PowerFlex 40 vs PowerFlex 40p

The Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® is a family of Compact-class AC drives developed by Rockwell Automation, to deliver cost-effective solutions for simple system integration or standalone machine-level control applications. In general, PowerFlex drives provide extreme application flexibility, linear scalability, and excellent performance while simplifying the management of workload infrastructure.

PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives are the most compacts and cost-effective members of the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® series of AC drives. They are a general-purpose class of AC drives, which provide a compact package to optimize application versatility and panel space. They are designed for ease of use, providing users with powerful and dynamic motor speed control in a compact, space-saving design. This article seeks to provide an in-depth comparison of the features and control capabilities of PowerFlex 40 and PowerFlex 40P AC drives.

PowerFlex 40 Overview 

Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® 40 drives are an upgrade of the PowerFlex® 4 series (but not 4M), providing higher power ratings and adding Sensorless Vector Control (SVC). AC drives in the PowerFlex® 40 series are available in horsepower ratings of 0.5 to 15 HP (0.4 to 11 kW), and they can handle multiple input voltages from 100 to 600 Volts AC. In terms of voltage classes, the available input power ratings for PowerFlex 40 drives are as follows:

  • 100 to 120Volts AC: 0.5…1.5 Hp or 0.4…1.1 kW. Rated current of 2.3…33 A (Amperes) 
  • 200 to 240Volts AC: 0.5…10 Hp or 0.4…7.5 kW. Rated current 2.3…33 A 
  • 380 to 480V AC: 0.5…15 Hp or 0.4…11 kW. Rated current 1.4…24 A 
  • 500 to 600V AC: 1…15 Hp or 0.75…11 kW.  Rated current 1.7…19 A 
  • Single phase: 100…120V; 200…240V 

These drives can tolerate electrical frequencies ranging from 48 Hz (Hertz) to 63 Hz.  

Note: The Allen-Bradley drive code for PowerFlex® 40 series is 22B… 

PowerFlex 40 drives feature Sensorless Vector Control (SVC) to meet motor torque demands at low speeds. SVC is an improved motor control method used to maintain torque at low motor speeds, thereby providing improved motor performance over the conventional Volts per Hertz (V/Hz) control method. Also, with a variety of flexible enclosures and simple programming options, PowerFlex 40 drives are easy to install and configure.

PowerFlex 40 drives are also available with packaged drive functions, which provide additional power, improved control, and more enclosure options over the standardized drives. The available packaged drive options for PowerFlex 40 drives include:

  • Additional power options include input fuses, circuit breakers, bypass, and fused disconnect. 
  • Transformer and output relay control options. 
  • Speed potentiometer, status pilot lights, hand/OFF/Auto-Selector switch, and door-mounted Human Interface Module (HIM). 

PowerFlex 40P Overview 

PowerFlex® 40P drives are based on the PowerFlex® 40 series, and they share common drive options and accessories with the latter. Essentially, the “P” in PowerFlex 40P is a short-form for “Precision”. The AC drives within this series are designed to provide closed-loop control for applications requiring Category 3 Safe Torque-off option, in a compact and cost-effective package.

These drives are available in power ratings ranging from 0.4…11 kW (0.5 to 15 Hp) and in input voltage classes of 240, 480, and 600 Volts AC. In terms of voltage classes, the available input power ratings for PowerFlex 40P AC drives are as follows:

  • 100 to 120V AC: Not Available (N/A) 
  • 200 to 240Volts AC: 0.5…10 Hp (Horsepower) or 0.4…7.5 kW. Rated current of 2.3…33 A (Amperes) 
  • 380 to 480V AC: 0.5…15 Hp or 0.4…11 kW. Rated current 1.4…24 A 
  • 500 to 600V AC: 1…15 Hp or 0.75…11 kW. Rated current 1.7…19 A 
  • Single-phase: 65% derating of the drive’s rated current. 

The PowerFlex 40P AC drives can tolerate electrical frequencies ranging from 48 Hz (Hertz) to 63 Hz.  

Note: The Allen-Bradley drive code for PowerFlex® 40P series is 22D… 

What Differentiates a PowerFlex 40P from a PowerFlex 40? 

If you’re selecting either a PowerFlex 40 or 40P AC drive, be sure to always evaluate the hardware and control differences between the two drives. In this section, we’ll look at some of their primary differences. 

A) Motor Control

The default motor control setting for both PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives is Sensorless Vector Control (SVC) mode. The two AC drives can also be programmed for Volts per Hertz (V/Hz) operation mode, as well as process PID control. Moreover, both drives also support Slip Compensation control mode, with PowerFlex 40P supporting either Slip Compensation or Encoder Trim.

The SVC model is preferred because it provides very high levels of torque and exceptional motor speed regulation across the entire speed range of the PowerFlex drive. The operating speed range for PowerFlex 40 drives is 60:1, while PowerFlex 40P drives operate within a speed range of 80:1.

B) Feedback Devices

PowerFlex 40 drives provide Open Loop speed regulation only. They include an Autotune feature, which allows each AC drive in the series to adapt to the individual characteristics of a given motor. Thus, there are no feedback devices available with PowerFlex 40 series.

In contrast, the PowerFlex 40P series is configurable for Closed Loop motor control with either position or speed feedback. This provides basic position control, improved speed regulation, and other pulse inputs for motor control. The feedback devices available with PowerFlex 40P drives include (i) Incremental Encoder Feedback; (ii) Pulse Train Input. Therefore, with these drives, it’s possible to achieve speed control without and with encoder feedback.

C) Drive Configuration

Both PowerFlex 40 and PowerFlex 40P drives can operate in Source (SRC) or sink (SNK) mode. In Source (SRC) mode, inputs are active if pulled to either internal or external +24V DC. In Sink (SNK) mode, inputs are active when pulled to internal DIG COM.  

The default control scheme in both PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives is the SRC mode, with a jumper installed between I/O terminals 1 and 11. So, the Stop terminal will be jumpered to I/O terminal 11, allowing starting from the drive’s keypad. If you change the SRC control scheme to SNK mode, you should then remove the jumper between I/O terminals 11 and 1, and place it between I/O terminals 1 and 4. 

D) I/O Terminal Configuration

Both PowerFlex 40P and PowerFlex 40 AC drives include a fixed type I/O terminal, with different I/O configurations. 

For PowerFlex 40 series, the I/O terminal is configured with the following: 

  • Two (2) Analog Inputs: One Unipolar, differential (current and voltage) output, and one 10-bit Bipolar, single-ended (current and voltage) output. The two analog outputs are independently isolated from the rest of the drive’s I/O. They can also be toggled between through a digital input.   
  • Four (4) fully Programmable and Three (3) Dedicated/Fixed, 24V Sink or Source digital inputs. They provide the drive’s application versatility.  
  • One (1) Analog Output: This is a Dual In-line Package (DIP) switch, selectable for either current output (0…20 mA) or voltage output (0…10V). It’s a scalable, 10-bit analog output that is suitable as a speed reference for another drive or for metering. 
  • Two (2) Opto Coupled digital outputs and One (1) Form C Relay output. These digital outputs can be used to indicate a variety of logic conditions of the motor and the drive.  

For PowerFlex 40P series, the fixed I/O terminal is configured with the following: 

  • Two (2) Semi-Programmable and Five (5) Fully-Programmable, 24V sink or source digital inputs. 
  • One (1) Programmable Form C Relay output and Two (2) Opto Coupled digital outputs 
  • One Analog Input: Either One (1) Bipolar, single-ended (current and voltage) 10-bit analog input, or One (1) Unipolar, differential (current and voltage) analog output. 
  • One (1) Analog Output, selectable for either voltage output (0…10V), or current output (0…20 mA). 

Note: For control of the digital inputs, the PowerFlex 40 and 40P AC drives can both use the external or internal 24V power supply.

E) Communications

PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives support integral RS-485 communications. With integrated RS-485 communications, the AC drives in both series can be used in a multi-drop network configuration. RS-485 is a standard for serial data transmission, which defines the signal level on a given communication protocol.

Modbus RTU protocol is commonly used when implementing RS-485 communications. In PowerFlex 40 drives, a Serial Converter Module (SCM) is used to provide connectivity to any controller that has a DF1 port. But you can eliminate the SCM if the controller acts as an RTU Master. Thus, PowerFlex 40P and PowerFlex 40 drives are compatible with any device acting as an RTU Master, which supports standard 06 and 03 RTU commands.

In addition, for flexible configuration and high performance capabilities, you can configure a network using PowerFlex 40 or PowerFlex 40P drives with optional communication cards. PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives are compatible with the following optional communication modules:

  • EtherNet/IP™ 
  • ControlNet™ 
  • BACnet 
  • LonWorks® 
  • DeviceNet™ 

Note: You can achieve a multi-drive solution using a single PowerFlex 40 or PowerFlex 40P DeviceNet™ option, with the ability to allow a maximum of five (5) AC drives to reside on a single node.

F) Interface Devices

These are the Human Interface Modules (HIMs) and operator interfaces, used for programming and configuring the drives. PowerFlex 40P drives consist of an integral display and scroll/fault reset button, which allow an operator to modify display parameters and reset the AC drive whenever a fault occurs. The drives also include a 4-digit LED display with 10 additional LED indicators, which provides an intuitive display of the drive status and other relevant information. PowerFlex 40 drives can also include an optional remote HIM or a PC interface for programming.

On the other hand, PowerFlex 40 drives include an integral local keypad that provides unconventional operation using local control keys and a potentiometer. These drives also include a 4-digit LED display, and an optional remote Human Interface Module (HIM).

In addition, both PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives can operate using software. The two software are development environments for creating HMI (Human-Machine Interface) applications, commonly referred to as HMI programming. Moreover, operators can monitor, program and control both PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives.

G) Programming and Operation

Programming of PowerFlex 40P drives is achieved through the use of an external Human Interface Module (HIM). These drives can also be programmed via the resident DSI™ (Display Serial Interface) connection and PC-based software programming tools. The integral RS-485 communications can also be used for PC-based drive programming.

Note: The 10 most commonly used application parameters for programming PowerFlex 40P drives are held in the Basic Program Group. While the common programming parameters shared with PowerFlex 40 drives are contained in the Advanced Program Group. You can also find additional position control and fiber applications parameters in the Enhanced Program Group.

In addition, NEMA Type 4X remote and NEMA Type 1 hand-held LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) keypads are also included in PowerFlex 40P drives, to provide additional control and programming flexibility. The two keypads feature a CopyCat function that’s popular in Allen-Bradley PowerFlex drives.

Similarly, the programming of PowerFlex 40 drives is greatly simplified via internal RS-485 communications with a Serial Converter Module, used for connecting to controllers with a DF1 port. And by using PC programming tools. Also, the 10 most commonly used application parameters in PowerFlex 40 drives are grouped together in the Basic Program Group. This makes programming such drives fast and easy.

Moreover, a NEMA/UL Type 1 hand-held Liquid Crystal Display keypad and a NEMA/UL Type 4X remote keypad are included in PowerFlex 40 drives. They both feature the popular CopyCat function, providing additional control and programming flexibility.

H) Packaging and Mounting Options

Panel and DIN Rail Mounting: In PowerFlex 40P drives, virtual snap installation can be done via a DIN rail mounting feature on B frame drives. On the contrary, in PowerFlex 40 drives, virtual snap installation is done using the DIN rail mounting feature on A and B frame drives. Panel mounting feature is also available in both PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives, providing additional installation flexibility.

PowerFlex 40P drives allow for panel mount NEMA 4/IP66 and NEMA 1/IP30 enclosure types using Flange/Plate drives. Plate mount drives are the most preferred for reduction of the overall enclosure size, based on a 75% cutback in enclosed Watts. Flange mount drives are available with PowerFlex 40 series, and they also are used to reduce overall enclosure size. 

For Environmental Ratings, an IP66/NEMA/UL Type 4X/12 indoor enclosure is available for mounting PowerFlex 40 drives directly in their operating environment. This enclosure type is UL Listed for dirt and dust resistance, and tolerating high-pressure water spray. It’s also NSF Certified for compliance with international food-grade equipment requirements.

Additional environmental ratings can also be provided in both PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives through an optional IP30/NEMA/UL Type 1 conduit box. This conduit box can easily be adapted to IP20/NEMA/UL Type Open standard ratings required for PowerFlex 40 and 40P drives.

Zero Stacking™ Mounting: In PowerFlex 40P drives, this mounting option is allowed for a maximum of 40°C ambient temperatures, to minimize the usage of the valuable panel space. It is also permitted for 50°C ambient temperatures when there’s little spacing between the drives. Moreover, all PowerFlex 40P drives include external filters that meet EN5501, Class A, and B EMC standards.

Similarly, Zero Stacking™ in PowerFlex 40 drives is allowable for ambient temperatures of up to 40 °C, to save on the valuable panel space. It is also permitted for 50 °C ambient temperatures if the spacing between the drives is minimal. Also, all PowerFlex 40 drive ratings include external filters that provide compliance with Class A and B EMC requirements.

In addition, integral filtering is available on all PowerFlex 40 drives with 230V single-phase ratings. This integral filtering option provides a cost-effective way of meeting EN55011, Class A, and B EMC standards.

I) Available Safety Options

PowerFlex 40P drives are available with the DriveGuard® Safe Torque-Off option. This safety feature is certified to meet the requirements for PL d and Category 3 as per EN ISO 13849-1, as well as the safety requirements for SIL 2 according to IEC 61508 and EN/IEC 61800-5-2. If the Safe Torque-Off option is used with other safety components, it provides a safety function that prevents torque generation in the motor(s) being powered by the PowerFlex 40P drive.  

On the contrary, the DriveGuard® Safe Torque-Off function is not available with the PowerFlex® 40 drives. Instead, these drives provide safety functionalities through external safety modules. Thus, the components in a PowerFlex 40 drive system should be selected and installed appropriately to attain the desired level of safeguarding. 

J) Applications

PowerFlex 40 AC drives are designed to provide end-users, machine builders, and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) with performance-enhancing and cost-effective motor control solutions in an easy-to-use, compact package. PowerFlex® 40 AC drives are often used for speed control in a variety of industrial applications such as in material handling systems, machine tools, conveyors, pumps, and fans.

Similarly, PowerFlex® 40P AC drives are designed to provide cost-effective alternatives for basic position control and improved speed regulation, to meet the global OEMs and end-user demands for flexibility, ease of use, affordability, and space savings. These drives are typically utilized in material handling systems (diverters and smart conveyors), packaging systems (packing machines and Palletizers/De-Palletizers), and fiber-spinning machines.

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