Siemens SINAMICS V20 Drives Minimize Costs and Maximize Efficiency

When it comes to variable frequency drives, tradeoffs may need to be made. How much power do you need? How much space do you have? The  SINAMICS V20 family of AC drives might just be the answer to these typical questions.

These Siemens-produced, SINAMICS branded VFDs come in a variety of frame sizes and output ratings for when you need a low-power drive to smoothly start and stop a motor or to control speed and torque during operation of an increasing number of a basic motion sequences.

The SINAMICS V20 AC drive family is an economical, compact, rugged and reliable group of drives that bring versatility, and ease of use and installation to 40-hp and under plant and machinery construction, individual automation, and drive solution applications.


With seven frame sizes, the SINAMICS V20 can be individually adapted to the particular application or user requirements using various options such as an external Basic Operator Panel (BOP), connecting cable, filter, braking resistors, shielding, and more.

The power range is:

  • 0.12 kW to 30 kW (1/6 hp up to 40 hp).

The voltage range is:

  • 1AC 200V … 240V (–10% / +10%)
  • 3AC 380V … 480V (–15% / +10%)

The newest and smallest of the SINAMICS V20 family of drives are the FSAA and FSAB models that save more than 30% in mounting space compared to the previously smallest model, the SINAMICS’ FSA model (90 mm (3.5 in.) x 150 mm (6 in.)) . With a width of just 68 mm (2.7 in.) and a height of 142 mm (5.6 in.), the AA and AB models both have the same footprint, but different heatsink depths.

The SINAMICS V20 Quick Selection Guide can help yo determine the most appropriate V20 drive for your application.
The SINAMICS V20 Quick Selection Guide can help you determine the most appropriate V20 drive for your application.

The V20 family of rugged devices, which are IP20 rated and can be EMC filtered, are tailored for operating pumps, fans, compressors and conveyor belts as well as for basic drive applications in the process and manufacturing industries.

Ease of use and installation

One of the V20’S benefits is ease of installation. The units can be wall mounted, push through mounted for efficient cooling, and side-by-side mounted to reduce required cabinet space. Typically, drives need to be 2 in. apart for cooling purposes, but with heat sinks located judiciously to release heat through the top and bottom of the unit.

The unit itself is easy to use. A Parameter Loader makes it easy to program and speed up commissioning. This modular, plug-and-play device easily installs to the face of the drive. The device uses a memory card that allows more than 100 parameters to be installed such as motor specifications, voltage, current speed, application deceleration rate acceleration rate and other pertinent data, says Jovan Cetkovic, Motion Specialist with Steiner Electric.

Additionally, “cloning” is possible by installing the same parameter loader on different drives.

Without the parameter loader, users access a basic operator panel on the face of the drive. Utilizing the BOP, all parameters can be programmed giving the user full control of the drive in terms of speed and other factors.

In addition, there are terminals on the face of the drive that allow for direct wiring for analog I/O control.

The SINAMICS’ V20’s feature a Keep Running Mode that keeps the output load running even in the event of power fluctuations, overvoltage, overcurrent, or other power stability issues.

Energy savings is achieved in several ways. For instance, the SINAMICS V20 drive makes it easy to save money through the use of an ECO mode that ensures that the motor current is automatically adapted to the load state. In addition to that, the drive is capable of DC bus couplings such that a drive regenerating can share power with other drives.

The drive also features a Hibernation Mode that reduces energy consumption when the drive is not in active use.

It also features an integrated braking chopper from 7.5 kW to 30 kW (10 hp up to 40 hp). When a motor is de-energized and coming to a stop, it changes from a motor to a generator producing energy. Resistors dissipate energy so the VFD’s capacitors are not damaged. This power can also be used during drive regeneration.

The V20 drive family has a number of accessories that can be used. For instance, a new extension module is available to increase the number of inputs and outputs of the SINAMICS V20 400V converter.

Mounted onto the converter, the module provides 2 additional digital inputs and 2 relay outputs to the converter. The module increases functionality. For example, it can now be used for multi-pump control, where one V20 can control a maximum of four pumps.

Equipped with connection ports on its front- and backside, the module may be used in combination with other accessories of the SINAMICS V20 such as the BOP, the BOP interface, and the Smart Access web server.

Worldwide access
The SINAMICS V20 Smart Access webserver module option is mounted on the converter. It allows wireless commissioning and operation via smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
The SINAMICS V20 Smart Access webserver module option is mounted on the converter. It allows wireless commissioning and operation via smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

SINAMICS V20 Smart Access is a tiny drive-mounted web server module that turns a mobile device or laptop into a virtual operator panel, allowing it to commission, operate, diagnose, and maintain the AC drive.

An embedded graphical user interface (GUI) enables easy use of the SINAMICS V20 in every phase of operation.  It requires only a few steps to set-up and no installation or download of additional software is needed.  The onboard Quick Set-up Wizard provides users a fast and easy commissioning procedure, enabling all the following: motor data can be entered and checked, connection macros for digital inputs/outputs can be activated, application macros can be selected and activated for pumps, fans, compressors and other devices plus the common and frequently used parameters on the drive can be set for motor start, acceleration, deceleration, and min./max. speed.

For more information contact a Steiner application specialist at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

Elk Grove to Japan, Steiner Delivers

Imagine you’re sitting in your office, and your corporate headquarters contacts you and tells you they’ve had an emergency shutdown and they need you to get them some critical parts by the next day. But, you realize that you don’t have the parts in stock and besides, corporate headquarters is on the other side of the world more than 6,000 miles away.

What do you do?

The first thing you do is call your sales representative at Steiner Electric and ask for help. In this case, Matt Piekarczyk and Rich Meagher, both inside sales representatives, went into emergency order mode and ascertained that we had the needed parts. They then turned to Jose Gonzalez and Rigoberto Gonzalez in the warehouse department and Jim Boss in shipping to locate, box and prepare the parts for shipping. In all, 3 boxes of much-needed parts were transported.

“From sales to shipping to the customer, it was a group effort,” says Boss, “Even the customer had to create original labels and get them to us so that they could be shipped via FedEx for next day shipping to Japan.”

It is this type of effort, this desire to help a customer—no matter the challenging circumstances—that sets Steiner apart from other distributors. And, it is this effort, this willingness to go that extra mile (or in this case 6,000 miles), that keeps customers coming back to Steiner to help them with their business and supply needs.

In fact, a few days later, the customer, a reseller of industrial machinery and related equipment, placed another overseas order with us. This time, the deadline was not as immediate, but that doesn’t mean that the Steiner team didn’t go above and beyond again.

“Without being asked, we made sure that this order was shipped to Japan on heat-treated skids,” says Boss. Heat treated-skids are heated to a core temperature of 140 degrees for a minimum of 30 minutes to kill off any insects or larva that might be in the pallet. “The use of heat-treated skids should be routine for any company that ships out of the country, but some companies don’t do it,” he adds. “I know about it because of all the freight that I have shipped out of the country over the years.”

For help with any order a Steiner representative is always just a phone call away. If you are in need of emergency services call the 24-hour service line at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

Understanding The 5-Step Process to Mechanical Safety

With the increasing use of automation, requirements for protecting machinery and operators have evolved and become more complex. The improper use of machines can lead to safety hazards when the correct operating protocols are not followed. Thankfully, advancements in technology have allowed for integration of protection devices into the work process, helping to reduce safety risks and improving productivity.

In this blog we’ll define machine safety and take a look at the 5-Step Process to Safety, as well as look at ways of assessing risk, which was originally presented by Fortress Interlocks at Steiner’s 2016 Automation Technology Summer Symposium.

Defining Safety and Assessing Risk

Safety is the freedom from unacceptable risk as defined in IEC 62061 with respect to machinery operation. This provides a definition of safety in terms of risk, and makes clear the importance of assessing risk to achieve safety. [i]

Since the key term in the definition is “unacceptable risk”, a value on a range that determines the threshold between acceptable and unacceptable needs to be established. Various standards can provide guidance on how to determine when acceptable risk has been achieved. Keep in mind that acceptable risk may differ between organizations, so this value is not purely defined in any standard or methodology. The main takeaway is a threshold should be identified prior to starting a risk assessment.



We can also define risk in terms of the following equation.

The severity of possible damage + the probability that it will occur = risk in terms of the respective hazard.

To measure the probability, we would need to look at a few factors:

  • frequency and duration of exposure to the hazard
  • available options for avoiding the hazard
  • the probability of an event that can cause the damage to occur

Breaking Down the 5-Step Process to Safety

Step 1: Risk or Hazard Assessment – This initial step requires the limits of machinery to be determined. Next, the hazards are to be identified, followed by estimating and evaluating the risk. Once all these items have been established, if the risk has been adequately reduced, the first step is considered complete.


Step 2: Safety System Functional Requirements After assessing the risks, the next step identifies how the machine is supposed to operate in each mode of operation for each person that uses the machine. It identifies special modes such as safe-speed, zone control, etc. In other words, the second step is to confirm that the machines are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Step 3: Safety System Design and Verification – Evaluate the risks and select control measures for the machine. For instance, if the overall system stopping performance is greater than the access time, a prevention device such as an interlocking guard with guard locking can be added. When applied, opening of the guard shall be prevented unless all hazardous functions covered by the guard have stopped. The goal is to protect both the process and to protect people.

Step 4: Safety System Installation and Validation – Document all stages, design a validation plan, test the installation safety functions and record the results and issue documentation.

Step 5: Maintain and Improve Safety System – A study by the HSE found that more than 50% of all accidents occur during maintenance and machine modification, so the safety cycle process must be used during machine upgrades.


The 5-Step Process to Safety provides a framework for identifying potential machine operating risks and mitigating the occurrence of safety issues through preventative measures or other actions. The process is continuous as risk findings must be regularly reviewed. Once an action is taken to remedy an identified risk, that action must be monitored to confirm the potential risk remains at an acceptable level and no other issues have crept into the process that may have raised the risk level.

For more information on automation and machine safety and to speak with one of our application engineers please call 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

[i] “Why Do We Need Safety?” Henry Toal.: Fortress Interlocks, 2016. PPT.

Manufacturing Innovations

The Wisconsin Manufacturing and Technology Show is coming to Milwaukee from October 6-8, 2015. Since 1989, this 3-day conference has been the Midwest’s premier machine tool show, where the industry gathers to showcase the latest innovations in manufacturing and industrial metalworking. Featured events sprinkled over the length of the conference offer insights on various aspects of the industry strategies for incorporating 3D printing in both established and upcoming manufacturing environments.

However, it’s the dozens of exhibits on display that are the real stars of the show, including an exhibit featuring CribTrack

Visit us during the conference at booth #0538 to see our new CribTrack industrial CribTrackvending machine. This amazing yet simple tool tracking and storage system offers unprecedented security and efficiency in one cost-effective, easily maintained system. Inventory tracking and distribution of the items needed for workers to complete their daily assignments has never been easier.

CribTrack offers cameras for security, cameras that record every transaction and can be accessed from anywhere through a simple web-based interface. That kind of accountability will ensure reduced supply shrinkage. And because CribTrack has no motors or other moving parts to wear out, its energy efficient design is built for dependable, long-lasting service.CribTrack-Steiner

While you are at our CribTrack booth, don’t forget to spin the prize wheel for a chance to win a fun gift – including a shot at The Huffy Green Machine!huffy-green-machine

Steiner Electric representatives will also be stationed at booth #0135, where we will be on hand to exhibit how our Metalworking and Industrial Supply services can help reduce operating costs and maximize output efficiencies. Stop by to explore how we support the entire machine tool process. Our approach integrates the industry’s leading manufacturers and top products, which helps enable maximum productivity for our clients through process improvements and cost reductions. You’ll also find Castrol representatives at the booth with us to discuss the latest in industrial lubrication technology, and you can meet our friends from Memex, who will be offering demonstrations on Operating Equipment Effectiveness.metalworking-Steiner

We look forward to seeing you this week at the Wisconsin Expo Center in Milwaukee’s State Fair Park.

If you can’t make it, contact us for more information about our CribTrack industrial vending machine, including pricing and availability. Or find us at in order to see how we can help with all of your industrial metalworking and supply needs.