In electrical engineering, optimising performance, reducing wear and tear, and enhancing the efficiency of electrical systems are paramount. Beta Power, a pioneering technology leader in the UK, offers a range of innovative solutions, including ABB softstarters, which play a crucial role in achieving these goals. Join the experts at Beta Power Engineering as we explore the applications and benefits of ABB soft starters in various industries and settings.

ABB softstarters

What is an ABB Softstarter?

Before delving into their applications, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental concept of soft starters. ABB Softstarters are advanced electronic devices designed to control motor acceleration by gradually ramping up the voltage, unlike direct-on-line (DOL) starters. The decreased voltage reduces initial torque and current, protecting the motor from mechanical and electrical stress. They increase motor lifespan by optimising starting current and have built-in motor protection features. ABB Softstarters are user-friendly, offering a compact, comprehensive starting solution with hassle-free installation. They also provide application-specific features like torque control and pump cleaning for enhanced efficiency and a broader range of applications.

What is the Difference Between a Soft Starter and a Drive?

While both ABB Softstarters and ABB Drives are used to control motors, softstarters are best suited for applications where controlled acceleration and deceleration are needed. In contrast, drives are more appropriate for applications that require precise speed control and energy efficiency:


A softstarter is a reduced voltage starter that primarily controls motor acceleration by gradually increasing the motor’s voltage. It is designed to reduce the motor’s initial mechanical and electrical stress during start-up, extending its lifespan and reducing energy consumption. Softstarters, such as pumps, fans, and conveyor belts, are ideal for applications where precise speed control is unnecessary.


ABB drives, or Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) or Adjustable Speed Drives (ASDs), are advanced devices that control motor start-up and speed and provide precise speed and torque control by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the motor. They are ideal for applications requiring exact speed control, such as manufacturing processes, HVAC systems, and robotics.


Primary Industrial Applications of ABB Softstarters


ABB softstarters are essential for pump systems. They ensure smooth start-ups and shutdowns with torque control, reducing the risk of water hammering. These starters also help prevent pump damage by detecting low-load conditions that may occur when a pump is running dry. In addition, ABB Softstarters contribute to the cleanliness and efficiency of pipes and pumps by providing controlled start-up and shutdown processes.


ABB Softstarters provide tailored solutions for fan applications, offering adjustable soft starting to meet specific requirements. These starters also improve operational efficiency and safety by enabling rapid fan stopping through motor braking. Moreover, ABB Softstarters include a standstill brake feature, which prevents unwanted movements in fan systems when the motor is not in operation, enhancing overall system safety and reliability.


ABB Softstarters offer comprehensive control and protection for compressor systems. They precisely control the current supplied to compressors, ensuring optimal and efficient operation. Additionally, these starters support full voltage starting, which is particularly advantageous for scroll compressors. Moreover, ABB Softstarters include:
• Phase reversal protection.
• Simplifying the commissioning process.
• Ensuring smooth and trouble-free operation of compressor systems.


ABB Softstarters provide comprehensive protection and flexibility for conveyor systems. They incorporate overload protection, preventing overheating and potential damage. Softstarters also offer the flexibility to jog at slow speeds, making maintenance and system adjustments easier. Furthermore, ABB Softstarters feature a limp mode, enabling conveyors to operate continuously at reduced capacity in the event of a partial failure, ensuring minimal disruption to operations.

ABB Softstarter infographic

Introducing the Efficient PSE Range

ABB introduces the world’s first compact softstarter with torque control, the efficient PSE range, as the latest addition to its soft starter family. This innovative soft starter incorporates all the essential features, making it a highly efficient choice. The development process enhanced both the softstarter and the overall process reliability. Additionally, the softstarter includes a built-in bypass to simplify wiring and a backlit display for effortless setup and monitoring.

The Complete Range of ABB Softstarters

ABB’s softstarter portfolio has expanded to include four distinct ranges, ensuring the availability of a suitable soft starter for nearly any application and motor size, ranging up to 1800 A. This diverse family includes the compact PSR, the flexible PSS, the efficient PSE, and the advanced PST(B) range.


The compact range

PSR single ABB Softstarter
View the Range


For scroll compressors

psrc single ABB Softstarter
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The efficient range

PSE single ABB Softstarter
View the Range


The advanced range

PSTX single ABB Softstarter
View the Range

Can I use a Softstarter for an ATEX motor?

When using a softstarter with an ATEX motor, ensure compatibility with the specific hazardous area classification. Look for softstarters certified for hazardous areas to avoid the risk of igniting flammable substances. Consult a qualified engineer if you have doubts or questions about installation in hazardous places.

Choose Beta Power for ABB Softstarter Solutions

You can see that ABB Softstarters are indispensable devices that enhance electrical systems’ efficiency, reliability, and longevity across various industries. Their ability to provide controlled motor acceleration and deceleration make them valuable in modern electrical engineering practices.
Beta Power Engineering’s team of product experts is ready to assist you in integrating ABB’s softstarters so you get the most out of your equipment. Contact one of our drive and motor product specialists today to receive the support you need.