Motor Commander; the excitation and protection solution developed and manufactured by VEO in partnership with the Vaasa-based Arcteq, and the corresponding solution for generators, Generator Commander, helped VEO increase its market share to 75% of the Finnish excitation and synchronous machine protection market in 2017.

Excitation and protection functions have not been previously combined in one device and this innovative solution makes it possible to replace several old devices at the end of their life cycle with two small units.  Pulp and paper manufacturers Stora Enso, were among the first customers to order the new solution just before the start of 2017 and this autumn the company is set to deploy the final unit included in its order.

Essential functionality in one small package 

Many industrial processes use giant motors which can, in turn, have significant effects on the plant’s electrical network and its operation. For a motor to run accurately and safely, it needs to be “commanded” by an excitation and protection solution. The excitation of large motors is subject to strict requirements, as starting up the motor creates a significant drop in voltage in the network, which could potentially disrupt the operations of the entire plant. Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) is the basic control setting of the Motor Commander, with reactive power control as an additional setting. This keeps voltage fluctuations under control during motor start-up and where multiple high-power motors are connected to the same power network, the Commander-controlled synchronous machine can be configured to support the motor starting up next to it and compensate for the drop in voltage.  According to Sales Manager Hannu Erkkilä, one of the solution’s developers and the sales manager in charge of VEO’s excitation sales, the solution has been well received: “Our customers’ engineers are usually all business when they come for a factory test, but when they realise what we’ve packed in our little technical box, you can see the excitement on their faces,” Erkkilä says.

At Stora Enso’s Anjala plant, the VEO Motor Commander has been connected to a giant 8 MW synchronous motor that runs Defibrators and Pulp Grinders. The old and complex pieces of excitation equipment for which no direct replacements are available were removed from two cabinets and replaced by the Motor Commander. The Commander was installed in the cabinet on a VEO base plate and the relay unit was installed on the cabinet door. Equipment that used to take up two cabinets’ worth of space now fits easily in one.

"Now our sales of Commanders are significantly higher than those of traditional solutions."

Innovation saves time and speeds up deliveries

In the past, the biggest problem with excitation and protection solutions was that the systems were assembled from different components supplied by different manufacturers. With this solution, both the drive unit manufactured by VEO and the protective relay unit manufactured by Arcteq, can easily be replaced at the end of the 25-year lifespan. “One of the advantages of this solution is that it only requires a single programming tool, which makes testing easier. Installation is also remarkably simple compared to traditional technology,” Erkkilä explains.

VEO’s lead time for delivering the solution is approximately half of the usual lead time or about six weeks.

“During that time, the customer can also take advantage of unexpected downtime for the installation of the solution,” Erkkilä adds.

Jobs and excitation expertise secured 

The product has been on the market for just over a year, and VEO has already closed major deals for excitation solutions that extend several years ahead. The order book for this year includes orders from several customers in Finland and Norway.

“We have secured orders until 2020, which ensures jobs for VEO’s excitation experts in Vaasa and Seinäjoki for years to come. We have also increased our excitation resources by recruiting three new people after our record-breaking success in 2017,” Erkkilä says.

“In addition to Commanders, we sold several excitation solutions based on traditional technology last year. But now our sales of Commanders are significantly higher than those of traditional solutions,” Erkkilä concludes.

More information:

Hannu Erkkilä, Sales Manager, Excitation, +358 40 564 3328,

See a video of Motor Commander: