QUOTE(MaVericK @ Oct 31 2006, 03:28 AM)
No comments? what is your take on this technology?
This is actually a very old technology. GE used to call them Amplistat Starters, Westinghouse called them MagAmp starters. The basic technology was invented in the 1920's and they were used up to and through WWII for motor controls until the SCR based soft starters became cheaper and more reliable, then they completely died out. The technology itself continued on as a component in Switch Mode power Supplies until just a few years ago. But as motor starters they were expensive and complicated, using vacuum tubes and other amplifier technology that made them somewhat unreliable. This new incarnation is likely a solid state version which may have overcome some of those problems, I don't know.
Usually when a technology dies in the marketplace there is more than one reason and if big companies with vast R&D resources like GE and Westinghouse chose to abandon it, then there must have been something they knew that caused them to move to SCR based products.
The problem I see with this now is that it is only made in one place, which limits the accessibility of support and competition. If it is a good technology, I would expect others to be jumping all over it. I first heard of this brand of starter in 2003 and as yet there is still only one manufacturer. Back when I used to work for a competitor of theirs I went up against them in India and the Mid East a few times. Even though their pricing appeared lower at the outset, they tended to leave a lot of things out, such as the necessary switchgear, protection etc., so when the entire package was considered they ended up being more expensive than solid state.