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What is a soft starter?

March 1st 2023

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A soft starter is a piece of motion control hardware that can be used to limit the amount of inrush current being drawn by an electric motor whilst it is getting up to its nominal RPM.

You would find a soft starter in a facility or plant that uses AC electrical motors in industries such as automotive, energy and pharmaceuticals. 

Siemens SIRIUS Motor Soft Starters

A manufacturer might use a soft starter to regulate the torque (voltage) and RPM (Hz) entering a servo motor to help distribute the load during the power-up and power-down processes.

Sometimes, especially on motors with a high inertia-load, the power-up phase can be demanding and put intense pressure on the motor, its touch-points and other plant resources such as power supply.

AC Motor torque load curve

A soft starter will protect the motor from any of the aforementioned threats, increasing the motor’s lifespan and reducing overall equipment wear and maintenance.

You might use a soft starter if you were looking to save on maintenance costs or meet environmental goals.

If you required more complexity from your soft starter, you could instead invest in a variable-speed drive (VSD). A VSD can also control torque and RPM curves on startup but covers more complex patterns and cycles too.

Mitsubishi Servo Drives

Daily, Foxmere sells and repairs industrial automation and control equipment for a number of key brands, including Danfoss, ABB, Siemens and Allen-Bradley so, if you want to know more about soft starters or VSDs or, if you are simply looking to make a purchase, please contact one of our team on +44 (0)1922 349 999 or via [email protected]

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