, the first step is to look at VFDs themselves. VFDs (also called Adjustable Frequency Drives and Variable Voltage/Variable Frequency Drives) are adjustable speed drives utilized in electro-mechanical systems. A VFD allows users to control voltage and input frequency to adjust torque and AC motor speed.

It is true that VFDs and VFD cables are not the only option for powering industrial equipment. However, they have a number of advantages over their competitors. The precision control enabled by a VFD stops energy from being wasted. The efficiency of using a VFD allows machinery work smarter instead of harder, reducing wear and tear so motors last longer. This also makes the equipment more reliable overall and reduces the amount of maintenance and downtime users will have to deal with.

VFDs can be used in a wide range of applications, from mid-sized machinery to large-scale equipment in industrial environments. Machines that utilize VFDs require high voltage lines to maintain their energy usage and meeting those extreme requirements is where VFD cables come in.

Why use VFD Cables?

Being made for industrial use, VFD cables are very heavy-duty and built to stand up to harsh conditions. VFD systems are prone to voltage spikes that VFD cables are designed to withstand. High voltage spikes can exceed the voltage rating of a cable, potentially damaging the cable as well as the equipment if using a non-VFD cable. Additionally, voltage spikes are more common on longer cables and can cause electrical interference with other nearby equipment. VFD cables are specifically built to counteract these issues and stop the problems where they start.

VFD cables come in a few different varieties depending on the application. Primarily, they are categorized by the voltage level they are meant to handle. The three most common ratings are 600V, 1000V, and 2000V. The higher the voltage rating, the thicker the insulation inside the cable.

Shielding is another key factor with VFD cables. Most types of cables are shielded to protect themselves from outside interference. For VFD cables the opposite is also true; VFD cables are made to contain electrical interference and protect other cables from themselves. VFD cables naturally have grounding wires, but the shielding is just as critical due to the extreme voltage levels.

Variable Frequency Drive cable
VFD cable
High voltage

VFD Cable Considerations

For all the advantages that VFD systems provide, there are a number of factors to consider when using them. Selecting the right cable for the job will ensure that everything stays up and running smoothly.

The biggest concern facing VFD cables is the electrical interference they generate. With modern VFD cables this is not an issue due to shielding and other protections, but if you have older VFD equipment this could still present a problem. Even with modern VFD cables, this can still be an issue if the cable is not grounded correctly.

VFD cables work by converting AC currents to DC and then back to AC. Modern VFDs are more than able to handle these conversions, but they can still be rough on the VFD cables. Choosing a cable that is not rated for the stress that will be put on it can result in damage or even equipment failure.

The longer a VFD cable runs, the worse the voltage spikes it experiences will be. This problem can be remedied by using a cable with a higher voltage rating than what is technically needed. A 1000V cable used on a system that only needs 600V, for example, will give the cable a bigger buffer against voltage spikes. With that extra protection, the chance of damage to the cable or other equipment goes down.

Get Started with VFD Cables Today

ShowMeCables has a number of VFD cables that are available now. Our VFD cables are available in a variety of voltages and AWGs. Each and every type is available in 100’, 250’, 500’, and 1000’ rolls and can also be cut by the foot for any custom length that best suits your setup.

Anytime you need a quote for any cabling requirements, you can reach our sales team directly at 888-519-9505 or sales@showmecables.com. Our experts will have a quote prepared and over to you within one business day.